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"Det er verken fugl eller fisk."

Translation:It is neither fish nor fowl.

June 12, 2015

36 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/FLchick

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


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/TitusLepic

What region is this idiom from? I'm a native English speaker and have never heard it before.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/IanWitham1

It was very common in England and Scotland. It seems to be dying out.


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/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/JoeBot3D

*haven't never done seen =P


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/Geoffrey_Carlton

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


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

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Paola696942

I am amazed that many do not know this expression! In Italy it says: "it is neither meat nor fish", to say that a dish has no flavor, or figuratively if a person or something is not distinguished in anything.


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/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/csnazell

Neither ... nor is a tricky one. It fell out of favour in English teaching circles (UK / Scotland) when I was being taught in the 70s & 80s. It's essentially a contraction of "neither ..., nor is it ...". I don't know if it's back in vogue or this is a US English difference but I have a visceral reaction against it. Much like pluralising 'roof' as 'roofs' (when it should be rooves, like hooves).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ara198204

Really? No one ever told me that and I am still using it. I was taught in the 60s and 70s.

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