I tried, and got away with, "my trousers used to not fit," since I knew the positive version was fine English. (I considered "my trousers used not to fit," but didn't dare.) And I meant that one particular pair was three sizes too large but luckily I grew into it. If I had meant that in my thirties all or most of my trousers wouldn't zip I might have said "they tended not to fit."
The only suggested translations that are correct are the one provided by Duolingo and "My pants did not use to fit", which was provided by grydolva.
I am a Norwegian who has native English speaker fluency as a result of having gown up contemporaneously speaking both languages .
My pants were not used to fit = Buksene mine var ikke vant med å passe. (Ie they didn't fit before and didn't expect to either. The pants did not expect it!!)
My pants did not use to fit = Buksene mine pleide ikke passe (Buksene mine brukte ikke å passe). My pants did not usually fit.
All jeans are pants, but not all pants are jeans - even in Texas, where 2/3 of the pants you see in a day are denim jeans (the other 1/3 are either slacks on suits, or shorts), and yet I've never once in my life heard of any other sort of pants being referred to as jeans. This reply is spot-on. I appreciate the history lesson, too, Moongrovenly!
A poll by ShopSmart, from the publisher of Consumer Reports, revealed that 25% of American women own 10 or more pairs of jeans. The average American woman owns seven pairs of jeans. However, most women only wear four pairs out of their jeans collection on a regular basis. (Jan 22, 2015)
Below is an Extract from: How jeans conquered the world By Stephanie Hegarty BBC World Service (28 February 2012)
It's difficult to find a garment as widely embraced, worn and loved the world over as jeans. The classic symbol of the American West is now a staple in wardrobes around the world. But why? Cowboys may wear them but so do supermodels, farmers, presidents and housewives. Ask any group of people why they wear jeans and you will get a range of answers. For some they're comfortable, durable and easy - for others they're sexy and cool. Jeans mean different things to different people. Does this explain their wide appeal?
Those sources are speaking specifically of jeans, pants/trousers made out of denim. I am quite certain they are not referring to trousers of all materials.
I respect all ages and am adamantly opposed to "ageism", whether in work, language, or other aspects of life. Like everyone I'm rolling toward old age at full speed. I recognize that the practice of referring to all trousers as jeans was, for a time, common in America (I can't speak for other countries). But I believe it's easy to defend the claim that the commonality of that practice is very long gone now.
You may be right in respect to the area in which you live. In Western Canada "jeans" is a common term. I have occasionally heard "pants" used here in phrases such as, "my suit pants". Significantly, the word is most commonly used in respect to under garments. I have heard "trousers" used in other parts of the world but almost never here.
I think an important component of the extracts I duplicated above is: "Jeans mean different things to different people."
Our language experiences are seemingly very different. I appreciate your thoughts but doubt very much the veracity of your claim "[that] it's easy to defend the claim that the commonality of [using the term jeans] is very long gone now."
Seems likely that your experience is accurate for at least western Canada and mine is accurate for at least the western U.S.
To clarify, we don't say "trousers" much here unless we're trying to sound dated, funny, or UK-ish. But in international forums like this I sometimes use it to be clear about referring to the common external garment and not underclothes. Anyway, the term for this item for most Americans, I can assure you, is "pants", unless we wish to be specific about the type of pants, in which case you might see jeans, khakis, chinos, dress slacks (though the latter two are very dated now too), or several other specific terms.
Regarding the claim that the use of jeans generically to mean all pants/trousers is long gone, I should have made clear that I only meant within the U.S.
Good observations. Sometimes I think about how the Bokmål I am learning differs greatly in some ways from what my ancestors spoke on farms around the Sognfjord, and in Voss, and in farming areas near Skånevik in southern Hordaland. I am excited to make the effort to move from reading and writing to speaking, and then to acquire some dialect flexibility.
In 1887 the Irish playwright and wit Oscar Wilde published a short story called “The Canterville Ghost”. While describing one of the main characters, the narrator included a comical remark contrasting England and America,
"Indeed, in many respects, she was quite English, and was an excellent example of the fact that we have really everything in common with America nowadays, except, of course, language."
A similar remark might be made in regard to Canada and the USA. But, of great significance to individuals attempting to acquire Norwegian, the differences in language use within Norway is extreme by comparison.
About 20 years ago I had a meeting in Bergen with five senior level bankers. The dialect used by one of them (who said he grew up about 25 km outside the City) was so different that I had to have one of his colleagues translate for me. (One of my professors was from Bergen so I had become quite familiar with the local dialect.)
As you know, dialects are in some cases so dissimilar as to be unintelligible to those people who are unfamiliar with them. I haven't spent much time in the area occupied by your forefathers but remember having a difficult time with the local dialects so I'll wish you good luck.
If there is an online or other course that will give you exposure to the local dialects before you visit Norway I suggest you enroll. I don't think the DL computer generated voice will give you much of a head start with verbal comprehension.