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En sivilisert hjemreise

Words you probably didn't know

To kick off* English week, I will do my readers a favour. Often, when I speak to people about ordinary things, I discover huge gaps in my vocabulary. This is of course a concequence of the fact that I mainly read textbooks on physics, or fantasy litterature of a dubious nature, and leaves me perfectly able to converse about theoretical physics or the smoothening of shawls, whilst sadly unable to do a simple thing like translating a menu for a visiting American professor. Hence todays topic.

I find food and kitchen utensils to be particularly difficult. Presumably, I should start reading recipes in their original language, but then I would have to start reading recipes, and that is not very likely to happen. If Robert Jordan was still alive, I could perhaps have convinced him to give up his recent obsession with bootblack, and focus on cooking instead, but as that is no longer an option, I suppose I will have to look up some words myself. I have in fact already done just that, and compiled a small list of food and cooking terms, which you may or may not know already.

cod - torsk
halibut - kveite
lye - lut
leg of lamb - lammelår
cloudberry - multe
jerusalem artichoke - jordskokk
rice pudding - riskrem
casserole - ildfast form
cutting board - brødfjøl
grater - rasp
pastry brush - bakepensel
rolling pin - kjevle
whisk - visp

I am aware that rice pudding can be lots of things, and that is certainly not identically equal to the Norwegian «riskrem». However, according to wikipedia, «riskrem» is a variety of rice pudding. In the context of translating a menu for a foreigner, I recommend calling it a Scandinavian variety of rice pudding.

Any feedback will be appreciated, especially additional unknown words. Also, if anyone knew all these words already, please let me know which books you are reading. And most important of all, and this goes for the entire English week, please let me know if I use American spelling.

*Even though this is a «kick off», there will be no pizza, loud music or lots of people in ugly modern clothes, which seems to be the main theme whenever they arrange a «kick off» for yet another stupid programme to create an even tighter link between the students and the large companies. I apologise if I gave anyone false hopes.

-Tor Nordam


Are,  20.11.07 13:21

I assume you accept grammar corrections and suggestions. I would like to point out that "consequence" is spelled with S and not C. Also, "today's topic" should have the apostrophe, and the phrase "identically equal" sounds a bit strange to my ears. Maybe saying that "A is certainly not exactly the same as" or "A is not fully equivalent to" or just "A is not completely identical" would be better.

Apart from that - thanks for the post on this quite interesting topic. I definitely experience the same problem when having English guests - mostly I just give up and resort to pointing and waving my hands around.

Isn't it funny how the atmosphere is different when writing and reading in English? The Calcuttagutta RSS feed blended right in with Slashdot, Engadget and the rest in my feed reader.

Perhaps we should have a Calcuttagutta kickoff this Christmas? He he he.

Anders K.,  20.11.07 13:42

«Rolling pin» er vel godt kjent for alle som leser Maakies. Jeg vil dessuten fraråde bruken av «whilst» med mindre du går med boble-tights og trekantet hatt med fjær i. Eller arbeider et sted som heter «Ye Olde Dixionary Shoppe».

Jørgen,  20.11.07 13:44

Vet dere hva japanere kaller J.D. Sallingers mest kjente bok?

The Catcher in the Lye


Tor,  20.11.07 14:28

Do you know why Heisenberg never got anything done?

Because when he had the time, he didn't have the energy.

Also, thank you for pointing out my errors.

Identically equal is a common expression in mathematics and related subjects. It means, I think, that two objects are exactly the same, which is not neccesarily the same as having the same value. For instance, you could say that the sides of a square are equal, because they are the same length, but they are not identically equal, because they are not the same.

And why on earth would anyone not want to sound like someone working in «Ye Olde Dixionary Shoppe»?

Are,  20.11.07 15:39

Sooner or later, I will have to memorise programmer jokes.

How do you say "identically equal" in Norwegian?

Jørgen,  20.11.07 15:43

neste uke foreslår jeg at vi tar japansk/kinesisk uke.

Camilla,  20.11.07 15:52

Isn't 'rice pudding' more or less equivalent to risengrynsgrøt?

Tor,  20.11.07 15:58

Are: Identisk lik

Camilla: No. According to wikipedia, rice pudding is a dessert, and contains sugar or some other sweetener.

Camilla,  20.11.07 16:23

As does risengrynsgrøt, which in every country but Norway is a dessert.

Kristian,  20.11.07 20:04

As I have little natural intuition for food making, the word casserole, caused some headache for me about a week ago -Cooking chicken fillets was a bit unusual for me. Luckily, I realized that it was my translation that was wrong and not just me being unfamiliar with the customs outside of Norway.

Matteus,  20.11.07 23:32

Peopla tend not to believe me when I tell them of the cloudberry. "It's sort of like an orange rasperry, only different. Another term could be marsh-gold". Why doesn't that sound plausible?

I prefer the term "mother-in-law" instead of grater. A surprising amount of people will know what you mean.

Camilla,  15.01.09 14:55

Incidentally, when we met the other Silje (not our Silje) in Edinburgh earlier in January, she was shocked and amazed that anyone could have risengrynsgrøt as dinner, maintaining that it was a dessert. So there.
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