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Norwegian word of the day: Gåsunger 

One of the first signs of spring in Norway is gåsunger, but what are they, and what do "goose kids" have to do with the warmer weather? 

Norwegian word of the day: Gåsunger
Today's word actually has nothing to do with geese or their offspring. Pictured is a chalk board with "goose children" on it. Caption Photo by Francesco Ungaro on Unsplash / Nicolas Raymond/FlickR.

What does it mean? 

The word comes from gås, meaning goose, and unger, which is a casual or informal way of saying children- similar to using kids in English. Gåsunger is plural due to the presence of an “r” on the end of the word.  

Combined, the word is translated directly to “goose kids”, but more accurately translated it can mean gosling, the proper name for young geese. 

Gåsunger are a small, plump, almost-fur like collection of very small flowers found on willows and other plants. In English, the flowers are called catkins. 

The flowers are protected by a shell covered with fine hairs, which makes the gåsunger feel like fur or down, hence the name. 

Gåsunger is the most common name for the flowers, but they are also called katte labber (cat’s paws) or seljepuser (seal pups) by some. 

Why do I need to know this? 

Gåsunger bloom early, so are considered one of the first signs of spring in Norway. The changing of the seasons brings in warmer weather and longer days. It is for this reason that the goslings are met with such joy each year. They are also popular with kids who will play with them due to their softness.

You can also buy the goslings from florists and supermarkets to have in your home. 

There is also a much more practical reason as to why you need to know this word beyond the whims that spring brings. 

Gåsunger also signals the beginning of the pollen season in Norway, meaning if you suffer from allergies, it may be time to stock up on antihistamines.  

Use it like this

Våren er her, det er gåsunger på trærne. 

(Spring is here, there are goslings on the trees)

Gåsunger er et vårteng. 

(Goslings are a sign of spring)

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Norwegian expression of the day: Grevens tid 

Is it a good thing, or a bad thing, if you manage to do something in the "counts time"? Let's find out. 

Norwegian expression of the day: Grevens tid 

What does it mean? 

As mentioned in the intro, “grevens tid” literally translates to the “count’s time”. The count’s time means arriving at a good or lucky moment or achieving or preventing something, typically at the last minute. 

Catch a vase just before it hits the ground, or make it to the station just in time to catch your train? Then you did it in the count’s time. 

The term is said to have originated in Sweden and refers to Count Per Brahe Dy, who became governor of Finland in 1637. It was customary for a count to arrive late to events during the period. This is because, typically, the highest status one held, the more likely they were to come later. 

However, these days the saying isn’t used to describe when someone arrives “fashionably late” to use an English expression. 

Use it like this: 

Nå kom du i grevens tid 

(You came just at the right time.)

Du kom i grevens tid, jeg skulle akkurat til å ringe!

(You came just at the right time, I was just about to call you!)

Nå kom du i grevens tid! Vi skulle akkurat til å spise! 

(You came just at the right time, we are about to eat!)