June 6, 2015



I hate to break everybody's hearts, but the correct translation for the word 'Jo' and indeed the very Germanic 'doch' does actually exist in english. It is in fact the well known word 'nyeeaaaaggh', which is a combination of the words 'yes' , 'no' and the sound of a horse being unsettled. It can only be pronounced with a simultaneous nasal whining and deep growling, so it is no wonder it is very hard for non native speakers to adopt ;)


I feel like it's similar to where I would say 'nah' in English. That might be the same sound you're describing, but since I'm from Chicago everything is nasally, haha. I might be misunderstanding how 'jo' is used though.


Well, I wrote what I said in jest, but that was pretty much what I was getting at.

'Doch' I managed to grasp pretty easily when I was starting out with German. I'm not into Norwegian as much but 'Jo' seems even trickier to me, it is two letters shorter but seems to encapsulate something much more complex...

I like untranslatable words because they bring everything to a point where you stop being able to clearly grasp how a word and its meaning are connected... for example, the closest translation you can get to the German word 'doch' which fits most use cases is something like 'on the contrary'. It sounds quite quaint but it fits nearly exactly, which seems such a useful point of phrase that it makes you wonder why we don't have an equivalent word for a brief contradictory statement in English. It isn't as if we couldn't find a use for such a contraction of that phrase, we just haven't got one -- while at the same time we actually do have plenty of other contractions for statements such as 'do not' and 'is not' 'could not' and 'have not' as if we are obsessed with the concept of not being able to do a particular thing. Are those examples actually words? Not as we define them, they are contractions, but they sure sound like words, they are effectively shortcuts that pack more meaning into less syllables, we are well on board with that idea, though we have no word that is equivalent in usefulness to the word 'doch'

It isn't as easy as you'd think. Every language lives and breathes on quirks like this. It isn't like English is barren of these things, English can make up three words a day that have no equivalent in other languages. Try and find a single word that encapsulates the feeling of the word 'groovy' in any other language. That's at least 50 years old and yet there isn't really anything else that fits. I was reading the other day on a language group, someone asked how to translate the word 'lifehack' in to Arabic, and it seemed no one could offer anything other than a circumlocution like 'a trick which makes life easier'

There always seems to be this fascinating thing about language where you can often say much more than you could have with more words, using much less.

Also I am drunk so I might not make sense.


Similarly untranslatable (at least to me) is "smooth"...


It's easily explained tho: graceful (with sarcastic intent)


POUAHAHA "Also I'm drunk" You killed me right their man

But yeah I agree with you, it's like "having fun" in French, it's "avoir du plaisir" but it doesn't express the exact same feeling. So here in Quebec, even if it's a French provence, we still say "C'est le fun" (it's -the- fun) instead of "C'est plaisant"


Is this the same as the german "doch"?


When countering a negative statement it works in the same way as 'doch':

Statement: "Du snakker ikke norsk." - "You do not speak Norwegian."
Response: "Jo, det gjør jeg." - "Yes (/On the contrary), I do."

I see that 'doch' has some other functions that 'jo' does not have, and vice versa, but since I don't speak any German I won't get into the details of that.


Også "ikke sant," ja?


I believe "ikke sant" by itself is more likely to be interpereted "Jeg vet, ikke sant? (I know, right?)" than "not true". If, however, you say "Det er ikke sant.", it can only be interpereted in one way.


it is. (referring to "doch")


man you saved me from a lot of frustration now i get the point! danke


according to my norwegian teacher (raised in norway, but living since ages in switzerland) that is correct


French has "si" as a response to negative. It took me forever to grasp the idea!!!


THANK YOU! I totally forgot about it. Now it might be easier for me to understand this. (maybe). (hopefully...)


Oh hahahaha in Quebec French, we do not use that... Well, I've never seen a French from France using "si" to say no We use "si" like "if" : "s'il pleut, je n'irai pas dehors" -> "if it's raining, I won't go out"


it is used as an affirmative answer to a negative question


I just LOVE how it takes only two letters in Norwegian to express something that takes three words in English.


Glad we have the same word in the Lebanese Arabic dialect! We say "mbala" to negative questions when they're not true. When I try to explain it to native English speakers they'd get very confused!


'Jawel' in Dutch


'De' in Hungarian


Akkurátus megjegyzés.


The audio is a little funky on this one... it sounds very much like the Norwegian word for scythe (ljå)... ;)


It should sound like English you, no?


