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NORWEGIAN WORD OF THE DAY

Norwegian expression of the day: Å bruke svenskeknappen 

If your phone, tablet or computer is giving you trouble, it may be worth doing what Norwegians refer to as “pressing the Swedish button". 

To press the Swedish button.
If you're having computer issues, you might want to press the computer button. Photo by Francesco Ungaro on Unsplash / Nicolas Raymond/FlickR

What does it mean? 

Directly translated, it means pressing the Swedish button on a device. Now obviously, you may have noticed that there aren’t any devices that have a button with a small Swedish flag on them. However, if you have ever seen such a gadget, we are certainly impressed. 

It actually means that when you are having trouble with a device, you should use the tried and tested troubleshooting method of turning it on and off again. 

Therefore, if somebody suggests pushing the Swedish button, then you should try hitting the power button to get things working again. 

Why do I need to know this? 

As fun as it is to learn a bit of slang, this expression can also offer a cultural insight into what Norway and its neighbours think of one another. 

The saying, meant and used in jest, is an example of the many jokes the Scandinavian countries share about one another and how these jibes make their way into everyday language. 

An example from Danish would be mullets being referred to as svenskerhår

Below you can see a map of which countries other European countries reportedly joke about the most. 

Use it like this

Har du prøvd å trykke på svenskeknappen?

(Have you tried pushing the Swedish button?)

PCen min hang seg opp helt, så jeg måtte trykke på svenskeknappen for å få den til å virke.

(My computer completely froze, so I had to push the Swedish button to get it to work) 

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NORWEGIAN WORD OF THE DAY

Norwegian expression of the day: Katta i sekken 

If you've bought something online that's completely different to what was advertised, this Norwegian saying should help sum things up. 

Norwegian expression of the day: Katta i sekken 

What does it mean?  

Katta i sekken means “cat in the bag”, unlike the English expression where having something in the bag is great, you don’t want to find a cat in your sack, metaphorically speaking. 

The expression describes a scenario or situation where you’ve bought something that is different to advertised, underwhelming, or if you’ve been ripped off and paid way more than the item is worth. 

It’s used as a verb, for example, Å kjøpe katta i sekken, (To buy a cat in the bag). Also, note that it’s typically the slang katta that’s used rather katt, or katten. 

The term dates back to the middle ages, and a possible origin of the phrase is the story of Till Eulenspiegel, where a cat is sewn into a rabbit skin and sold as a hare. 

Several languages use the term or have their own version of the expression. However, some languages will refer to a pig in the sack, like Swedish, while others use cats as metaphors for the unwanted item. In English, the closest expression is “A pig in a poke.” 

What about ‘letting the cat out of the bag’? 

This term can get confusing in its similarity to “letting the cat out of the bag, ” which means revealing a secret. In Norwegian this is: katta er ute av sekken. 

You may hear someone say something like Fikk du med deg det Vilde sa? Jeg antar katta er ute av sekken. This means: Did you hear what Vilde said? I guess the cat’s out of the bag.

Therefore, if you hear someone talking about cats in bags, it’s best to pay close attention to ensure you’ve listened to the expression correctly. 

Use it like this: 

Jeg kjøpte en telefon på finn.no. Siden det ikke fungerer, kjøpte jeg katta i sekken.

(I bought a phone on finn.no. Since it doesn’t work, I bought a cat in the bag). 

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