How do I ask a girl to a school dance in Norwegian?
September 16, 2010 4:17 PM   Subscribe

How do I ask a girl to a school dance in Norwegian? More specifically, a translation would be great!

I wanted to ask a transfer student from Norway (more specifically, Fredrikstad) to Homecoming. Instead of asking her in English and bringing out roses or the like while gathering a lot of attention from everyone, which I doubt she would appreciate, I figured I might ask in Norwegian. Also, it's a more unique way of asking someone to Homecoming, especially since she knows I have no experience with the Norwegian language.

The problem? Dialect, of course! I don't know any Norwegian whatsoever (so pronunciation may be a challenge) and therefore I'm not sure what kind of dialect she speaks (or if there are different dialects/whether or not they are severely different).

"Will you go to the school dance with me," would be exactly what I want to ask, just translated.

I can only assume there's no translation for 'homecoming', but to make it more interesting, I'd replace that with "school dance". Any ideas, comments, answers, questions?
posted by Galen Alexis to Writing & Language (21 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
The only information I can offer is that yes, there are very defined and different dialects in Norwegian. Other than that, I'm useless. Carry on.
posted by R a c h e l at 4:44 PM on September 16, 2010

Perhaps contact someone at a Swedish consulate not too far away from you. My inner Perry White senses this would be an awesome human interest story (well, if she accepts anyway) so see if you can't get in touch with your nearest newspaper that has no feed store ads (speaking of my town, not yours) and ask for help - that is, if you don't mind the collateral damage to your and her privacy. Heck, check the long distance rates to Fredrikstad and call a librarian! Perhaps I'm idly worrying this, but you'd benefit having a verifier for the translation that has no interest in the outcome. Good luck!
posted by nj_subgenius at 4:58 PM on September 16, 2010

FYI, nj_subgenius, Swedish people do not all speak Norwegian. I'm sure some do, but Norwegian and Swedish are different languages.

Galen Alexis, I've just emailed my boyfriend, who is fluent in Norwegian and English, with your question. I'll warn ya though, Norwegian pronunciation is tough. After four years, I still can't pronounce my boyfriend's name correctly!
posted by keep it under cover at 5:18 PM on September 16, 2010

This might be a bit stalker-ish - if this comment is quickly deleted, I'll understand - but I've seen comments here from mefites living in Norway. I've just done a quick site search using the term 'Norway', and came up with a small list of user names.

Perhaps mefimail them and ask?
posted by malibustacey9999 at 5:22 PM on September 16, 2010

But keep it under cover has already started a similar ball rolling. Forget I said anything.
posted by malibustacey9999 at 5:24 PM on September 16, 2010

A combination of my knowledge of swedish + google translate gives me: "Vil du gå på skoledansen med meg?" (with swedish pronunciation, it'd sound like "veal dew go po sko-ley dan-sen med may?")
posted by beerbajay at 5:44 PM on September 16, 2010 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks, guys. I can struggle through the pronunciation, as I'm quite proficient in speaking Hindi, Italian, Latin (unfortunately, three styles of Latin) and a little bit of German here and there out of pure necessity. I am, however, beginning to get nervous. In the end, I may just have to ask someone else the translated result and ask what I said just to make sure I don't get something embarrassingly profane rather than the intended result.

I'll also be sure to practice saying it a couple of times.
posted by Galen Alexis at 5:54 PM on September 16, 2010

Swedish and Norwegian are two different languages! Also they have a friendly/competitive rivalry between them. You don't want to ask out the girl in the wrong language.
posted by lee at 6:16 PM on September 16, 2010 [2 favorites]

Vil du gå til skolen dans med mig? Should be close.
posted by lee at 6:21 PM on September 16, 2010

No no, malibustacey9999, that's a great idea. My boyfriend is usually really quick to answer his emails, but it appears that he is currently away from his desk... meh. So if OP can get an answer from someone else, then please mefimail away!

And what lee says is very true. That would be quite the faux pas!
posted by keep it under cover at 6:21 PM on September 16, 2010

The Wikipedia article on Norwegian (which you've probably looked at already) is instructive about dialect.
posted by the_blizz at 6:35 PM on September 16, 2010

Best answer: beerbajay had it right!

"Vil du gå på skoledansen med meg?"

Pronounced like:

"Vil doo gaw paw skoolehdansen meh mey?"
posted by keep it under cover at 7:02 PM on September 16, 2010 [1 favorite]

Tap her on the shoulder.

Point at her.

Then point at yourself.

Then do some awesome dance moves.

Then raise your eyebrows and do that thing with your hands and arms as if to say "Whadaya say?".

Or just go to Babelfish and compile a letter.
posted by foxy at 12:27 AM on September 17, 2010

1989. Two Norwegian exchange students from Kristiansand. I wanted to ask one out, and asked the other what to say (because some guy hitting on you while murdering your mother tongue is really hot, right?). She wrote it down, and I went up to the apple of my eye and read it out.

I may have the spelling wrong, but shame has burned these words in my memory for the last twenty years, and so for your information, 'Kan jeg finger din dypt deilig hul?' does not mean 'Would you like to see a movie with me on Friday night?'
posted by obiwanwasabi at 4:35 AM on September 17, 2010 [3 favorites]

Obiwanwasabi, you just made tea come out of my nose.
posted by conifer at 5:47 AM on September 17, 2010

Native Norwegian speaker here. Beerbajay has it right. Another (better?) way of saying it would be:

Har du lyst til å gå på skoledansen med meg?

Which means 'do you want to go to the school dance with me', as opposed to 'will you go to the school dance with me'.

Pronounciation: har due list till oh go poh skoolehdahnsen meh mey
posted by widdershins at 6:25 AM on September 17, 2010 [3 favorites]

Just ask her out in English, dont make a big deal out of it, and dont put her on the spot. This is more likely than not going to work against you if you try it.
posted by BobbyDigital at 7:13 AM on September 17, 2010

Can someone explain why multiple people have confused Swedish and Norwegian? The question is unambiguous so I'm struggling to understand why this has happened.
posted by turkeyphant at 7:39 PM on September 17, 2010

turkeyphant: "Can someone explain why multiple people have confused Swedish and Norwegian? The question is unambiguous so I'm struggling to understand why this has happened"

Well I, for one, did not. Swedish and Norwegian are indeed very closely related. They have different words for some things, different pronunciation for others, but gramatically are almost identical. So you can use knowledge about Swedish to infer the correct Norwegian. In this case, I know that in Swedish (and therefore also Norwegian and Danish) you jam together related words and stick the article on the end, so it's "school-dance-the", not "the school dance". When you do a translation on google, it gives you "skolen dans" which is "school-the dance" and which is wrong.
posted by beerbajay at 1:29 AM on September 18, 2010

{head palm}
posted by nj_subgenius at 7:40 AM on September 18, 2010

Not Norwegian, or even Scandinavian, but I have Norwegian friends and talk to them about the language quite a bit and visited for a few weeks ... I would listen to some Norwegian first just to give you an idea of how sing songy it is. Large pitch changes between syllables are common and there is a tonal aspect to the language from what I understand.
posted by Admira at 3:00 PM on September 21, 2010

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