Words of the year
The top 10 Norwegian words added in 2018
M. Michael Brady
Each year, Språkrådet (The Language Council of Norway) and Professor Gisle Andersen of the Department of Professional and Intercultural Communications of the Norwegian School of Economics (NHH) compile a list of the top 10 most significant new words added to the Norwegian language.
In 2017, the most significant new word was falske nyheter, a direct translation from the English phrase “fake news,” first used in the late 19th century to designate deliberate misinformation published with the intent to mislead (Dec. 29, 2017: www.norwegianamerican.com/featured/top-ten-new-norwegian-words-2017).
In 2018, the most significant new word is skjebnelandsmøte (fateful national congress) coined to classify an extraordinary meeting of the Kristelig Folkeparti (KrF) (Christian Democratic Party) held on Nov. 2 to determine the fate of a proposal by its leader Knut Arild Hareide concerning future cooperation with other political parties in a coalition government. The nine other new words following first-place skjebnelandsmøte emerged in other sectors of the society at large.
2) grottegutt (cavern boy), one of the 12 boys of a soccer team trapped in and then rescued from a rain-flooded cavern in Thailand in July 2018.
3) sosionomisere (to designate as social work), a distinction made by the government between those who work with people suffering social deprivation and sociologists, those who study human society.
4) plogging (jogging and picking up litter), a combination of the word jogging and the Swedish verb plocka upp (to pick up), an organized activity that started in 2016 in Sweden in the wake of increasing concern about plastic pollution that spread to Norway and other countries.
5) fattigdomsslykke (literally “poor but happy”), coined by writer Martin Joyce Nygaard as the title of a book detailing how he and his family, like many artists and writers, can enjoy life despite having a household income below the poverty line.
6) matredder (food saver), a person who advocates or practices avoiding wastefulness in food purchase, preparation, and consumption.
7) videoassistert dømming (video assisted refereeing), Norwegian translation of Video Assistant Referee (VAR), an assistant referee who uses video footage to review decisions made by the head referee of a soccer match.
8) slitertillegg (hard work supplement), a supplement to pensions paid out to workers who retire early from jobs that entail excessively hard work.
9) påvirker (influencer), a person who influences the progress or outcome of an event.
10) gladbobler (happy bubbles), the reviewing stands and other facilities for VIPs visiting the NATO exercises held this past autumn in Norway.
Further reading: “Årets ord: skjebnelandsmøte” (Word of the year: Fateful national congress), Language Council of Norway press release, Dec. 4, 2017: www.sprakradet.no/Vi-og-vart/hva-skjer/Aktuelt/2018/arets-ord-2018-skjebnelandsmote (Norwegian).
M. Michael Brady was educated as a scientist and, with time, turned to writing and translating.
This article originally appeared in the January 11, 2019, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.