LINGONBERRY.

Even as I type, my wife is cooking up a huge batch of Norwegian meatballs for our traditional Christmas Eve dinner, and one of the accompaniments (along with akvavit) is lingonberries. Well, I wanted to know how to say “lingonberry” in Russian (because I want to know how to say everything in Russian), and my dictionaries weren’t helping me; fortunately, Wikipedia came to my rescue, and I learned that the word I was looking for was брусника [brusnika]. This is not defined as “lingonberry” in my trusty Oxford, but as “foxberry; red whortleberry (Vaccinium vitis idaea)”; as a matter of fact, the Wikipedia entry isn’t called “lingonberry” but “Vaccinium vitis-idaea,” and it opens with this remarkable list of alternatives: “often called lingonberry also called cowberry, foxberry, mountain cranberry, csejka berry, red whortleberry, lowbush cranberry, mountain bilberry, partridgeberry (in Newfoundland and Cape Breton), and redberry (in Labrador).” And the OED qualifies “lingonberry” as Canadian, which seems odd since none of us who use it here in my extended family (in the States) think of it as Canadian. (Incidentally, the OED’s first cite for the word is 1960 J. J. ROWLANDS Spindrift 156 “In Sweden the cranberry is known as the lingonberry,” and the most recent is 1971 D. NABOKOV tr. Nabokov’s Glory (1972) vi. 24 “Supper at the station (hazel hen with lingonberry sauce).”)
So I have two questions for you all. If you are familiar with this tasty little berry, what name do you know it by? And if you call it “lingonberry,” do you think of that word as Canadian?

Comments

  1. I call it lingonberry (and know it in Russian as brusnika). Nope, don’t think of it as a Canadian word, particularly.

  2. Paul Clapham says:

    Well, I am Canadian, and I call them lingonberries. I never thought of the word as specifically Canadian, though.
    Anyway, we have a jar which we bought from Ikea. It’s labelled “Lingonsylt” and it’s like cranberry sauce only made with lingonberries. Ikea of course is Swedish, so you might conclude that “lingon” is a Swedish word, but the jar is labelled for Canada so that might not be the case.

  3. I’m not familiar with the berries themselves, but the only one of the names I’m familiar with is “lingonberry”, and I never thought of it as Canadian, just from somewhere else in the United States where they had lingonberries, whatever they were.

  4. Artifex Amando says:

    Lingon is indeed the Swedish word for lingonberry. I do not know why it isn’t “lingonbär”, though, since we have e.g. “krusbär” (gooseberry) and “tranbär”, which is the Swedish word for cranberry, on the one hand, and on the other, we have e.g. lingon and smultron (wild strawberry). Another curious thing about these words for berries is that they are the same for both singular and plural: Ett (one) lingon, flera (many) lingon; ett krusbär, flera krusbär. Perhaps the -on is a plural suffix from ages ago? As for “bär” meaning both berry and berries, the only thing I can think of is that many words which don’t end with the letter R in their singular forms has this letter as the final letter (preceded by -o-, -a- or -e-, usually) in their plural suffixes, e.g. en kvinna (one woman), flera kvinnor (many women). So the the already existing -r gets treated like a plural suffix.
    I hope I make some sense. I think I may have overdosed on the chocolates et cetera already…

  5. An entire hour and no Big Lebowski reference yet for this item?
    Forshame.

  6. IKEA calls them lingonberries, and as we all know, one does not argue with IKEA, right?

  7. I know them as ‘puolukka’ in Finnish, and lingonberry at IKEA! I never knew that lingonberry is Canadian – must grow in the far north?

  8. “Yankeeberry”.
    Often confused with all the other Northern berry types (both true and false fruits) because they’re all called “yankeeberries
    “.

  9. I knew the Russian word for these berries before I learnt any (British) English equivalent, but I’m told they’re ‘hurts’ – which may be a hypernym.

  10. michael farris says:

    A story without a point: Some years ago in class a student challenged my translation of cranberry as żurawina insisting instead that they were borówki (actually a broad name in Polish lingonberry is boróka brusznica but there are several other varieties). To give you a time frame, the student in question is now a PhD (her dissertation was on botanical taxonomies in Swahili).
    Not so off-topic remark. Are you familiar with the queen of norther berries Rubus chamaemorus?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cloudberry

  11. Except in some northern counties, Rubus chamaemorus is always hjortron in Swedish – an interesting parallell to lingon.
    We’ve got lots of eatables in -on. Out of all -on words: odon, helgon, lingon, lejon, tränjon (= tranbär), träjon, fikon, krikon, vikon (=åkerbär), sviskon, syskon, hallon, ollon, mjölon, plommon, nypon, smultron, hjortron, tistron (= svarta vinbär), ostron, päron, kröson (= lingon), olvon, only helgon (saint), lejon (lion) and syskon (sibling(s)) aren’t immediately recognized as fruits (a couple of them sufficiently poisonous). Ostron (oysters) might be classified as fruits-de-mer…
    So, what’s this -on? One palatable theory is that it’s an old plural ending. We have it in öron (ears) and ögon (eyes).

  12. John Emerson says:

    Lingonberry jam is featured in Norse nostalgia shops here in Wobegon and I definitely think of it as Scandinavian. Perhaps the OED only recognizes Anglophone nations, and in may respects Canada is sort of like Scandinavia.
    And what Yuval said. Lingonberries are primarily eaten by German nihilists.

  13. John Emerson says:

    Lingonberry jam is featured in Norse nostalgia shops here in Wobegon and I definitely think of it as Scandinavian. Perhaps the OED only recognizes Anglophone nations, and in may respects Canada is sort of like Scandinavia.
    And what Yuval said. Lingonberries are primarily eaten by German nihilists.

  14. These vegetable B-listers be damned, I’m waiting for the MMcM treatise on the subject.

  15. Huh. I’d never heard of lingonberries. My wife has heard of them, but doesn’t know what they are.

  16. I had *never heard* of lingonberries until a friend brought me back some lingonberry jam as a gift from Newfoundland. And I’m Canadian myself.

  17. “Svenska Akademiens Ordbok” (The Swedish Academy’s Wordbook) says that “lingon” is constructed from “lingbär” with a -on suffix common for berries (so “*lingonbär” as Artifex Amando suggested would be a tautology), with dialectal varieties like “lingor” and “linnor”.
    “Lingbär” in its turn is from “ljung” (calluna vulgaris and other sprig like plants) + “bär” (berry) with ljung from Ur-nordic “*lingwa”, possibly from Indo-european “*lenk” (bend).
    So it’s berries from a sprig like bush, which is a pretty non-descript name for such a well tasting berry.
    I’d definitely put cloudberry higher up on the list of delicious berries. I highly recommend it as jam on pancakes.
    SAOB links, archaic Swedish only:
    Lingon: http://g3.spraakdata.gu.se/saob/show.phtml?filenr=1/141/35883.html
    Lingbär: http://g3.spraakdata.gu.se/saob/show.phtml?filenr=1/141/35881.html
    Ljung: http://g3.spraakdata.gu.se/saob/show.phtml?filenr=1/141/36073.html

  18. michael farris says:

    “I’d definitely put cloudberry higher up on the list of delicious berries. I highly recommend it as jam on pancakes”
    I prefer it in liquid form myself:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lakkalik%C3%B6%C3%B6ri

  19. michael farris says:

    oops, that link should be:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lakkalikööri

  20. My wife’s family on Vachon Island, WA knew them as lingonberries.

  21. Are you familiar with the queen of norther berries Rubus chamaemorus?
    Heh. We had those too, as a topping on the whipped-cream filling of the krumkake; they are indeed delicious!

  22. I may as well add for the sake of completeness that “cloudberry” is морошка [moroshka] in Russian.

  23. moroshka, brusnika, right, a very familiar berry
    we call it an’s аньс
    and use its juice and jam, it’s good for a cold treatment

  24. My family and I know them as lingonberries, and consider the name to be Swedish or Norwegian (family comes from Sweden and Norway originally, but at this point things are so intermixed we don’t keep track of what tradition came from which country…).

