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Norwegian expression of the day: Det skulle bare mangle

Should I wear something professional for my job interview? Det skulle bare mangle!

Today's word of the day displayed on a chalk board.
You can use this to both point out the obvious and to also tell somebody it was the least you could do. Photo by Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond.

Today’s word of the day was requested by one of our readers, if you want to see us cover your favourite Norwegian word or expression, you can get in touch, and we will try and feature it in the future

Why do I need to know this? 

Understandably, Det skulle bare mangle is one of the tougher expressions for newcomers to understand fully. The construction does not seem entirely logical to everyone, and its meaning can slightly change when used in various contexts.

What does it mean?

Directly translated to English, det skulle bare mangle means “It should just be missing”.

It is an expression used when something is obvious in the sense that a person or an institution is absolutely obliged to do so. Depending on how and when the phrase is used, det skulle bare mangle could mean “That’s the least that I expect”, or “Well, isn’t that obvious”, or as a more humble way of saying, “It’s the least I can do”. 

The saying is often used in isolation and as a response. 

Examples of how to use det skulle bare mangle

(A) Let’s say Per is a defence lawyer who has no way to prove his guilty client’s innocence. He then says to the prosecutor Anna, “Vi har ikke tenkt å gå videre med saken.” or “We haven’t planned to go further with the case”In response, Anna would say, “Det skulle bare mangle” or “Well isn’t that obvious”.

(B) Tomas to Henrik: “Tusen takk for at du hjelp meg med bilen min” or “Thank you for helping me with my car”

Henrik answers: “Ingen årsak. Det skulle bare mangle” or “No problem. It was the least I could do.

(C) Det skulle bare mangle at vi prøver våre best. – It’s obvious we should try our best.

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Norwegian word of the day: Syden  

It’s the time of year when Norwegians will start chatting about going to the “the south” more and more. 

Norwegian word of the day: Syden  

What does it mean? 

Syd is a more traditional and outdated way of saying south in Norwegian. These days sør is the most common and widely used way of saying south and is the form used when giving directions. 

By adding “en” to the word, it becomes “the south”. 

The word is an informal way of describing a holiday. However, it doesn’t just describe any holiday, it means a getaway to another country further south than Norway. 

But, not just any country further south than Norway, because otherwise, that’s most of the world. For example, spending your holidays in the Shetland islands wouldn’t qualify as heading south. 

The saying refers to warmer climates, more or less exclusively. Furthermore, it’s commonly used for “typical” Norwegian holiday destinations such as the Canary Islands, Greece, Turkey and Cyprus. 

If you find it slightly confusing, then don’t worry, plenty of children without a solid grasp of geography do too. For example, if told by their parents that they are going to “syden” for a holiday, some children will assume this is a country, rather than an expression. 

There isn’t really an equivalent English saying. The closest is used to describe the migration of birds seeking warmer weather in “heading south for the winter”. 

Use it like this

Jeg gleder meg kjempe masse til sommerferien, for da skal jeg til Syden. 

 (I am really looking forward to the summer holidays because then I am headed to “the South”. )

Anna: Hva skal du i sommer Karen?

(Anna: What are your plans for summer, Karen?)

Karen: Jeg skal til Syden!

 (Karen: I am going to “the South”)