I studied German which sadly doesn't help me tranlslate Grandma's mug.
March 15, 2010 7:04 PM   Subscribe

[NorskFilter] My grandmother has a mug with this inscription: "Maten er halve føda. Drykken er hin halfparten. Fin sup i senn: det tømer ei tunne med tida." What does it mean? Grandmother hasn't a clue either.

I found via online translators that part may mean "food is only half one's needs." Guessing "halve" is the half part.
posted by Etta Hollis to Writing & Language (12 answers total)
It looks like it means "food is only half one's needs."
posted by unreasonable at 7:23 PM on March 15, 2010

didn't see the rest of the question
posted by unreasonable at 7:25 PM on March 15, 2010

Poor translation using Danish and a Norwegian dictionary:

Food is half one's needs. Drink is the other half. Good soup at the same time: it empties a mug in time.

Since a real Norwegian speaker will eventually show up, am I right in thinking this is Nynorsk and not Bokmal?
posted by whitewall at 7:50 PM on March 15, 2010

Best answer: I think whitewall is close, here's my stab:

Food is half the nourishment one needs. Drink is the other half. One good sip after another: it empties a mug after a while

"Sup" means a sip or slurp, not soup, which is "suppe" in nynorsk and bokmål.
posted by Hello, Revelers! I am Captain Lavender! at 8:07 PM on March 15, 2010

Trying to piece things together from weak German, even weaker Swedish and a couple of online translation tools that are lamentably incomplete, it appears to mean:

"Food is only half one's needs.

Drinks are (drink is) the other half.

A fine sip in sequence,

It empties the mug in time."

On preview, what the others have more aptly said. :-)
posted by darkstar at 8:23 PM on March 15, 2010

No time to stop, but compare "ei" and swedish "ej" meaning not.
posted by Iteki at 10:54 PM on March 15, 2010

Best answer: Non-native Norwegian speaker here, but I've been learning it for about 7-8 years, have a Norwegian fiance and a good Norwegian dictionary on hand...

"Food is half one's nourishment. Drink is the other half. One sip at a time: it empties a barrel in time."

Iteki: ei can mean not, but I think here it's the feminine indefinite article.
posted by flod logic at 11:21 PM on March 15, 2010

Seems closest to Norwegian (danish speaker here), especially when you notice that there is a book written by Pater Kjell Arild Pollestad titled "Maten er halve føda".

I would say that the best translation here is by flod logic
posted by alchemist at 1:20 AM on March 16, 2010

Best answer: I'm Norwegian. Captain Lavender and fod logic is pretty spot on.

Food is half the meal,
drinks the other,
one good sip after another,
empties a barrel in time.

Some more trivia:

"Ei" here means "a", feminine def article. Not "not".

"Sup" is a sip.

It isn't written in "official" Bokmål or Nynorsk Norwegian, closest to Nynorsk though, it is some kind of (old? mountain?) dialect, and the "fin sup i senn" part is really oldskool, sounds like what the vikings would be saying. Also the poem itself is something they'd be bawling at the pub I suppose.

I'm from a part of the country where there is no feminine def article, I'm a bit puzzled that barrels are feminine, huh, didn't know that.
posted by gmm at 4:18 AM on March 16, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks everyone. I've always wondered the meaning. Although grandma bought the mug in Norway, she either never asked or has forgotten what it meant.
posted by Etta Hollis at 5:35 AM on March 16, 2010

Just from a point of view of the poem on the mug, I would like it better if the "sup" really meant soup and not just sip, like in whitewall's attempt.

It just seems more clever to say that if food is half of life and drink is half, then eating soup satisfies both halves at the same time and therefore saves you time in life to do other things. What really does it mean to empty a barrel in time - why would you put that saying on a mug?
posted by CathyG at 7:22 AM on March 16, 2010

CathyG, I think it's the pub/drinking equivalent of "How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time." - i.e. one sip after another (just keep drinking) empties a barrel in time (and you'll finish a keg eventually)
posted by aimedwander at 10:39 AM on March 16, 2010

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