  25. Here’s a Norwegian poem about the cowberry–same thing as a lingonberry:
    Tytebæret
    The cowberry
    Tytebæret uppå tuva
    The cowberry on the hill
    voks utav ei liti von.
    grows from a small hope.
    Skogen med si grøne huva
    The woods, with its green hat
    fostrar mang ein raudleitt son.
    fosters many a reddish son.
    Ein gong seint om hausten lagde
    Once, late in fall went
    liten svein til bærskogs ut:
    small boy out into the berry-woods.
    “Raudt eg lyser,” bæret sagde,
    “I am shining red,”, said the berry
    “kom åt meg, du veslegut.
    “Come to me, little boy.
    Her ifrå du må meg taka:
    You must take me away from here:
    Moge bær er utan ro.
    Ripe berries have no calm.
    Mal meg sundt at du kan smaka
    Crunch me so that you can taste
    svaledrykken av mitt blod!
    the cooling drink that is my blood!
    Mognar du, so vil du beda
    When you mature, you will say
    just den same bøn som eg.
    just the same prayer as me.
    Mogen mann det mest må gleda
    For a ripe man, the most joy will be had,
    burt for folk å gjeva seg.”
    by giving himself to other people.
    Ur fiend,
    thegrowlingwolf

  26. Nora Carrington says:

    I lived in Minneapolis for 12 years (1980-90; 94-96) and had one Norwegian friend in particular who served lingonberries with homemade lefse at the Christmas holidays. Definitely not a Canadian word (or fruit).

  27. Ever tasted Klingonberries?

  28. We had both tyttebær and molte yesterday. Norwegians often think tyttebær are cranberries, in English. You can usually buy cranberries, “Ocean Spray” I think the brand is, at the supermarket here. Molte, the so-called cloudberry, is much more difficult to find than tyttebær and usually means I have to wade through bogs to pluck them. They’re quite good in whipped cream at Christmas. They sell, I think, both tyttebær and molte at IKEA. They are in pots, they aren’t packed flat. After last night’s dinner I don’t pack flat either.

  29. In the Norwegian language class I took when I moved here the man who taught it pointed out that Norwegians classify berries and fruit as separate food groups (instead of berries being a subsection of fruit as I’ve always thought of it). He said that two hundred years ago, Norway was the poorest country in Europe and people lived off berries during the season (he never quite explained the connection). Norwegians are very keen on berries. Our garden already had blackcurrants and redcurrants when we moved here, to which I have added blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, blackberries and gooseberries. There are lots of wild strawberries on the hillside and in the garden too that ripen at different times, according to how much sun they’re getting. The “Wild Strawberries” of the Bergman film title is a Swedish expression that means (I think) an unexpected, freely-available pleasure.

  30. michael farris says:

    “Molte, the so-called cloudberry”
    Surely, it’s “multe”? That’s what was written on a package of jam a friend brought back from Norway.
    Berries tend to be a big deal in Poland too, partly because of the climate and partly because people here like collecting food that grows wild. (Get lost in a forest with a Pole and whatever else happens you won’t starve to death, knowledge about what you can and can’t eat is astonishingly widespread.)
    Cloudberries supposedly grow in Poland but most people have never heard of them and the name “malina moroszka” is obviously related to the Russian name (malina = raspberry). Now, I’m wondering if ‘moroszka’ is a noun rather than adjective making it a coordinate compound (like kasza manna ‘semolina’) rather than noun + adjective.

  31. Here in Russia brusnika is a favorite berry; I call them either lingonberries or cowberries (from upstate NY). Russian kliukva (cranberries) are different than the hard kind I grew up with in the US, but both berries make good sauce. Moroshka is heavenly — they look like raspberries but are yellow and have a more delicate flavor. (Pushkin is said to have asked for them as he lay dying…)
    Once in Magadan folks told me about all the berries they picked in the summer, and I hadn’t heard of any of them except moroshka. Unfortunately, the bears also like the same berries, though the local folks seemed to take that in stride…

  32. The Growling Wolf’s ode to tyttebær is, according to my wife a hymna, or folksong, that Norwegian children all learn at school. She said it’s very old and that the nynorsk would be very difficult or impossible to translate adequately into bokmål, let alone into English. Was it the Growling Wolf himself or herself who did this translation? i thought it was good (my wife didn’t read it, but I expect she would have liked it too).
    I have never heard the word cowberry, it’s not a translation of tyttebær.

  33. Roger Depledge says:

    To add my two euros’ worth, the Finnish coin of that denomination features the cloudberry.

  34. Michael: Surely, it’s “multe”?
    With a Norwegian ‘O’, which is like double o in British English, it wouldn’t sound that different whichever way you spelt it, but take your pick:
    Nynorsk-wiki:
    Molte (Rubus chamaemorus) er ein plante i rosefamilien. Det gule bæret smakar godt og vert nytta som mat. Molte er namnet både på plana og bæret
    Bokmål-wiki:
    Multe (molte) er en flerårig plante som kan bli snaue 30 cm høy og har en krypende jordstamme.
    Dansk-wiki:
    Multe er en subtropisk fisk, der kommer til Danmark særligt om sommeren.

  35. I should have previewed it. It’s just molte & multe that are meant to be bold.

  36. Well, being a Newfie, I’ve always called them partridgeberries. And we call cloudberries ‘bakeapples’, for some reason.

  37. Both molte and multe are accepted spellings, listed in Bokmålsordboka.

  38. SnowLeopard says:

    In Couplan’s “Encyclopedia of Edible Plants of North America”, “Partridge Berry” refers only to Mitchella repens, an attractive groundcover with bright red berries described as “edible, but insipid”. Vaccinium vitis-idaea is described there only as “cowberry” and grouped with others of its genus — blueberry, huckleberry, bilberry, cranberry, farkleberry. Berries of various species are red, blue, or black. It says V. vitis-idaea berries (which it says red) improve in flavor after the first frost (presumably this sweetens them) and, as others have noted, can be made into a sauce like cranberries. They are native to Europe.

  39. If anything looks like the kind of thing your mother told you was Deadly Poison it’s the farkleberry. Also known as the sparkleberry.

  40. As far as I know, I have never had lignonberries, though my wife is pretty sure she got a jar of jam once.
    Kronsbeere.
    Still more at M.M.P.N.D..

  41. John Emerson says:

    We’ve had a pretty good international discussion of berries here, from Minnesota through Canada including Newfoundland, Scandinavia including Finland, Poland, Russia, and Mongolia (which is where Read is from).

  42. John Emerson says:

    We’ve had a pretty good international discussion of berries here, from Minnesota through Canada including Newfoundland, Scandinavia including Finland, Poland, Russia, and Mongolia (which is where Read is from).

  43. Sturtevant tells us it’s called wi-sa-gu-mina in Cree (variously cranberry or low bush cranberry). He gets this from Richardson. That would be wisaki-minbitter berry‘.
    And that Thoreau ate them in The Maine Woods for dessert.

  44. John Emerson says:

    And also muskrat, which he described as tasting like swamp, IIRC.

  45. John Emerson says:

    And also muskrat, which he described as tasting like swamp, IIRC.

  46. In Eastern Canadian, pomme de terre. Doesn’t that get confusing? Confirmed by other sources, though.

  47. I should have previewed it.
    I fixed it with my hattic magic!
    Was it the Growling Wolf himself or herself who did this translation?
    I can pretty much assure you that is not the case (although he often surprises me). I strongly suspect he got it from here. But the ability to find good things online is half the battle.

  48. AJP Kronsbeere says:

    Thank heavens for hattic magic. I’ve bookmarked M.M.P.N.D., which I didn’t know about. Very useful.
    I just had the best lutefisk I’ve ever had. My wife made it. Now I understand the concept better. With the bacon fat poured over it, it’s a sort of variation on a pork roast, I think.

  49. scarabaeus says:

    A berry holidays to one and all:
    I have never heard of a lingonberry , my first thought , that it be a cross between linguist and a raspberry , but my on line reference did not like the spelling either and it referred me to a childhood berry that be twice the size and look of a Raspberry and grew in hedgerows like a Blackberry .

