Norwegian: du er og trener

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dukaine

Senior Member
English - American
Forøvrig er også det å følge med på mobilen eller tv’en, og/eller lese når du er og trener noe av det dummeste du gjør…

I was wondering about why the "og" is there. Am I right in thinking that this is equivalent to the English present progressive, emphasizing being in the act?

Thanks!
 
  • myšlenka

    Senior Member
    Norwegian
    There are a few ways of expressing progressive meaning in Norwegian, but none of them are purely progressive. That is, they always come with additional semantic content or they are somehow restricted. The construction you are referring to is no exception. It does express progressive meaning but there is an added element of distance somehow. For instance, if someone enters a room where you are reading, the following conversation would be very odd:

    A: Hva gør du?
    B: Jeg er og leser.

    On the other hand, if A and B are in different locations and are talking with each other on the phone, the above conversation is fine because then A is not in the same location as B. The sentence you quoted is a general statement and the fact that it does not pick out an individual event in space and time creates enough distance for this sentence to be felicitous even: i) on a sign in the gym ii) or when your personal trainer shows you around in the gym. As for the restrictions, there is a strong preference for animate subjects. Thus, sentences like snøen er og smelter sound bad. However, turning it into a passive sentence improves it a lot given the right context, probably because an animate subject (or rather agent) is conceptually possible in that case. The construction also works to some extent with modal verbs but I struggle with combining it with a deontic reading. I am not sure if this applies to the other modals too.

    :confused:a) Deontic: Han må være og trene - he is obliged to be working out (somewhere but not here)???????
    :)b) Epistemic: Han må være og trene - it must be the case that he is working out (somewhere but not here).
     

    winenous

    Senior Member
    English - British
    Before reading @myšlenka's response, I consulted my Norwegian wife on this and she more-or-less agrees. It means you are at that moment, and probably somewhere else, actively exercising - not, for example, that you are in a period of your life where you exercise every day.

    I would just add that I think it is more common to use constructions like "jeg sitter/ligger/står og...". Incidentally I used google on "jeg er og leser" and "jeg er og trener", and got 9 and 22,500 hits respectively. So maybe "er og trener" has become something of a set phrase? It could also of course merely be an indication of the Norwegian preference for physical activity over intellectual pursuits :p

    Edit: I suppose sitting, lying and standing are rarely compatible with exercise, so that too could explain the more common use of "er og trener"
     
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    raumar

    Senior Member
    Norwegian
    I think the difference between "jeg er og" and "jeg ligger/sitter/står og" is that "jeg er og" implies a different location, as myšlenka explained. "Jeg sitter/står/ligger og" doesn't imply that. Almost nobody says "jeg er og leser", but that is because we usually don't go somewhere else - to a specific place - to read a book.

    I believe we can regard "Jeg er og ..." as a sentence where the location is omitted. For example, "Jeg er og handler" means "Jeg er i butikken og handler".

    "Jeg går og ..." can be used in both ways. Usually, it means that you are going to walk somewhere, to do something there. For example, "Jeg går og handler" usually means that you are going to walk to the shop and do some shopping there. But "Jeg går og rusler i hagen" could mean both "I am strolling around in the garden" and "I am going to take a stroll in the garden".
     

    winenous

    Senior Member
    English - British
    Thank you @raumar, but the more I think about it the more puzzled I get. In the various situations where it might be used, I am not sure what "a different location" would mean. Different location from whom?

    I think (and again this is after discussion with my wife), "er og" rather implies "away from home". Or to be more precise "not where expected", where the expected place might for example be a hotel room or the person's office. In that sense, it could be seen as an abbreviation of "er ute og" - not necessarily outdoors at any moment, but out doing stuff.

    (Edited for clarification. My original post is quoted below.)
     
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    Svenke

    Senior Member
    Norwegian
    Thank you @raumar, but the more I think about it the more puzzled I get. In the various situations where it might be used, I am not sure what "a different location" would mean. Different location from whom?

    I think (and again this is after discussion with my wife), "er og" rather implies "away from home". Or to be more precise "not where expected", which might for example be a hotel room or the person's office. In that sense, it could be seen as an abbreviation of "er ute og" - not necessarily outdoors at any moment, but out doing stuff.
    --Exactly: In a place different from where the person could have been expected to be. Often away from home, but if, e.g., you were in a shop, you could say "Hun er og prøver en genser", if she is in a different part of the shop.
     

    Svenke

    Senior Member
    Norwegian
    But it is quite possible to add her, so it doesn't have to be away from the speaker: Hun er her og spør etter deg. She's not normally here.
     

    dukaine

    Senior Member
    English - American
    --Exactly: In a place different from where the person could have been expected to be. Often away from home, but if, e.g., you were in a shop, you could say "Hun er og prøver en genser", if she is in a different part of the shop.
    This applies the most to what I'm reading. The part before the context I gave talked about not just hanging out and reading or watching TV on the gym equipment when someone else could be using it, and clearly the trainer believes that reading and exercising don't mix. So I would assume that he means reading on gym equipment or during a training session is not where a person is expected to be reading?

