Words and their Meaning




What's in a name? that which we call a rose

By any other name would smell as sweet;

So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call'd,

Retain that dear perfection which he owes

Without that title. Romeo, doff thy name,

And for that name which is no part of thee

Take all myself.


I take thee at thy word:

Call me but love, and I'll be new baptized;

Henceforth I never will be Romeo.



Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet,  Act 2, Scene 2

The semiotic triangle


'a number of pieces of paper, fastened together and fixed inside a cover'





form: b-o-o-k




Sense relations

Synonymy: different form, same meaning

dark, unlit, black, dim

Antonymy: different form, opposite meanings

dark, light

Polysemy: same form, different (but related) meanings

flat tyre (punctured)

flat road (level)

flat beer (stale)

Homonymy: same pronunciation or spelling, different (unrelated) meanings

lie = tell a lie

lie = be in a horizontal position

sea/see, which/wich

Hyponymy: words are hierarchically related to a superordinate term

BUILDING: house, barn, palace, castle, tower, cabin

More on synonymy

·        Same sense – different style level

angry                           pissed off, mad, furious, enraged, irate, wrathful

thing                            thingy, object, artifact, item


The food is marvellous.

The cuisine is deserving of the highest praise.


My heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains

My sense, as though of hemlock I had drunk,

Or emptied some dull opiate to the drains

One minute past, and Lethe-wards had sunk  (John Keats: 'Ode to a Nightingale')


I feel great grief and weariness, as though I had just drunk poison or a drug, and were drifting into the sleep of death.


I'm sad and tired, as if I was pissed or stoned or something and half dead.


·        Same sense – different collocational patterns

(Collocation = commonly occurring combination of words)

pretty                           woman, girl, things

attractive                      female, woman, lady, male, women

lovely                           day, girl, man, place, house

beautiful                       woman, women, people, world, girl, day, things, place

handsome                    man, male, face, guy, men, woman


big                               companies, business, money, bang, deal, man

bigger                          share, role, fish, things, problem, part

great                            deal, time, man, success, world, life, work

greater                         risk, part, freedom, number, degree, need, power, control

large                            number, scale, numbers, part, amounts, people, companies, quantities, areas, room

larger                           part, scale, number, companies, numbers


terribly                         important, wrong, sorry, difficult, upset, good, sad, hard, disappointed

very                             much, good, well, difficult, little, important, different, hard, few

really                            good, well, much

quite                            well, different, few, good, sure, right

rather                           like, less, different, good

exceptionally                well, good, high, strong, low, large, difficult, talented, beautiful, heavy, bright

particularly                   good, important, interested, difficult, concerned, strong, high

especially                     important, hard


·        Same sense – different grammatical properties



before noun or after copular verb.

exclusively after copula, and usually followed by that-clause or to-clause.

happy + people, ending, life, family

be happy, make happy, keep happy, feel happy

I'm glad to see you

I'm glad that you're here at last.


Dictionary information


dictionary   n., pl. -aries.

1.      a. a reference book that consists of an alphabetical list of words with their meanings and parts of speech, and often a guide to accepted pronunciation and syllabification, irregular inflections of words, derived words of different parts of speech, and etymologies. b. a similar reference book giving equivalent words in two or more languages. Such dictionaries often consist of two or more parts, in each of which the alphabetical list is given in a different language: a German-English dictionary. c. (as modifier): a dictionary definition. See also glossary, lexicon, thesaurus.

2.      a reference book listing words or terms of a particular subject or activity, giving information about their meanings and other attributes: a dictionary of gardening.

3.      a collection of information or examples with the entries alphabetically arranged: a dictionary of quotations.[C16: from Medieval Latin dictionarium collection of words, from Late Latin dictio word; see DICTION] (Collins English Dictionary)


news (nju:z)  n. (functioning as sing.)

1.      current events; important or interesting recent happenings.

2.      information about such events, as in the mass media.

3.      a. the. a presentation, such as a radio broadcast, of information of this type: the news is at six. b. (in combination): a newscaster.

4.      interesting or important information not previously known or realized: it's news to me.

5.      a person, fashion, etc., widely reported in the mass media: she is no longer news in the film world.[C15: from Middle English newes, plural of newe new (adj) on model of Old French noveles or Medieval Latin nova new things] (Collins English Dictionary)


furthermore / adv, fml, also; in addition to what has been said: The house is too small for a family of four, and furthermore it is in a bad location. (Longman English Dictionary)


furthermore  Furthermore is used to introduce a piece of information or opinion that adds to or supports the previous one; a formal word. Furthermore, they claim that any such interference is completely ineffective. (Collins Cobuild Dictionary)


ADV with cl

= moreover


ensure  ensures, ensuring, ensured. To ensure something, or to ensure that something happens, means to make certain that it happens; a formal word. Britain’s negotiators had ensured that the treaty which resulted was a significant change in direction… Ensure that it is written into your contract… South Africa’s parliament has decided to abolish the President’s Council, which ensures the supremacy of the National Party. (Collins Cobuild Dictionary)



V + that

V + n


English vs. Norwegian vocabulary


Examples of false friends: aktuell/actual, eventuell/eventual


Some dictionaries:

Corpus data:


Cappelen: of current/topical interest; of immediate importance; relevant, topical

Kunnskapsforlagets blå: topical, current; of current interest

relevant, Ø, current, in question, contemporary, present.