  50. Possibly a loganberry?
    The loganberry (Rubus × loganobaccus) is a hybrid produced from crossing a blackberry and a raspberry.
    The scarabæus is a scary bær.

  51. “lingonberry, that’s smaller than a cranberry”
    “Canadian, no, you get those at Johnson’s in Door County.”
    That would be the Michigan restaurant with the goats on the roof, and they’re served with very thin pancakes.
    I would imagine you could also get them in Dekorah, Iowa–they have very good lefse in that town.
    Mmmm….lefse, must check kitchen for something, yalla bye.
    Nijma

  52. John Emerson says:

    “The mullet is a subtropical fish which comes sorely to Denmark in the summer.” I am fluent in Danish.

  53. John Emerson says:

    “The mullet is a subtropical fish which comes sorely to Denmark in the summer.” I am fluent in Danish.

  54. John Emerson says:

    Hamlet: “Have the mullet come sorely yet, Sven?”
    Sven: “Sorely indeed, Milord.” [Exit left.]
    [Hamlet dies].

  55. John Emerson says:

    Hamlet: “Have the mullet come sorely yet, Sven?”
    Sven: “Sorely indeed, Milord.” [Exit left.]
    [Hamlet dies].

  56. John Emerson says:

    My local Wobegonian mail-order lefse store. You can also buy lefse-making equipment. They sell lingonberry jam, but not mail order. Everything is fearsomely expensive.

  57. John Emerson says:

    My local Wobegonian mail-order lefse store. You can also buy lefse-making equipment. They sell lingonberry jam, but not mail order. Everything is fearsomely expensive.

  58. You can mail order lingonberries from Johnson’s in Door County with the goats on the sod roof. But Bishop Hill is always my favorite, being worthy of historical preservation by the state of Illinois as a Swedish utopian colony. There is a store where you can get lingonberries, aebleskiver pans (yum!–the aebleskivers, not the pans), the sinful Maribou chocolate, and of course books; and several restaurants where you can get a huge selection of Swedish meatballs and fresh pie in season. This year’s Christmas holiday was bittersweet as we tried to digest some indigestible news from the doctor, but I finally got lefse lessons (my brother showed early talent in the kitchen and learned to make lefse before he learned to tie his shoes–no wonder he married Norwegian.) The frikadiller was to die for, but none of the family recipes for that have fallen into my lap as yet.
    All you really need to make lefse is the grooved rolling pin, which I still have after so many moves, but the turning stick helps and I have lost that. We don’t ever eat lefse with lingonberries. Lefse takes butter spread on it (or these days a low cholesterol look-alike,) then sugar, then it is rolled up.

  59. Cranberries are easy to strip off the bush, it would seem. I myself have only ever plucked them from the supermarket shelf – and that was indeed effortless.
    Behind the German Preiselbeere, according to Duden, is брусника and friends:
    Preiselbeere, die; -, -n
    [spätmhd. praisselper, 1. Bestandteil

  60. Dang, I just learned that lingonberries (which I know only from Ikea) are the same as Preiselbeeren (which I know from cheap jam in my student year in Germany).

  61. Kronsbeere says:

    My local Wobegonian mail-order lefse store
    Norwegians just write the address with a marker and put on a stamp.

  62. Æbleskiver, for those who don’t know about this Danish delicacy. (Not being of Danish descent or affiliation, I had to look it up myself.)
    Lefse are delicious with butter; sadly, I associate them with fish, which I don’t eat — the phrase “fish and lefse” is ingrained in me from childhood (my Mom was Norwegian-American, from a small Iowa town where literally everybody was Norwegian-American).

  63. A.J.P. Crone says:

    Æble, meaning apple, is a good example — Sili will confirm — that you need only to be drunk while you simply slur any other N. European language to pronounce Danish authentically.

  64. John Emerson says:

    My Norwegian-American pastor says that Danes always talk like they have food in their mouths.

  65. John Emerson says:

    My Norwegian-American pastor says that Danes always talk like they have food in their mouths.

  66. An æbleskiver pan looks like a ขนมครก pan.

  67. @fiosachd: I dimly remember “hurts” from my Cornish childhood, but in adult rationalisation I thought they were sloes. Possibly as you suggest this is a hypernym for any low-growing berry.

  68. John Emerson says:

    I’m hurt that no one acknowledged my særligt joke, not even with disdain. *sniff*

  69. John Emerson says:

    I’m hurt that no one acknowledged my særligt joke, not even with disdain. *sniff*

  70. A.J.P. Crone says:

    It was an excellent joke, as are all your jokes. I liked the Hamlet bit as well. I have never not laughed at a John Emerson joke. Can’t you hear us laughing, John?
    One day there will be laugh buttons on our computers which everyone will disconnect.
    Please give our love to your sister(s). Are they as well-read as you are?

  71. The aforementioned fish that Kron found so endearing on his Christmas dinner plate (as a “concept”???) and Hat “doesn’t eat” would be lutefisk, the subject of countless politically incorrect and truly tasteless poems, jokes, and songs, not to mention the t-shirts sporting slogans like “LUTEFISK: JUST SAY NO”.
    Cranberries are easy to strip off the bush
    They show them here being harvested by skimming them off the top of lakes–apparently cranberries grow in bogs.
    Lefse are delicious
    We would say “lefse is..”, considering this to be a non-count noun, like lutefisk. Aebleskivers, while apparently already plural in Danish, gets an -s on the end from us, while I am less sure of pebernoder (peppernuts), a thick round cookie the size of a dime, made from butter, sugar, milk, baking powder, salt, and flour. I’m pretty sure frikadeller is non-count.

  72. Oops, the lutefisk link didn’t come through.

  73. John Emerson says:

    The successful eating of lutefisk is one of my goals in life. In my most recent attempt I finished a third of a helping. My hypothesis at this point is that the funky aroma is what turns people off. The flavor and texture are fine. Around here it’s available in store and a few restaurants, but only around Christmas.

  74. John Emerson says:

    The successful eating of lutefisk is one of my goals in life. In my most recent attempt I finished a third of a helping. My hypothesis at this point is that the funky aroma is what turns people off. The flavor and texture are fine. Around here it’s available in store and a few restaurants, but only around Christmas.

  75. A.J.P. Crone says:

    What’s really VERY peculiar is that I was thinking this was a slightly esoteric blog about language, but it turns out that it’s almost totally fronted by English speakers eating lefse and lutefisk. People just like me, in other words. Who want to be my imaginary friends.

  76. I’m hurt that no one acknowledged my særligt joke
    I didn’t acknowledge it here because I immediately ran off to read it to my wife. I join Kron in saluting your consistent jokerrificness
    Maybe I should change the tagline of LH to “languages, hats, and lefse.”

  77. Per Jørgensen says:

    Sorry to come at this belatedly. Growling Wolf, your translation is spot on, except for one quibble: The “tuva” in “Tytebæret uppå tuva” is a small mound or tussock, bokmål “tue.” A hill would be a much bigger affair, besides which a reference to hills would be redundant in Norway. Most of the country is nothing but hills and the dips in between, except for rock faces, cliffs, boulders, and the little flat bits in between.
    The forest floor where tyttebær grow in Norway is usually soft and spongy with accumulated evergreen needles, twigs, mosses, and other debris. Tyttebær and blueberries (blåbær) grow all over it in low tangled mats of shrubby groundcover. Hence the reference to surviving on berries — you can literally scoop both kinds of berries up by the bucketful off the forest floor in the season. In Norway, we use a special scoop with tines in the front for that very purpose.
    In my family, tyttebær and multer were not jellied or preserved. My dad would just pour some tyttebær, which are bitter and mealy right off the shrub, in a bowl and mash them up with a lot of sugar using a wooden spoon. The longer and harder the mashing, the better. Multer got the same treatment, though with much less sugar, so as not to mask the taste.
    Dialectically, I’ve not heard anyone refer to them as “molter” — “o” as either in French “au” or “ou” — but always as “multer,” as in (close enough) English “oo.” My parents’ original dialects are from the north, my dad’s from Finnsnes, on the coast of Troms, and my mom’s from inland Bardu (the latter dialect a special case because it carries features from a not-to-distant settlement by people from Østerdalen and Gudbrandsdalen). Note that they both heavily “standardized” their dialects long ago to more or less official bokmål. My dialect is pure Drammenselva, that is, up the valleys to the west of Oslo, where we speak the kind of Norwegian that 100 years ago would place you squarely in the lumpenproletariat. I can speak for the south-east and north of the country, so if anyone says “molter” it would have to be on south or west coasts or in Trøndelag. Someone correct me on that.
    Since I’m at it: Lefse and fish together, not. Lefse is to fish what donuts is pot roast. Lefse is for coffee. With fish, you’d take bread or flatbread.

