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Saturday, July 13, 2024

It had to come: A dictionary of drunkenness

There are at least 330 words in the Norwegian language that describe the state of being drunk. Documentation of this sobering fact has just been released in the form of Norway’s first dictionary of synonyms for drunkenness, Norsk fylleordbok.

A new dictionary of Norwegian terms for drunkenness was just uncorked at bookstores around the country. ILLUSTRATION: Humanist forlag

It’s authored by  Ole Marius Hylland, a culture historian at Telemarksforskning, a Norwegian research institute. If terms like pærings, murings or panserdrita mean little to you, the book may be helpful in finding the appropriate word for a certain level of intoxication.

Chances are that native speakers will feel somewhat dizzy, too, when encountering some of these 330 synonyms or euphemisms that have evolved in the country that’s home to nearly as many brands of the Norwegian fire water known as aquavit. According to publishing firm Human forlag, the book is a mix of language using analysis, linguistic history and etymology (the science of the origin of words).

The result is intended as an homage to linguistic diversity, compiling words that are in everyday use, historic terms that have left the language and novelties that perhaps only the hardest partygoers have heard yet.

According to the author, the number of terms available to talk about a phenomenon indicates how important that phenomenon is to the local culture.

“I’m fond of words, I enjoy collecting things and I enjoy a nice party,” Hylland told newspaper Dagens Naeringsliv‘s weekly magazine D2. “It’s important to take drunkenness seriously, as an important phenomenon in our society, and not just as a problem.”

Asked whether he felt like having a drink while writing, Hylland admitted that writing about terms like silkebrisen (a silky smooth sense of being under the influence) or fin form (good shape) might have kindled his desire for a slurk or two. Meanwhile, there’s no lack of terms that would have the opposite effect. Møst



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