    Thanks everybody for all the answers, very helpful!
     

    myšlenka

    Senior Member
    Norwegian
    --Exactly: In a place different from where the person could have been expected to be. Often away from home, but if, e.g., you were in a shop, you could say "Hun er og prøver en genser", if she is in a different part of the shop.
    This applies the most to what I'm reading. The part before the context I gave talked about not just hanging out and reading or watching TV on the gym equipment when someone else could be using it, and clearly the trainer believes that reading and exercising don't mix. So I would assume that he means reading on gym equipment or during a training session is not where a person is expected to be reading?

    Thanks everybody for all the answers, very helpful!
    Expectations don't have anything to do with the verbal construction at all. If I say to someone "kona mi er og handler", it does not imply that the other person didn't expect my wife to be shopping or that the person is surprised to learn this. Nor does it imply that my wife was expected to be at home or in any other particular location. All it means is that my wife is doing some shopping in a location in which I'm not.

    Expectations that a gym instructor may have about what members should be be doing in the gym is extra-linguistic. That kind of information can only be inferred from the larger pragmatic context and from the knowledge you have about gym instructors. It is not encoded in the verbal construction per se.
     

    dukaine

    Senior Member
    English - American
    Expectations that a gym instructor may have about what members should be be doing in the gym is extra-linguistic. That kind of information can only be inferred from the larger pragmatic context and from the knowledge you have about gym instructors. It is not encoded in the verbal construction per se.
    He's not really saying it as a gym instructor, but more as a gym-goer himself who is observing behaviors.
     

    winenous

    Senior Member
    English - British
    Expectations don't have anything to do with the verbal construction at all. If I say to someone "kona mi er og handler", it does not imply that the other person didn't expect my wife to be shopping or that the person is surprised to learn this. Nor does it imply that my wife was expected to be at home or in any other particular location. All it means is that my wife is doing some shopping in a location in which I'm not.

    Expectations that a gym instructor may have about what members should be be doing in the gym is extra-linguistic. That kind of information can only be inferred from the larger pragmatic context and from the knowledge you have about gym instructors. It is not encoded in the verbal construction per se.
    I think you are misunderstanding what I meant by "expected location". I did not mean a strong expectation, one perhaps based on recent and specific information, so there would be no great surprise if they were not there. It is rather the "normal" or "default" location, or "place where they usually are at this time of day", or "place where they are staying this week". It's the place they would "go out" from.

    I arrived at my conclusion by trying to consider possible locations for the "er-og-handler" person - for two people talking face to face, or talking at a distance by phone - and using the 1st, 2nd or 3rd person for the "er-og-handler" person.
     

    myšlenka

    Senior Member
    Norwegian
    I think you are misunderstanding what I meant by "expected location". I did not mean a strong expectation, one perhaps based on recent and specific information, so there would be no great surprise if they were not there. It is rather the "normal" or "default" location, or "place where they usually are at this time of day", or "place where they are staying this week". It's the place they would "go out" from.

    I arrived at my conclusion by trying to consider possible locations for the "er-og-handler" person - for two people talking face to face, or talking at a distance by phone - and using the 1st, 2nd or 3rd person for the "er-og-handler" person.
    My point was that any location is in principle possible for the "er-og-handler" person. This location is only context-dependent to the extent that it relies on the location of the interlocutor (or some other person that provides a referent): these locations can't be the same. Thus, it is defined more in terms of where it is not instead of being defined as a semi-fixed "normal" or "default" position.
     

    winenous

    Senior Member
    English - British
    I can imagine very few situations where there is a practical difference between my interpetation and @myšlenka's, but the sentence that kicked off this thread happens to be one of them. So it is unusual, but not one of my own invention.

    @myšlenka seems to be saying that if someone was in a gym, and spoke that sentence, he would be talking about training in any gym apart from the one where he was standing at the time. That sounds like a silly thing to say, but the sentence was actually written, so the idea of "somewhere else" is moot, and I presume @myšlenka would say that "og er" is then just a form of the progressive present.

    My view (after discussion with a native speaker) is that the comment, through the use of "og er", applies to people who have gone out to use a gym. It says nothing about someone sitting on an exercise bike at home and watching TV, and its meaning remains unchanged wherever it is said and/or written.

    I hope that is a fair representation of our differences. If so, at this point I am happy to agree to differ. I also hope the author of the sentence, Cornelis Elander, would appreciate our efforts to analyse one of his proclamations :)
     
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