1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Norwegian (Bokmål)
  4. >
  5. I need help with a song full …


I need help with a song full of archaic words

Found this song yesterday, I understand a lot of it based on Swedish and a Norwegian friend tried to help with the rest, but there are things not even he understood. I can'd decipher most of the second verse.

July 2, 2015



I love this song/band!

I should defer to the actual Norwegian speakers here on exact translations, because I could speculate but it's not not exactly one of the dialects I'm familiar with. But I have a couple things to start with if you may not have seen them already:

There is a transcription plus 2 efforts at English translations (one including some notes) at http://lyricstranslate.com/en/sj%C3%A5-attende-look-back.html-1#songtranslation

And then for a bit of another perspective, at http://www.folkways.si.edu/pelle-joner/norwegian-folk-songs/world/music/album/smithsonian you can download the liner notes (free), where you can find part of Sjå attende in the second half of the song they call 'Huldra å 'en Elland', printed in both Norwegian and English - this English translation is a bit looser as far as some of the literal meaning as they have tried to make it rhyme.

And finally, you can hear Folque's version of the song here, so between the two versions there's a better chance of being able to understand all the words - https://www.song365.co/track/folque-huldra-og039n-elland-123876.html - starting after the 3 minute mark is when they begin the portion that includes (I think) all of the lyrics in Gåte's song.


It is quite clearly some form of western/western-inland dialect, but the singer also clearly pronounce the words based on her own dialect (some Trønder dialect).

Some additions to the notes in that first translation:

  • The translation of "på dæg snike", (creep about you) sounds a little weird to me, but also makes sense in a way.

  • "Stute" apparently means hoppe (TIL). So the sentence would be "I will hum, play and jump".

  • "Kjuke" is a type of cheese, a word that is used a lot in Gudbrandsdalen. The word Kjuke as I know it is a fungus that grows on trees (which wouldn't make any sense).

  • "Åse ska tå glae dågå", I would instead write it as: "Åse will on good days".

  • No idea what "kapvis åt deg struke" means. But it could mean "will race towards you", kind-of. From what I gather. I really doubt it has anything to do with ironing, that would be totally out of place.

  • "Kapvis" is totally unknown to me. "Kapp" is usually put into words related to a race of some sort, for example "kappløp" (a race). A synonym for "løpe/springe" (run) is "stryke", so "struke" could easily be a different spelling.

IMO this could mean that the 2 last sentences of that verse would be "Åse will on good days race/run towards you" or something similar.

  • "Sonsteinhelila" is probably a mythological place-name, though I could not find any such place-name mentioned, other than in this text. Probably where the locals that came up with this story thought Huldra lived.

Overall the translation seems fine, but a little off here and there. But that is probably because of certain words that don't really translate well.


Thanks! Saw the translation, but even the translator was unsure about some things. And that Huldra å 'en Elland version doesn't have the second verse, the part I really don't understand.


Whoa! Yeah, the second verse is pretty hard core.

I think can manage to understand some of it. Here's my modern bokmål interpretation, with words I don't recognise and alternate interpretations in brackets:

Den vakreste av dalguttene, legg den flotte hånda di inntil min, jeg vil [?hulle?], leke, rope, jeg vil glede deg for alltid [or "hygge all din tid"], jeg vil ligge ved [or "slå meg til ro med"] Eilland-en min, rømme, smør og kjuke, Åse skal løse glade [?dågå?], [?kapvis åt dæg struke?].

Corrections and improvements are most welcome :)

Learn Norwegian (Bokmål) in just 5 minutes a day. For free.