  78. John Emerson says:

    I loved Swedish rye flatbread when I had teeth. Now, not so much.
    Perhaps I can ask again whether there are any Scandinavians able to speak or write all four languages correctly: Swedish, Danish, nynorsk, and bokmål. Or even two of them? Are there translators, for example, who convert one to the other?

  79. John Emerson says:

    I loved Swedish rye flatbread when I had teeth. Now, not so much.
    Perhaps I can ask again whether there are any Scandinavians able to speak or write all four languages correctly: Swedish, Danish, nynorsk, and bokmål. Or even two of them? Are there translators, for example, who convert one to the other?

  80. Per Jørgensen: Thanks very much for that informative comment! How I wish my mother were around to enjoy all this Norsk-related stuff (though I’m pretty sure she wouldn’t enjoy being 93). Her folks were from Sauda, and I’m sorry I was never able to visit the old country with her.

  81. Per Jørgensen says:

    My dad (still toothed) and I break up flatbread, pour surmelk (cultured milk) or kefir on it, and eat it with sugar. If you just let it set for a bit, the flatbread goes soggy like Linus’ cereal. No teeth required.
    I could do a perfectly decent job of Danish and Swedish, given enough time and a dictionary just for spelling.
    Nynorsk? No way. The school system insisted on cramming that down our throats for twelve years as a secondary written standard, and I still couldn’t get it right. It’s just too close to bokmål. You inevitably get the two mixed up. Everyone’s dialect has elements of both unless you live in Bærum, so the whole thing is an exercise in keeping track of which arbitrary rule applies to which standard. I’m sure nynorsk-speakers feel the same way about bokmål. To this day I can’t fathom the Norwegian insistence on requiring every school child to be able to write in both versions of the same language. Then again, I can’t fathom why we still have a king or a state religion, either, so what do I know.

  82. To this day I can’t fathom the Norwegian insistence on requiring every school child to be able to write in both versions of the same language.
    Yes, that seems odd. And I say that as one who loves languages, the more the merrier.

  83. I can speak for the south-east and north of the country, so if anyone says “molter” it would have to be on south or west coasts or in Trøndelag. Someone correct me on that.
    My father, who’s from the north (the Sortland area, to be more specific), says “molter”.
    The school system insisted on cramming that down our throats for twelve years as a secondary written standard
    When I went to school, we started learning nynorsk in 8th grade, so we had it for six years. I found that the attitude you had to it played an important part in how you performed (meaning that the majority of my classmates – this was in western Oslo – who hated it even before we were taught anything got corresponding grades.

  84. John Emerson says:

    Is nynorsk the actual standard anywhere?
    Bokmål is heavily Danish-influenced, right? My church here had some kind of dispute around 1920 between Danes and Norwegians, or between Danish and Norwegians. No one alive knows what actually happened. Maybe they switched to Nynorsk. But bokmål is the liturgical language i think.
    Danish/Norwegian services continued until about 1948.

  85. John Emerson says:

    Is nynorsk the actual standard anywhere?
    Bokmål is heavily Danish-influenced, right? My church here had some kind of dispute around 1920 between Danes and Norwegians, or between Danish and Norwegians. No one alive knows what actually happened. Maybe they switched to Nynorsk. But bokmål is the liturgical language i think.
    Danish/Norwegian services continued until about 1948.

  86. Is nynorsk the actual standard anywhere?
    I’m not sure what you mean by “the actual standard”, but it’s the hovedmål (the “main written form”) of slightly less than 15% of elementary school students. It’s the administrative standard for four of the nineteen counties and 27% of the municipalities.

  87. A.J.P. Krone says:

    Is nynorsk the actual standard anywhere?
    I’ve noticed that the ‘Tine’ milk cartons change from containing melk, bokmål, where we live, in Asker, to nynorsk mjølk in Gudbrandsdal, where my wife comes from. It’s possible you could map nynorsk from the milk cartons.
    My dialect is pure Drammenselva
    I think this is what my neighbours must speak, Per Jørgensen, and I still find quite difficult to understand. Do you say en gang or ein gong?
    Lefse and fish together, not.
    It must be a regional thing, because we had lutefisk and lefse (på Sem i Asker) together yesterday. I have eaten them with sugar (the lefser, not the lutefisk), but my lot usually have waffles with their coffee.

  88. A.J.P. Krone says:

    When I google ‘melk’, I get a ‘sponsored’ link:
    Hotels in Melk
    Book your hotel in Melk online.
    Great rates. No reservation costs!
    http://www.booking.com/Melk-Austria
    With global warming, some people will do anything for a white Christmas.

  89. A.J.P. Krone says:

    Interestingly the Austrian Melk, she of the incredible rococco, has an older spelling, (older spelling: Mölk), according to wiki. Just like Norwegian, almost.

  90. Per Jørgensen says:

    Nick, I did have a bad attitude. I confess.
    I also stand corrected on “molter.” Next time I talk to my dad, I’ll ask him how he would have said it as a kid. I bet he will say it exactly like your dad. Even better, I should ask him and his brother together. They tend to lose their acquired østlands when they talk to each other. (BTW, I did spend a goodly bit of time in Sortland. I guess I just didn’t talk to anyone about cloudberries, so I never picked up on the pronunciation. Also, I was drunk a lot.)
    John, bokmål carries a great deal of baggage dating back to Danish rule, which we’re somehow still seething about. Nynorsk’s roots go back to national romanticism. There is a debate lurking here that tends to get heated very quickly among Norwegians. I don’t want to derail Hat’s thread with that business. I’m not arguing for or against either bokmål or nynorsk, or aruing for one written standard. Not at all, I’m with Hat on the more the merrier.
    My take on it is that either bokmål and nynorsk is as accurate or inaccurate a representation of Norwegian spoken dialects today as the other. They’re not distinct languages, only two written standards representing the same language, a language characterized by a great deal of geographical and social dialect variation. As far as I’m concerned we could make a third or a fourth written standard, or one for each fylke, for that matter.
    My gripe is only about trying to make everyone learn to write both and grading the result. There’s something both prescriptivist and patronizing about the entire endeavor: There must exist somewhere, somehow, a hypothetical bokmål speaker who can’t understand nynorsk, so you as a nynorsk speaker must learn to write bokmål in order to communicate with that person. Further, you must also learn to do it correctly according to the government board responsible for overseeing the development of the official written standard. Finally, if I, a bokmål user, should happen to go to a government office and get an official form in nynorsk, I should get terribly offended and immediately demand the copy in bokmål I’m guaranteed by law — even though there is absolutely no reason I can’t read the nynorsk version perfectly well.
    It makes no sense to me. We’re not talking Switzerland or Belgium, where they have actual language differences to deal with. Why can’t Odd, who went to school in a nynorsk district, use it and Even, who learned to write in bokmål, just use that? Better yet, mix all their textbooks up so that some of them are in nynorsk and some in bokmål. That way they could both get used to reading either form and quit thinking of this as some sort of continental divide. Their spoken dialect conforms exactly to neither nynorsk or bokmål, anyway, so why this pitched battle?
    Hat, I’m stealing your thread. My apologies. I’ll stop now.

  91. A.J.P. Krone says:

    Why did they change the name from riksmål to bokmål, is it something to do with WW2?