NB: 'topical' occurs only once, as a translation of 'dagsaktuell'

det aktuelle tidsrom: that period


Cappelens blå: possible; (if) any

Kunnskapsforlagets blå: possible, any, prospective

Ø, possible, any, potential



Kunnskapsforlagets blå: possibly, if possible, perhaps, if necessary, if desired

Cappelens blå: possibly; if desired; if necessary; perhaps

Ø, possibly, where/when appropriate, as the case may be,

paraphrase with modal aux.




Words with no direct Norwegian equivalent


mind: tanker, sinn, sjel

of mind – psykisk

in her mind – i hennes indre

make up one's mind – bestemme seg, ta en beslutning

have something in mind – ha noe i tankene, tenke seg noe

an open mind – et åpent sinn

change one's mind – ombestemme seg, forandre mening

state of mind – sinnstilstand

bear something in mind – huske (på) noe

take one's mind off something – få tankene bort fra noe

have a mind to do something – være fristet til å gjøre noe

be of the same mind – være av samme mening


One Norwegian word à two or more English words


MENING à meaning, opinion, mind, intention


skifte mening – change one’e mind

danne seg en mening – form an opinion

personlig mening – personal opinion

livets mening – the meaning of life

etter noens mening – according to somebody

den alminnelige mening – general opinion


HISTORIE à story, history

hun har sin historie – story

en historie å fortelle – a story to tell

fortelle en historie – tell a story

en underlig/hyggelig historie – a strange/nice story

på vei til å bli historie – on its way to becoming history

en historie om ... – a story about

godnatthistorie – bedtime story

historie og geografi – history and geography

filosofiens historie – the history of philosophy


ØKONOMISK à economic, financial

økonomisk vekst – economic growth

økonomisk støtte – economic support

økonomisk tap – financial loss

økonomisk uavhengihet – economic independence

økonomisk sosialhjelp – financial support



familiens økonomi – finances at home

den japanske øknomi – Japanese economy



problemer knyttet til miljø – problems related to the environment

miljøspørsmål – environmental issue

Miljøverndepartementet – the Ministry for the Environment

miljøteknologi – environmental technology

forslag fra mange miljøer – nominations from a number of professional circles

vikingetidens miljø – Viking society

miljøet rundt disse skutene – the atmosphere around these ships

et fremmedarted miljø – a foreign milieu

et miljø hvor skapende arbeid kan utføres – an atmosphere in which creative work can be carried out

…frå heile sin bakgrunn og miljø var Selmer Høysand djupt og varig fascinert av det faktiske.

… his entire background and milieu, gave Selmer Høysand a deep and constant fascination with facts. < KFL >

Vi må se mennesket i forhold til miljøet

We must see individuals in relation to their surroundings … < AOH>


Examples of untranslatable, culture-specific words

Norwegian à English

hyttepåske, bløtkake, 17/18. mai, (vinmono)polet, utepils, seter, blåføre, kontantstøtte


Englishà Norwegian

Boxing Day, Bed & Breakfast, wheelclamp, building society, clotted cream, poll tax, babyshower, prom, Thanksgiving


Other examples of cultural differences? (Dictionary data)

overgå: outdo, outshine, outstrip, surpass

overdådig: grandiose, lavish, sumptuous

overlegen: high-handed, nonchalant, patronizing, snooty, stand-offish, superior

overstrømmende: ebullient, effusive, exuberant, gushing

overvinne: conquer, defeat, fight down, master, overcome, surmount



– over- or under-use of words/phrases because of influence from the source language. Does the same thing happen in second language production?


Example: words for 'person'







human being













What dictionaries say:

Lingua: menneske et person; (som fenomen, mots.: dyr) human being

Cappelens blå: menneske sb man, person; human being

Kunnskapsforlagets blå: menneske man, human (being); person


Attempt at covering up unpleasant facts by means of more pleasant labels

e.g.      die – decease – pass away

            toilet – bathroom – restroom


A related phenomenon: coining new names to replace derogatory ones; i.e. to avoid negative connotations

e.g. colored people – Negroes – blacks – Afro-Americans – African Americans – people of color

deformity – handicap – disability


From James Finn Garner, Politically correct bedtime stories (about the book)

"Snow White"

Once there was a young princess who was not at all unpleasant to look at and had a temperament that many found to be more pleasant than most other people's. Her nickname was Snow White, indicative of the discriminatory notions of associating pleasant or attractive qualities with light, and unpleasant or unattractive qualities with darkness. Thus, at an early age, Snow White was an unwitting if fortunate target for this type of colorist thinking.

            When Snow White was quite young, her mother was suddenly stricken ill, grew more advanced in non-health, and finally was rendered nonviable. Her father, the king, grieved for what can be considered a healthy period of time, then asked another woman to be his queen. Snow White did her best to please her new mother-of-step, but a cold distance remained between them.

            The queen's prized possession was a magic mirror that would answer truthfully any question asked it. Now, years of social conditioning in a male hierarchical dictatorship had left the queen very insecure about her own self-worth. Physical beauty was the one standard she cared about now, and she defined herself solely in regard to her personal appearance.

©  HH
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