Today, boys and girls and carbon life forms of non-binary and non-specific gender identities, we begin an exciting new program here at Chortles©. Every week we will teach two new and important Norwegian words (unless we don’t feel like it, or run through the entire vocabulary by any coming weekend). Within just a few months, you will be able to converse with marooned Norwegian whaling crews or rampaging Viking raiders who suddenly materialize out of the multiverse and disturb your family dinner.
Today’s words are:
1) EPPLEKAKE: (pronounced epp-le/ka-ke), meaning apple cake (also pie, but no such word exists in Norwegian, probably because it has nothing to do with either goats, snow, or boiling fish. Kake (pronounced ka-ke), on the other hand, can be of either geit, sne, fisk, or a tempting mix of all three. (note: These extra bonus words will not be on the exam.)
Oddly – because I don’t recall ever eating any – “Epplekake” came up (literally) very often in our family home, because my father would always turn his burps into a long enunciation of the word. (Upon reflection, the man did belch uncommonly often.) I’d never heard anyone else do that and it certainly makes no sense, except that it’s one of those wonderful words that can either be yipped briefly or stretched like taffy.
(French has the similarly flexible and tamely profane ‘tabernak‘, which can even be cut off after the second syllable for extra effect. This marvelous word can be spat as a quick t’b’rnak, or rolled out in all its majesty: taaaa.…..behhrrrr….- optional – nak. Lovely.) This same elastic quality makes “Epplekake” suitable to fit both a brief fizzy soda burp, or a delightfully majestic release of air after too much chili.
Go ahead: try it at home. Articulate it as EP (as in the beginning of Epipen©) – LE (as in the French article – KA (as in the caw of a crow) – KE (as in the Spanish question ?Que?), all rolled into one. Now do it while belching. (note: It is perfectly alright to swallow the first syllable if the belch begins wet.)
Although this word is unimportant to Norwegian conversation, it should be noted that most language teaching sites will rate you as 60% bilingual, even if all you can say in a foreign tongue is “The penguins are tall” and “I need a donkey and some heavy machines.” Also, saying “Epplekake” while belching is a very fine tradition started by my dad, and it’d be nice if the entire Norwegian-speaking world (which will – within a few minutes – include you; Isn’t that exciting?) started doing it. After all, the “Gesundheit” (literally: the vertical measure of a Gesund) after a sneeze doesn’t make a hell of a lot sense either, yet that caught on.
2) KOSELIG: (pronounced Kos-el-ig), meaning comfy, nice, snug, lovely, charming, excellently fine, great, wonderful, goat, fish, and snow.
Everybody and everything in Norway is nice. Very, very nice. Norwegians are so nice they make Canadians look like Attila’s Huns. In Norway people look nice, speak nice, think nice, are nice. Their hockey players skate on nice. Their scenery is nice, their royal family is nice, even their train derailments are nice.
This explains why most linguists and beer-swilling bloggers consider koselig to be the single most important word in any world language. It simply covers 98.3% of all
Norwegian conversation. At this very moment, their mass-killer asshole (Ande…something or other; The sonofabitch) is almost certainly serving a koselig life sentence (or 77 koselig concurrent sentences) in a koselig cell with koselig guards. Norwegians are just that koselig.
If you master koselig : COO (as in pigeon talk) – SE (as in the French c’est) – LEE (as in Marvel founder Stan), you can live in Norway on that one word for sixteen years, and be considered a native-speaking Norwegian. (A koselig native-speaking Norwegian.) If you are adventuresome enough to add ikke (pronounced ‘icky‘, meaning ‘not’) before koselig, you could spend your entire life as a native-speaking Norwegian.
It is important to note, however, that saying “ikke koselig” will bring conversation to an immediate halt. You will see many frowns. It is simply impolite to not find everything nice. The risky phrase “ikke koselig” should therefore only be used for medium to large- scale nuclear accidents. Or house-cats.
TODAY’S TEST (What? You thought I was going to do all the work?)
Select the correct answer in the following scenarios:
- You are introduced to the new pastor. You shake his hand and say: a) Epplekake. or b) Koselig, or c) Ikke Epplekake or d) “All of the above, pastor”
- At a friend’s dinner of fiskekakker and sne, your hair catches fire and ignites the drapes. When order is restored you are trying to enjoy kaffe and epplekakke through your facial bandages. The hostess asks you a question. (Note: You can always tell a Norwegian is asking you a question, because the last word is always on an annoying high note, and is annoyingly stretched out.) You reply: a) Ikke koselig, or b) Koselig, or c) koselig EPPLEKAKE or d) “All of the above, thank
- At a restaurant, the waiter brings you a dessert menu with photos of epplekake (kr1,028; or $212 Canadian) , sne ($185 CAD), fisk ($242), a goat($3,190), and kaffe($78). He asks you a question (see note above). You order by saying: a) Ikke epplekake or b) Epplekake, or c) Koselig, or d) “Fuck off. It’s because my hair caught fire yesterday.”
- At a bar, a friend who knew my dad unleashes a majestic, rolling burp after too much chili. As his belch nears a beautiful little adagio ending, you chime in with: a) Koselig, or b) EPPLEKAKE, or c) Gesundheit, or d) “I’ll never go back there. Their prices are ikke koselig.”
The correct answers are……no, never mind. To hell with the a,b,c,d shit….you messed up, didn’t you? I already explained that everything in Norwegian is koselig. The answer is always koselig. Koselig, koselig, koselig. Weren’t you paying attention? Idiots! I give up!