  92. Per Jørgensen says:

    AJP, I say “en gang.” You have to go further than Drammen and Hokksund for “Ein gong.”
    What I do use (but don’t, because I mostly use a “normalized” bokmål unless I’m talking to childhood friends) are “hakke” for “har ikke” (haven’t), “åssen” for “hvordan” (how), and “ælva” for “elven” (the river).
    Bokmål is riksmål minus the starch and powdered wigs. Nick can probably speak more accurately to the circumstances of the name change, but in essence bokmål is the result of an effort to shake the more overt Danish vestiges out of riksmål.
    They had lefse with fish? Not lefse with sugar and butter surely?

  93. A.J.P. Krone says:

    I like the idea of mixing bokmål and nynorsk up, that’s a good suggestion. It’s absurd reading everything twice: once where it’s quite clear and again where every other word is slightly unfamiliar.

  94. A.J.P. Krone says:

    That’s interesting. My father-in-law, from Hadeland says “hakke” sometimes, I didn’t realise it was a shibboleth that I ought to be noticing. My neighbour says ‘ein gong’ he’s seventy and he grew up around here (Asker) somewhere.
    Lefse with butter, eaten during the fish course.

  95. I don’t want to derail Hat’s thread with that business.
    In the first place, it’s linguistic information, which is inherently non-derail (not to mention some of the most enlightening stuff I’ve read on the subject, and I hope you’ll stick around). In the second place, derails are positively welcomed here at LH; we are firm believers in serendipity, synchronicity, and other forms of fertile randomness.

  96. I also stand corrected on “molter.”
    I think I’ll try to elicit the form from him, but I’m about 95% certain that that’s the form he uses.
    Per, I have to admit, your comment about sidemål teaching was food for thought. I’m a proponent of teaching this in school, but I can see the prescriptivist angle you’re getting at. And while my point regarding attitude still stands, I can sympathize with frustrated students who are just tossed into (from their point of view) conjugation hell: -Ø, -en, -ar, -ane; “no an-be-het-else!”, &c. It would make more sense to show them how it applies in their daily life by having them read nynorsk literature (Are Kalvø being the oft out-trotted example, but at least his works have the ability to get 14-year olds to laugh and not yawn), or perhaps actively use it while texting, IMing, e-mailing, &c (however, some amount of rote memorization is needed for that).
    On the riksmål vs. bokmål thing: I can’t give a good answer as to why, but in 1929 it was decided that the official terms would be bokmål and nynorsk (replacing riksmål and landsmål). On a side-note, the term riksmål didn’t enter common use until the late 1890s (having been coined around 1880). Before that, terms like det almindelige Bogsprog (‘the common literary language’) and Fællessproget (‘the common language’) were used by its advocates, while the landsmål supporters preferred dansk-norsk (or norsk-dansk). This charming antipathy has survived to this day.

  97. John Emerson says:

    I don’t want to derail Hat’s thread with that business.
    Hat might be willing to dedicate a post to it. You needn’t be so polite. Off-topic is OK here.
    Maybe my church changed from riksmål to bokmål around 1920. There’s probably no way to know. People in the church now know that something happened, but not what it was. Even one of our centenarians was probably too young then to understand.

  98. John Emerson says:

    I don’t want to derail Hat’s thread with that business.
    Hat might be willing to dedicate a post to it. You needn’t be so polite. Off-topic is OK here.
    Maybe my church changed from riksmål to bokmål around 1920. There’s probably no way to know. People in the church now know that something happened, but not what it was. Even one of our centenarians was probably too young then to understand.

  99. English speakers eating lefse and lutefisk….who want to be my imaginary friends.
    It’s pretty safe to assume we all want to be Kron’s imaginary friends–but the lutefisk thing is a bit much. A place where it is *safe* to eat lutefisk is not the same as a place where everyone *wants* to eat lutefisk.

  100. Maybe my church changed from riksmål to bokmål around 1920.
    The only official thing I can think of is the radical orthography reform in 1917 (which reminds me of a satirical cartoon, tying the feud in the Labor Party regarding Lenin’s Twenty-one Conditions to the language feud. It depicts a Soviet watching a battle in the streets, asking how they revolution is going. The answer: “At the moment, we’re fighting about how to spell it”), which amongst other things introduced the letter å, replacing aa (Danish kept it until 1948).
    But it might be something completely different for all I know.

  101. John Emerson says:

    Lutefisk and lefse are polar opposites. Lefse is an expensive treat, whereas lutefisk is character-building and (in my case) aspirational. Sort of like running a super-marathon and coming home with your shoes full of blood. A heroic accomplishment.

  102. John Emerson says:

    Lutefisk and lefse are polar opposites. Lefse is an expensive treat, whereas lutefisk is character-building and (in my case) aspirational. Sort of like running a super-marathon and coming home with your shoes full of blood. A heroic accomplishment.

  103. Lefse doesn’t have to be expensive if you make it yourself. I hear it started out as a way to preserve leftover mashed potatoes before the days of refrigeration. Of course I’m a bit cocky, just having received my first lesson, but never having actually made it by myself. We eat lefse on two occasions (at Christmas of course), once when it is freshly made, and the other with the main course, on a side plate or smørebrød plate.
    You should probably run a 10K first and get your competition issues sorted out before aspiring to lutefisk.
    I once knew someone who was in one of those Scandinavian churches that had spoken some other language, I forget which one. They also had divided and the reason was lost in the mists of time. I got the idea it was about personalities as much as anything.
    I’m afraid schism is pretty typical of all religions though. I once visited a Samhain observance that had a most wicked drum player and excellent food, but when I returned the following year the pagans had undergone a schism, with a new priestess from California chanting to raise a Cone of Power in the main sanctuary and the language majors who got their kicks from studying dead languages and sending each other letters with Miskatonic University postmarks playing with torch paper in a back room. The new agers had captured the drummer, but the linguistics types had added wine to their ritual. For me it was a no-brainer. But try to explain that to an outsider in a way that makes sense.

  104. John Emerson says:

    Lefse is expensive because it’s time-consuming. I’m a very lazy person.

  105. John Emerson says:

    Lefse is expensive because it’s time-consuming. I’m a very lazy person.

  106. I would have thought that Blix’s cartoon to which Nick refers would be scanned someplace online, or even whole issues of Exlex from 1919, but so far only snippets come up.
    Meanwhile, in the real world, Felix, evidently the lingonberry brand sold at Ikea, is stocked by all the major New England supermarkets (Shaws, Stop & Shop, …). They even had a jar at a smaller Whole Foods. No брусника was to be found at the larger Russian market, though; in fact, none of their selection of berries were unusual, other than in the orthography of their labels.

  107. A.J.P. Krone says:

    Blix’s cartoon… Exlex from 1919… so far only snippets come up.
    How does he do this?
    If you want to find out what happened at your church, John, you should hire MMcM. He’d get to the bottom of it. You could even have paid him in tyttebær before he found those on the internet too. Now you’ll have to mail him a lefse.
    I think that researching your rural Minnesota church fight will uncover all sorts of things, or it would if it were a detective story. I advise you to write it, you could include all this interesting information about Norwegian food.

  108. A.J.P. Crown says:

    (Lutefisk)… (as a “concept”???)
    The Concept of Lutefisk.
    I really enjoyed lutefisk for the first time this year, and I think it has to do with discovering what early lutefisk cooks may have been striving for. Early lutefisk may have been a variation on roast pork, where the jellylike substance was a substitute for the fattiness of pork. It only works if you have had ribs the night before and saved the dark blood gravy stuff from that to pour on your fisk together with the clear fat. This works better than bacon fat, in my opinion. So the concept is a VARIATION on ribber, not an imitation. The bland fish meat is not as fat-soaked as pork meat is and it doesn’t seem to release the same quantity of bathroom floor-cleaner (or if it does, it’s smothered by the pork flavor).
    Having children is great, but it is only by finding answers to questions like ‘What is the point of lutefisk?’ that life will give any satisfaction at all.

  109. @ Cirret: I think ‘hurt’ is etymologically related to ‘hurtleberry’ and ‘whortleberry’, which might mean they’d belong specifically to the genus Vaccinium.

  110. David Marjanović says:

    Interestingly the Austrian Melk [...] has an older spelling, (older spelling: Mölk), according to wiki. Just like Norwegian, almost.

