Norwegian or… what?

Saturday, May 31st, 2003 | Pete Stuff

My mom’s side of the family is fairly fresh over from Norway (i.e. her grandma’s native language was norwiegan) and they ended up settling where all good Norwiegans do… Minnesota… But the strange part, which i can’t figure out, is they seem to have an arsenal of strange quirkey phrases.

For example, when I was a kid and would walk in and ask her a question which I could have eaisly answered just by looking she’d say “What do ya think I’m doin’ – milkin a duck?”…. Or, after a long day of walking around my grandma would say “I gotta sit down.. My dogs are barkin”….. Or when I’d be standing in the way when mom was walking through with something heavy she’d say “One side or a leg off” (meaning get out of the way)..

And then there was the well known phrase of exasperation – “Uff Da”…

So I know that ‘Uff da’ is Norwegian – that one is well known.. But where the hell did they get the other ones… Were they translated from norwegian? Did they pick ’em up somewhere else? They don’t sound very norwegian to me and even sound a little harsh.. But they really just make me chuckle.. Milking a duck? Who DOES that? :):)

2 Comments to Norwegian or… what?

June 1, 2003

I’ve been thinking about these for a while, trying to place them…I don’t remember anyone on my Norwegian side saying things like this, but my Russian Jewish grandmother had a few. Her answer for the obvious “Whatcha doing?” question would sometimes be, “I’m pickling your sister” or “Just canning a few kittens”. If something were particularly stupid she’d say, “That’s as useful as tits on a duck”, which kind of ties in with the whole milking thing.

I think it’s probably a generational thing – like, back when they were younger they didn’t have phrases like “short bus” and “dumb ass” so they had to get creative.

Pete Steinauer
June 1, 2003

Oh my GOD!!!! Pickling your Sister!!! That is too fucking funny to take… Not only are all of these phrases really odd – but some of ’em are really twisted and dark.. Ya think they even thought about ’em?….