Closet Cases

All the swirling debate over gay marriage lately made me think of some Norwegian words around marriage. (I lived in Norway for a couple of years and am fluent.) I don't get why people are so upset at the idea of gay people getting married.

The Norwegian word for poison is "gift." Not a gift I'd want to receive, but the word for getting married" is "gifte seg." It's the reflexive form of the word. "Seg" means yourself. So, if you "gifte" someone else, you're poisoning them, but if you "gifte" yourself, you're getting married. What does this say about marriage? Marriage is to poison oneself?

The Norwegian word for marriage is "ekteskap," a compound word. If you break down its parts, "ekte" means "genuine." That sounds like a good thing. You're doing something because you genuinely love someone, but the word "skap." means "closet." So, to Norwegians, marriage is a genuine closet!

So, if gay people want to poison themselves to get back in the closet? Why should anyone care??? ;)


Blogger Kari's Musings said...

In Viking times having access to the closet beds was a great honor. I wonder, which word set is older? For women, the coming of Christianity would have made marriage a gifte seg.
But ah, to have a closet bed in the main lodge...now that is warm and lovely.

I love your blogs. Would love to meet you someday.
Kari Tauring

3/10/07 08:18  
Blogger Kari's Musings said...

I love your blogs!
This one I wonder, which word for marriage is older. In Christian times marriage became poison for women as new laws and prohibitions came into play. In Viking times, however, to get a genuine closet bed in the long house was a great honor. Don't have to sleep in the women's long house anymore...mmm...warm and cozy.

3/10/07 08:21  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home