    Not quite, because what’s going on here is that /ɛl/ becomes [œˑ] in the dialects around here. Any similarities to Milch (dialects: [mʏˑç]) must be coincidental.

  111. David Marjanović says:

    And what I actually wanted to say was more on topic: the recently fashionable cranberries are not translated but imported as such into German, but were explained to me as amerikanische Preiselbeeren.

  112. Having children is great, but it is only by finding answers to questions like ‘What is the point of lutefisk?’ that life will give any satisfaction at all.
    What a relief. All this time I’ve been worried about not having children and whether I had missed out on something. Not to mention the pressure that being my parents’ sole source of satisfaction in life would subject me to.
    A rather thoughtful history of lutefisk.
    “Since salt was very expensive and hard to get, it was considerably cheaper to dry fish than to salt it. In some parts of the country, the dry fish could substitute bread. Dry fish was also brought on travels and for those who worked far away from home. We are told about sturdy men from Dalarna who brought dry fish on the haymaking. It was soaked in some swamp to later be banged to a relatively soft and palatable consistency.”
    …”Lutfisk on the Christmas Eve table is a remnant from the Catholic days, when all meat was strictly forbidden during fasting. Fish and porridge were the substitution foods, and since (more or less) only dry fish was accessible at Christmastime, this fish came to be the Christmas fish.”
    It also looks like the use of pork fat for cooking lutefisk is somewhat regional.
    I have heard of romegrot as a Christmas specialty as well, and have even seen a special wooden basket for carrying it (to church potlucks?)in some Iowa flea market, but this doesn’t seem to have made the transition to the new world.

  113. John Emerson says:

    I have had rumegrut (as I heard it said), but can’t remember if it was the berry pudding or the bland white pudding. Probably 50 years ago. I loved the berry pudding, which may have been lingonberries for all I know.
    Under the name stockfish [= stickfish] lutefisk is eaten in the Mediterranean, but for Lent rather than Christmas.

  114. John Emerson says:

    I have had rumegrut (as I heard it said), but can’t remember if it was the berry pudding or the bland white pudding. Probably 50 years ago. I loved the berry pudding, which may have been lingonberries for all I know.
    Under the name stockfish [= stickfish] lutefisk is eaten in the Mediterranean, but for Lent rather than Christmas.

  115. John Emerson says:

    Per Google, rommegrot is the white pudding and rodgrot is the berry pudding. The white pudding is about as simple as you could imagine: Butter milk flower salt sugar cinnamon. Melt butter, stir in flower, boil for 1 minute while stirring, add milkwhile stirring, add salt.
    I could cook that!

  116. John Emerson says:

    Per Google, rommegrot is the white pudding and rodgrot is the berry pudding. The white pudding is about as simple as you could imagine: Butter milk flower salt sugar cinnamon. Melt butter, stir in flower, boil for 1 minute while stirring, add milkwhile stirring, add salt.
    I could cook that!

  117. John Emerson says:

    Flour can be substituted for the flower.

  118. John Emerson says:

    Flour can be substituted for the flower.

  119. A.J.P. Crown says:

    Not quite, because what’s going on here is that /ɛl/ becomes [œˑ] in the dialects around here.
    Doch, doch. In Norwegian bokmål melk > mjølk, nynorsk (dialects).

  120. A.J.P. Crown says:

    Rommegrøt is fantastic, John. ‘Romme’ is sour cream (with, in Norway, a very high fat content), so is ‘sour-cream porridge’, but it’s more like a warm sweet white sauce than lumpy oat porridge. They eat it with hot-chocolate, after something energetic, like skiing or cricket.

  121. A.J.P. Crown says:

    Grøt is called graut in some dialects.

  122. A.J.P. Crown says:

    And by ‘romme’ I meant, of course, .

  123. A.J.P. Crown says:

    rømme.

  124. A.J.P. Crown says:

    Here, this looks like an ok recipe. We buy it in packets at the supermarket and they are really good. If you ask very nicely, MMcM will find a market for you to buy it in Cape Cod.

  125. I had never heard of lingonberries till I spent some time in Sweden, where they are called lingonberries on English-language menus. I assumed this was a nonce translation of a term with no English name. Boy was I wrong.
    Norwegian TV programmes broadcast on Swedish TV are subtitled, so presumably there are translators who earn a living from that.

  126. Rommegrøt, rodgrot, and then there’s rotgut. I saw this in a soldier’s diary in one of the Bishop Hill museums. The English translation said they had obtained some rotgut which they planned to drink, and in a later entry they had finished off the rotgut. The original diary said “rotgut” as well. I had thought the diary was in Norwegian, but Bishop Hill is quite Swedish, none of that fancy Minnesota mixing, so maybe I’m not remembering the language right.

  127. A.J.P. Crown says:

    Norwegian TV programmes broadcast on Swedish TV are subtitled, so presumably there are translators who earn a living from that.
    And thank God for them, or their vice versa equivalents, otherwise I’d never be able to watch the Swedish and Danish detectives on television. (Yes, television was restored to our household after six months. I’ve no idea why it stopped, something to do with money).

  128. A.J.P. Crown says:

    Nidge, it’s RØMMEGRØT, not rommegrøt. I made a mistake, sorry, but don’t continue it.

  129. From rømme ‘heavy cream.’ (My Haugen dictionary has rømmegraut.)

  130. John Emerson says:

    The recipe I Googled must have been the accursed RØMMEGRØT LITE.

  131. John Emerson says:

    The recipe I Googled must have been the accursed RØMMEGRØT LITE.

  132. Google hits:
    rommegrot 130,000
    RØMMEGRØT 142,000
    Rommegrøt 138,000
    romegrot 160
    romegraut 48
    rømmegraut 10,100
    Not to be descriptivist or anything. Probably won’t ever eat it though; it’s definitely not in the low cholesterol zone.

  133. John Emerson says:

    It seems that some musical style could appropriate the “Ø” the way heavy metal appropriated the umlaut. Emo, maybe.

  134. John Emerson says:

    It seems that some musical style could appropriate the “Ø” the way heavy metal appropriated the umlaut. Emo, maybe.

  135. My dictionary, the Dansk-Norsk–Engelsk Ordbog af A. Larsen [1910] says Rømmegrød “old-cream porridge”.

  136. It seems that some musical style could appropriate the “Ø”
    As far as I am able to ascertain these things, emo has now been supplanted by goth.
    But what about the heavy metal Viking Kittens singing Led Zepplin’s Immigrånt Søng (I have no idea how to pronounce these things).

  137. Song Disclaimer: VIKINGS DID NOT HAVE HORNS. I don’t know why they always do this–certainly no one Scandinavian is responsible.

  138. A.J.P. Crown says:

    I don’t like the Ø. I always write it as a theta, but then I feel weird because it isn’t one.
    A lot of people in Oslo have horns, especially in the rush hour.

  139. John Emerson says:

    Most of us eventually forget our petty grudges against letters of the alphabet, Kron. Just saying.

  140. John Emerson says:

    Most of us eventually forget our petty grudges against letters of the alphabet, Kron. Just saying.

  141. I hate to bring this up, but I think it’s time he faced up to it: Kron, you just feel that way because your original name was Krøn. Admit it, deal with it, and move on.

  142. John Emerson says:

    To be specific, Å.J.P. Krøn.

  143. John Emerson says:

    To be specific, Å.J.P. Krøn.

  144. Δ.τ.ρ. κγθπ, fear the theta.

  145. michael farris says:

    This thread is getting long enough that I’m surpised that no one has offered the Hungarian for lingonberries:
    vörös áfonya
    You’re all very welcom.

  146. A.J.P. Krøn says:

    I didn’t mean theta, I meant phi. The one with a vertical line, isn’t it phi? It’s Norwegians who write Ø as if it were theta. During my brief time learning Russian we were shown how to hand write the cyrillic ‘f’, sort of like olo, and I would use that for Ø if it didn’t take 3 strokes to write.

