What's in a Word | All Blogs


When close is good enough

By Debra Dobbins

I am becoming positively smitten with technology. This afternoon when I saw the Norwegian word “barnelopet” in today’s paper, I thought I could possibly get a quick translation.

I IM’d Nicole Seltz in Oslo around 2:15 p.m., which was 10:15 Oslo time. (Norwegians use what we call military time, so they designate 10:15 as 22:15.) At any rate, Nicole, who earned her bachelor’s degree here in the United States, is now working some long hours in Oslo, and I thought she may have already turned in for the night.

I apologized for my late request and said it was no big deal if she couldn’t immediately get back to me. In under a minute, I was delighted to get her reply: “Hi D, no worries! We iphone peeps are available 24/7! Barneløp (singular). Barneløpet (plural) would be translated to kids’ run.”

The o with the slash through it creates an “ur” sound, by the way. The word as a plural is pronounced “BARN-eh-lur-peht.”

The newspaper’s typesetting software probably cannot duplicate the o with the slash. However, in this case we got close. That’ll have to be good enough – for the time being, anyway!

Nicole Seltz in Muir Woods, May 2011
Photo by Debra Dobbins

 

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