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https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jersebas

Bjørnetjeneste (an auto-antonym)

I encountered this thread where Deliciae wrote a serious post about us users apparently reporting incorrect answers (knowingly) as answers which should be correct, which is not helping anybody, and is only resulting in loads of work for our great course contributors and moderators. Which is a shame because I'd rather have them be able to spend their time making this course even better than it is already, answering our endless stream of well-meant questions, and in the process teach us yet even more words... like "bjørnetjeneste"... Tusen takk Linn =)

I didn't want to "disturb" the thread mentioned above with images and discussions about fables, and thought more people might find it interesting than would encounter that thread on their own, so here it is =)

A bjørnetjeneste is an act carried out with the intention of benefiting another person or persons, but which, in reality, turns out to be harmful to the intended beneficiar(-ies). The word originates from a story about a bear who wants to help it's sleeping owner by scaring away a fly from the owner's nose with a rock, which obviously doesn't end well for the owner =)

Bjørnetjeneste er en velment tjeneste som får negative konsekvenser for mottakeren. Uttrykket stammer ifølge Falk og Torps Etymologisk ordbog over det norske og danske sprog (1903) fra den franske dikteren Jean de La Fontaines fabel om bjørnen og gartneren, L'Ours et l'Amateur des jardins. Denne ble utgitt i 1678 og forteller om en tam bjørn som forsøker å slå i hjel en flue på sin sovende eiers ansikt med en stein, men dreper ham med slaget.

Not only is this an interesting word with an interesting background, it is also an auto-antonym! A what I hear you think =) An auto-antonym apparently is a word with multiple meanings of which one is the reverse of another. (Mainly) younger Norwegians (and other Scandinavians where the word is also used) not familiar with the story appear to use the word also with the meaning of big/important favour (thus without the smashing-in-of-the-face-part).

Source/more info:

If hope you guys enjoyed this word and story as much as I did, and will be mindful in the future when reporting errors =) Happy learning!

February 9, 2018

8 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Deliciae
Mod
  • 381

Even when I'm too grumpy to produce helpful content, it somehow results in a good thread.

Great success. \o/

grumpy bear

February 9, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jersebas

LOL =D

February 9, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/garpike

I remember this story from the Swedish version of the word, which was word of the week a few months ago. There is apparently a German version, too.

February 9, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ycUvuSap

"Karhunpalvelus" på finsk betyr den samme tingen.

June 10, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Downwinds_

Takk. :) I've learnt a new word now and a nice fable to go with it. I have admittedly reported a few things that I thought should have been accepted, but they were things where I wrote the phrase in a slightly different way in English, but with the same meaning. At least that's how I saw it on the occasions where I have reported things. I'll make a point to be extra careful from now on, and if I'm not sure whether or not to report, I'll remember bjørnetjeneste and err on the side of not bothering the mods. I don't have a problem with being wrong at all - its how I learn. I'd not know half as much norsk as I do now if I'd ignored the corrections when I got things wrong. But it's just a bit frustrating to be told you're wrong when you only phrased something in a different way, like in one example I think I wrote something in the form 'I've not done x' instead of 'I haven't done x' or something similar to that.

February 11, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Deliciae
Mod
  • 381

Reporting translations you genuinely think are correct is what the report system is for, so don't be afraid to use it for that purpose. We're pretty lenient when it comes to rephrasing sentences (within reason!) so that's fine to report.

My post was aimed at people reporting sentences they know contain typos, because they feel they should be given a pass. That's just an exercise in futility, and a time sink for all parties involved.

February 11, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/m.g.doyle

"a word with multiple meanings of which one is the reverse of another" Like "literally" now in (at least American English):
"My head literally exploded."

February 13, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Deliciae
Mod
  • 381

There was literally another thread on this a few days ago: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/26253332

February 13, 2018
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