  147. A.J.P. Crown says:

    My daughter says she would never eat lefse with butter and sugar (I have done so once or twice). She is notoriously picky, though, especially about ‘sell-by’ dates, which I couldn’t care less about and I’m still here, but she puts that down to luck.
    She says the kind of lefse you eat with your coffee is called fin lefse and it’s more like cake. I’d never heard this, but what do I know.

  148. A.J.P. Crown says:

    vörös áfonya
    Which second-person pronoun do you use with your Hungarian lingonberries? Quite a familiar one?

  149. KrΦn, According to Gary Legwold’s “The Last Word on Lefse” there is a type of thick lefse called “potetlamp” made on 14-inch cast iron grills. In medieval literature, the Finns are often blamed for negative foreign influence, like magic (Finn shot) or bad weather.
    The sell-by date is not the same as the eat-by date.
    http://www.fsis.usda.gov/Factsheets/Food_Product_Dating/index.asp

  150. A.J.P. Crown says:

    The sell-by date is not the same as the eat-by date.
    Or the die-by date. But that’s a good point, or it would be if I could only read the damn things, they’re so small.

  151. David Marjanović says:

    During my brief time learning Russian we were shown how to hand write the cyrillic ‘f’, sort of like olo, and I would use that for Ø if it didn’t take 3 strokes to write.

    It takes a single stroke (lowercase) or two (uppercase) in actual handwriting, and it can be continuous with the letters on either side.

    Not quite, because what’s going on here is that /ɛl/ becomes [œˑ] in the dialects around here.

    Doch, doch. In Norwegian bokmål melk > mjølk, nynorsk (dialects).

    Over here, the /l/ disappears in the process.

  152. A.J.P. Crown says:

    It takes a single stroke (lowercase) …in actual handwriting
    I don’t see how you can do it in less than 3 swoops, David. There’s a circle on the left, a vertical and a circle on the right. it wouldn’t need to be continuous, because I have italic-based handwriting. not copperplate.

  153. John Emerson says:

    Are we not lost in the weeds? For example, what do the Finns have to do with lefse?

  154. John Emerson says:

    Are we not lost in the weeds? For example, what do the Finns have to do with lefse?

  155. John Emerson says:

    Not that there’s anything wrong with being lost in the weeds.

  156. John Emerson says:

    Not that there’s anything wrong with being lost in the weeds.

  157. Krφn:the kind of lefse you eat with your coffee is called fin lefse and it’s more like cake.
    Krφn’s daughter has apparently fallen in with subversive companions.
    Some LH readers prefer to be lost in the weeds.

  158. I don’t see how you can do it in less than 3 swoops
    I’m not sure what we’re talking about. Yes, there are three swoops, if by that you mean curvy things and a line in between, but it can be written in a single continuous stroke, as should be more or less clear from the example here (scroll down and ignore the first line, which is printed examples); you approach from the left, scrawl a circle, zip down in a straight line, pull the pen back up and do a circle on the right, and Boris is your uncle. It’s no harder than cursive f in English.

  159. A.J.P. Crown says:

    Oh, lovely examples, Language. Yeah, that’s what I was thinking. It’s a very nice letter. But too slow. I’ve been trying to speed up my handwriting and three strokes, swoops or movements are just too much time to spend on one letter. If I do Ø as a circle with a line through it, I’m saving one stroke (actually I could do the theta and save 2, but it’s ugly). We all have our quirky ways.
    Nidge, fin doesn’t mean ‘Finn’, it means ‘fine’. As in ‘a fine Norwegian you turned out to be’.

  160. Artifex Amando says:

    Another random Swedish lesson:
    “Finn” is “finne” (just ad an ä-sound) in Swedish, or if the Finn is female, “finska”. But “finne”, pronounced the same way, also means “pimple”. According to my handy etymological book, they’re not related, though, as the demonym has an uncertain origin, while finne meaning pimple comes from the Low German “vinne”. “Finne” is related to another Swedish word, “fena”, meaning “fin” as in the fin of a dolphin.

  161. A.J.P. Crown says:

    Finn is the imperative form of ‘find’ in Norwegian (Finsk is Finnish), so if you were asked to find a pimple on the fine Finnish dolphin’s fin, that would be….

  162. Artifex Amando says:

    “Finn en finne på den fina finska delfinens fena!”, in Swedish. Does it qualify as a tongue twister, I wonder? And what would it be in Norwegian, prithee?

  163. A.J.P. Smith says:

    Å finne en finne på den fine finske finne.
    (I’m leaving out ‘dolphin’s’ for the sake of the poetry.)

  164. In Japanese it’s called こけもも (苔桃) (kokemomo, literally “moss peach”).
    http://www.botanic.jp/plants-ka/kokemo.htm

  165. Isn’t Kokemo a place in the USA?
    I don’t think anyone has yet mentioned that cranberries in Norwegian are tranebær. They aren’t native, and I doubt they even grow here, so where did the name come from?

  166. Perhaps someone should mention two berries from Snowleopard’s website that I had never heard of before: rambutan and Synsepalum dulcificum (Miracle Berry).

  167. Cranberries are crane-berries and tranebær likewise are trane-bær. OED says that the American colonists must have taken the name from some LG for V. oxycoccos, which is native to Northern Europe and was fenberry in English, and applied it to V. macrocarpon.

  168. Oh, thank-you, MMcM. You’re a wonderful vegetarian resource. Happy New Year to you. I wonder what happened to fenberries? I’ve never heard of them in Norfolk, but I’ll ask my mother.

  169. Wiki has an extraordinary picture of a cranberry harvest in New Jersey.

  170. John Emerson says:

    Goodbye, lingonberries! It’s been delightful.

  171. John Emerson says:

    Goodbye, lingonberries! It’s been delightful.

  172. I could probably find a recipe for rodgrot. It’s got those line thingies in the o’s though.

  173. My grandmother, who came from northern Sweeden, served lingonberry jams and lingonberry pastries.We always thought of it as a scandanavian berry.

  174. Rødgrøt is a pudding (I think) made with berry juice thickened with cornstarch, sago four or potato flour. Here are two recipes from the Norse American Cookbook 1925 Centennial Edition Re-Issued. It should be pretty authentic–there were plenty of first generation Norwegians still around.
    I also remember something called I think “fruit soup-a” from a Swedish restaurant-a sweet red soup served cold. I think it was made with rhubarb, not lingonberries. My mother said this was a favorite Norwegian dish made by her aunts in America.

  175. Sorry about the link, it doesn’t seem to know what to do with special characters in the file name. Here it is again.

  176. Rudy Lukes says:

    I could not believe the number of responses and comments to tiny little lingonberry. Whilst most of the comments (I could not read all) make interesting points, to me lingonberries were always “brusinka-s” or “preisselberren”, oversweetened cranberries I didn’t “meet” til my arrival to America, the same is true for the oversized, farmed blueberries. Both of these lack the delicious tartness of the wild kind of my youth.
    Lingonberries are incredibly wonderful with game; be it venison, boar, rabbit and especially pheasant and partridge (done right, of course).
    French name for these, unknown to most French is les airelles.
    Bon Appetit.

  177. Eric Oliver says:

    I grew up in Labrador (northern Canada) and call this berry ‘red berry’ or ‘redberry’ (not sure how to write it, really) while my neighbours in Newfoundland call it ‘partridgeberry’. In Southern Canada, where to my knowledge this berry doesn’t grow, you can only find jars of its jam in fancy shops where it is usually imported and goes by the name ‘lingonberry’. The general consensus is that ‘lingonberry’ is a name from “somewhere in Europe”.

  178. I first met lingonberry sauce in an IHOP on top of a curious sort of pancakes: not conventional pancakes, nor crepes, but something rather spongy by nature. I don’t remember what IHOP calls them.

  179. I am sure that I first met the word lingonberry at an IHOP, as a child in New Jersey in the 1960s. “Swedish lingonberry pancakes” may have been the name of the menu item. I don’t remember the texture of the pancakes; I’m not even sure anybody at our table ordered that item. Somebody (was it me?) ordered chocolate chip pancakes, and we were surprised when they came with lots of whipped cream and chocolate sauce.