Or something very close to "you", yes


Should au contraire be accepted, even if it's technically in French it's common enough in English


Can someone explain me when one uses "jo" as "the"?


In correlative structures like:

"The more the merrier"
"The bigger they are, the harder they fall."
"The less you know, the more you think you know."


"Yeah" isn't accepted?


It should be now.


Wait why would 'yeah' be an acceptable translation?


Because there's no single word 'jo' can translate to, as there's no equivalent in English. 'yes' is also an accepted translation, because the negation of 'jo' could be implied by the speaker/context. It's not the best translation, but it's okayish :)


Think of it like this : person 1 "that's not an acceptable answer.." person 2 "yeah it is". The problem with the translation is that we use yeah in both contexts, not exclusively as contradiction


My Norwegian friend says this word is pronounced like [juu]


I've also heard it pronounced that way and as in the AmEng pronunciation of "you". Just saying.. 19Jun17


The audio here is incorrect, but so is 'you'.

As Deliciae states below

Unfortunately, they're both incorrect.

The correct version is with a standard Norwegian "o" sound. Not a "u" sound as in "you", nor an "å" sound as in the audio presented here.


Norwegian has a word I miss so much in English. It's officially my favourite language now.


In English, we often will start response with "Actually" or the like. Best we have to compare.


Can't "jo" also be used within a sentence to add emphasis? f.eks, "Jeg jo liker kaffe" or "I certainly like coffee" or "Of course I like coffee"?


Yes, but it would be "Jeg liker jo kaffe" :)


Im wondering if thats in response to someone claiming the opposite. "Danny doesn't like coffee/Dani liker ikke kaffe"... "i certainly do!/jeg jo liker det!"


It would be "Jo, det liker jeg" or "Jeg liker jo det".


A better translation for "Of course I like coffee!" would be "Selvfølgelig liker jeg kaffe!".


In Pimsuleur Norwegian, it is pronounced "you." Which way is correct?


Unfortunately, they're both incorrect.

The correct version is with a standard Norwegian "o" sound. Not a "u" sound as in "you", nor an "å" sound as in the audio presented here.


This word always sort of confuses me. When exactly are you supposed to use it, and what does it mean? I see here it says it is in response to a negative question, but does it mean you are agreeing with the person, or you're saying "on the contrary" like another translation offered?


If I ask, "Liker du ikke kaffe?" (Don't you like coffee?) and you reply "Jo," that means that you do, in fact, like coffee. (Contrary to what I had thought.)

Does that make sense?


I'm sure what you say is right, because I don't speak Norwegian. But I think you need to change the English sentence because if you ask "don't you like coffee?" it's the same as saying "you like coffee, right?". But in your case you should use the sentence "You don't like coffee, do you?" Only then it's meant in the negative way.


Nope. The problem is that in English, if one asks "Do you not like coffee?" it is very hard to know how to answer. What do yes and no mean in this case? So the response "Jo" is a definite "actually I do like coffee" but in one word. Get it?


Ok I'm confused now. I typed in "yes, but" and was told my answer is wrong and should be "yes, indeed." Indeed emphasizes the yes, like "yes, you are indeed correct." I thought "jo" was meant for when you partially agree with a statement? Like "I see your point, but i think..." Am I misunderstanding or is Duo wrong with "yes, indeed?"


I thought it could translate to 'indeed', but apparently not?


Indeed is rather used to agree with what was just said, in my opinion.


I couldn't understand this. Is it when you want to say no but you have to say yes or is it when you say yes to a negative question?


Jo = 'si' in French


It makes me think of a ficitif situation (that strangely helps me to graps the sens) Like 2 guys in a park First guy :"I bet you cant do this skateboard trick" Second guy :"yoooooo man I sure can" ("Yoooo" is said instead of "in the contrary")


I like how it accepts "On the contrary" but not "actually"


In (American) English: "Yeah-huh" has the same meaning, but usage is strictly informal.


Isn't Jo also more of a childish way of saying yes? I've heard Norwegians go back and forth with "Na hei" (not sure how it is written, but that's kinda how it sounds) and "Jo"


No, jo is used as a positive response to a negative. So in this case it's grammatical and not really childish - "You were there, right?" "No" "You were too! I saw you." "Du var der, ikke sant?" "Nei" "Jo! Jeg så deg."


In Bavarian dialect we have 'jo' in the same meaning as in Norvegian. It is funny how old languages are similar, and how complicated to interprete in correct German

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