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"Det er verken fugl eller fisk."

Translation:It is neither fish nor fowl.

June 12, 2015

32 Comments


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

For the non-native English speakers who didn't know the idiom, it means: " Not any recognizable thing. Not one or the other, not something fitting any category under discussion" According to idioms.thefreedictionary.com


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

I've spoken English as my first language my whole life and I've never heard of this idiom.


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

Seriously, you've never come across "neither fish nor fowl nor good red herring"? I suppose that makes me older than you but it simply means neither one thing nor another, ie cannot be categorised. The red herring is included for emphasis.


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

I think it's the first thing I heard after being born.


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

It seems backwards to translate "fugl eller fisk" as "fish or fowl." I know the expression in English has "fish" first, but shouldn't the literal translation of this sentence be "It is neither fowl nor fish."


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

When you learn idioms you're supposed to learn to say them correctly in the other language, not literally (if this was to be translated literally, "fugl" would not be translated to "fowl").


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/kokiri85

It accepts a more literal translation, too. I put "that is neither bird nor fish" and it took it. Anyway I'm glad they show the English idiom; it only just made me realize that fugl cognates with fowl. Remembering that word just became about a million times easier \o/


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

The question remains: Is this also an idiomatic expression in Norwegian?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Deliciae
Mod
  • 488

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

True, but how are we supposed to know it is an idiom, if we ever seen it before?


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

You are not, but you have learned something new.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MarkBennett6

*have never seen ;)


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

In German it's "weder Fisch noch Fleisch" - "neither fish nor meat".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Deborah774506

So funny: in switzerland (swiss german) we say "weder fisch no vogu" - "neither fish nor bird"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Amix73

So true, Norwegian is rather a mix of "Swiss-German" and English than German and English. So it is quite easy to learn for English and/or German speaking people. Probably "Swiss-German" and Norwegian underwent similar vovel-shifts ;-)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Margreet51983

In Dutch it is " het is vlees noch vis". Det er verken kjøtt eller fisk.


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

"Het is vlees noch vis" and similarly: "Het is hom noch kuit", are expressions often used when a (policy-) decision does not reflect a clearcut choise for one-or-the-other solution to the problem and in fact requires a follow-up. I have the feeling this is not the same for the Norwegian phrase though.


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

I had translated this as "there are neither birds nor fish", since "det er" can also mean "there is/are" and, unless I'm mistaken, "fugl" and "fisk" without any articles could also be interpreted as indefinite plurals. Am I completely wrong here? :D


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

For fish you are correct, but for fugl the plural is fugler. I translated as "There is neither fish nor fowl" and it was wrong, so I reported it, because it should be accepted.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/meta-vex

I believe that would be "det finnes" instead of "det er", though I could be mistaken.


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

Are "verken" and "hverken" completely interchangeable or are there some differences in meaning? Perhaps it's a development to ommit the unhearable h, i could imagine.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Deliciae
Mod
  • 488

They're completely interchangeable, and yes, removing the 'h' is an attempt at making the spelling more phonetic.


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

Everyone figured it was an idiom, and here I thought it was referencing the childrens game "tampen brenner"...


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/GeoffreyCa301149

Wait, fugl, fowl, I get that word now!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ej3kVpUJ

The literal translation should still be accepted, even if a better translation is proposed, which is still not the case as I'm writing this. It hasn't been fun, typing out correct literal translations on a cell phone keyboard twice only to start all over again.


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

Not applicable sentence for study, Duolingo. If you don't know the idiom it should also accept the literal translation.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/KevinMiche16

This expression is neither fowl nor fish.


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

I've never heard that in my life. This is what pops up when I search your version in google:

https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/neither_fish_nor_fowl

http://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/neither+fish+nor+fowl

http://www.dictionary.com/browse/neither--fish--nor--fowl

http://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/be-neither-fish-nor-fowl

http://www.yourdictionary.com/neither-fish-nor-fowl

Upon searching it with quotes, it seems it does exist, but it's extraordinarily rare in modern English (but does occasionally appear in older material).


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

Neither fish nor fowl. I've not heard it the other way around. It's not something I would expect a young British person to come out with, but is certainly in the vocabulary of older people.


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

Boy does this discussion make me feel old :)


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

I feel old, too. I'm quite familiar with this expression. But I am more likely to say: It's neither here nor there.

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