  180. In partial atonement for both the self-indulgent nature of my last comment and my html tag blunder, I offer you a vintage IHOP menu. You should be able to zoom in yourself, but I have copied out some of my favorites:
    SWEDISH PANCAKES
    Rich Egg Batter Pancakes Wrapped Around Gently Melting Lingonberry Butter
    AEBLESKIVERS
    Copenhagen’s Delicious and Unique Pancake Balls. Deep Fried … Served With Strawberry Apple Sauce
    GERMAN PANCAKES
    Old Heidelberg Style. Large Circlets Rolled in Lemon Butter – SEHR GUT!
    VIENNESE POTATO PANCAKES
    Freshly Grated Potatoes and Savory Seasonings … Served in the Old Tradition with Strawberry Apple Sauce
    HUNGARIAN PALACSINTA
    A Real Taste Treat … Strawberry Preserves, Chopped Pecans Rolled in thin Egg Batter
    FRENCH PANCAKES (CREPES SUZETTE)
    A Gourmet’s Choice … Delicately Thin Pancakes with Orange Cointreau Sauce … Delightfully Delicious
    TAHITIAN ORANGE PINEAPPLE PANCAKES
    Tropical as a Trade Wind Pineapple Wedges in Orange Flavored Pancakes
    KAUAI COCOANUT PANCAKES
    Specially Prepared, Cocoanut Laden Pancakes, Topped with Shredded Cocoanut … Served with Our Special Imported Cocoanut Syrup
    TEXAS BUCKWHEAT PANCAKES
    Half as Big and Twice as Good as the Lone Star State

  181. This may have been the first of several posts where I advertise Ocean Spray cranberries. I don’t know what got into me.

  182. They are really good, though. Don’t accept any substitutes!

  183. I’ve fixed everybody’s html tag blunders, and you people are making me hungry!

  184. Nobody so far has mentioned the hawberry, eaten, of course, by haweaters.

  185. Victor Sonkin says:

    Боюсь, брусничная вода
    Мне не наделала б вреда.
    I think more than one English translation opts for lingonberry here.
    BTW I found out Onegin was right the hard way, when traveling through Pskov on my way to Pushkinskie Gory I had a glass of lingonberry compote at a roadside cafe. Boy did I regret it on the bus shortly after.

  186. Ocean Spray, for what it’s worth, is a consortium of about 700 cranberry bog owners that use common branding.

  187. Stefan Holm says:

    Strange to see this long thread about lingon without anyone pointing out that it is “the” berry in the minds of the Swedes, the red gold of the forest, with almost iconic status. You can’t order a dish with meatballs, steak, fried herring (fresh or salted) and many others without them being served together with this bitter-sweet jam.

    As a child I for several years went with my grandparents in late July or early August to pick them. With the help of a tool like this https://www.google.se/search?q=lingonplockare&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=txPFU_PaN4nMygOe74CIAg&ved=0CB0QsAQ&biw=1253&bih=767 we could pick 50-100 litres during a couple of hours (the tool ‘almost’ seperates the berries from the leaves). The procedure is then to cook them together with sugar or – preferably – just stir them with sugar without heat (easily done with a blender). No preservatives needed – they’re already in the lingon itself. Still today I buy 3-4 kg of them each year, stir with sugar and put in the freezer, so that I never until next season shall be without them.

    Few Swedes pick them anymore. It’s done by imported labourers from as far as South East Asia (who by the way often are scandalously treatened by their Swedish employers).

    In the early sixties the American quartet Delta Rhythm Boys during a tour in Sweden made a formidable success by (1) singing a song known to all Swedes mentioning the lingon and (2) do it in Swedish! I found a ‘mix’ of them singing ‘Flickorna i Småland’ (The Girls in Småland). What is mixed is pictures of female celebrities from this barren southswedish highland of sandy soil – perfect for the lingonberry. Here’s the song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P7kt_COpWhU

    In (my) translation into English the lyrics are roughly:

    On lingon-red tussocks and on bewildering sand
    Where pine forest is soughing, susilull and susilo
    There you can see them one by one and sometimes two by two
    On lingon-red tussocks come dancing tip-a-toe.

    Refrain:
    That’s the girls in Småland, that’s the girls from the sand.
    That’s the girls like poppy, like lily, like peony.
    Yes, that’s the girls in Småland, susilull and susilo
    Who go shepherding and warbling on bewildering sand.

    And enter you the roads, you wandering young man,
    if you go out in the world searching for a friend,
    And if you ask and wonder, susilull and susilo
    Where may in all the world the best of all girls live.

    Refrain:
    That’s the girls in Småland…

  188. What a great comment — I’m glad JC brought the thread back to life! I love both the song and the word lingonplockare.

  189. I heard that in Nordic mythology the berry god Lingon was murdered by his treacherous half-brother Smultron, lord of the strewenberries, in a dispute about the original walls of Gothenburg.

    But mostly I satisfy my lingonberry needs at IKEA, like everyone else deprived of access to Zweden.

  190. Stefan Holm says:

    Glad to hear you liked the song, Hat. Here it is with the lyrics in Swedish (from the Skansen open-air museum in Stockholm, July 2008 – and with verse #3, which I didn’t care to translate):
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3s5lV1yxNFA

  191. Lingonberries doesn’t grow wild in America’s West, alas. I tried planting them under the backyard pines – they like acidic soils – but hot, dry summers of the local high desert did them in. Then we finally found a wild berry replacement high in the Uinta Mountains! For the next couple years, I sincerely believed that I discovered a new species of Vaccinium, got in touch with the pros who were just as excited, but couldn’t get into the high country just shy of treeline in time to document its spring flowers / prep a herbarium specimen. Finally found the flowers and an embarrassing realization that my plant wasn’t in the Vaccinium genus at all!
    It was Gaultheria humifusa, a mountain bog plant somewhat similar to wintergreen.
    Since every edible wild berry ought to have a good Russian name, I christened it горная зимолюбка :) There is also another red-berry Vaccinium species locally, but it has an unmistakable blueberry flavor. Grouseberry so in Russian it would have to be тетеревика.

  192. PS: there is a bemusing etymological tidbit about Gaultheria: the genus name commemorates a Canadian botanist, Jean-François Gaultier who was sometimes misspelled in documents as Gautier, Gauthier, or Gaulthier, but never as Gaulther

  193. Stefan Holm says:

    If there is a competitor to the lingon among the Swedes it is the åkerbär (simply ‘field berry’), Rubus arcticus. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rubus_arcticus My Swedish-Russian Dictionary (from 1962) gives the Russian translation костяника арктическая (‘arctic bromberry’). It is however very rare and has resisted every repated attempt to domesticate (so you are not alone, Dmitry, with your lingonberries). In Sweden we (outside Norrland) never find them available (French chefs pay anything to get them) other then in a very delicious liqeur made by the Finns and sold under the beautiful name of Mesimarja, which I believe means “Nectar berry”.

  194. Never heard of “bromberry” before. Russian name means pit-berry and these little clustered berries have outsize pits indeed – and very little tart red flesh around them. It isn’t rare in Russia – it’s just nearly impossible to pick more than a handful of them, as the cluster berries are quite small and each plant usually has just one of them. It’s for the kids to eat off the plants, but hardly ever to make any preserves.

    Here in the Rockies, we have a different strange Rubus edible, Rubus parviflorum (which actually has large white flowers – what might be the story about its misleading name, I wonder?). It’s called thimbleberry which yields faux Russian наперстника :)

  195. David Marjanović says:

    but never as Gaulther

    Was he reverse-engineered to Fake Latin?

  196. Was he reverse-engineered to Fake Latin?

    Or simply mispronounced / misremebered (?) by Kalm, a Finnish-Swedish botanist and pastor who named the genus during his visit to a Swedish enclave in New Jersey, on an assignment from Linnaeus himself to bring back useful plant species for introduction to Finland (such as American hardy red mulberry, which, they hoped, could turn Finland into a silk-producing country!). In turn Linnaeus bestowed Kalm’s name on Kalmia, another Ericaceae species which grows right next to Gaultheria along Uinta’s mountain lakes, and which totally stumped me during one of the first plant-id springtime trips there :)

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