Tuesday, February 28, 2012


Home - noun, adjective, adverb, verb,
1.a house, apartment, or other shelter that is the usualresidence of a person, family, or household.
2.the place in which one's domestic affections are centered.
31.write home about, to comment especially on; remark on

Today I left home¹ to go home², as I spent the last few days home¹ at my parents' house. On my way home² I started thinking about the word home, and what it means to me. Where exactly is home.

Obviously Thomas' and my apartment is my 
home². We've filled it with all sorts of quirky things we've gathered over the years. It's where I have most of my books, and it's the place I worry about windows, water and wear. When I think about going home, i picture going home², cuddling up in a blanket, pouring the vino and immerse myself in one of my books.

However, I've modeled my 
home² after my  home¹, and going home¹ is always something I think about with a feeling of comfort and safety. That's where my parents are, most of my family and my old friends.

Whenever I get to Prague, I feel like I've come home
³. The second I step out into the city of a hundred spires, things make sense, my thoughts are clear and I remember who I am and want to be.

So, I guess what I'm saying is the Philosopher Pliny the elder got it right. Home is where the heart is.


hair·do - noun
1. hairstyle

I sometimes wonder if the reason I play so much with my hair's shape and color, is that I used to think Hairdo and PlayDough were pronounced just about the same.

Saturday, February 25, 2012


sis•ter noun. adjective
1. a female offspring having both parents in common with another offspring; female sibling.
4. a female friend or protector regarded as a sister.
12. being or considered a sister; related by or as if by sisterhood
13.having a close relationship with another because of shared interests, problems, or the like
14. Biochemistry . being one of an identical pair.

I am blessed with three sisters, one in blood, one in soul and one by imaginary adoption.

My soon to be doctor (the PhD-kind, not the blood-and-gore kind) sister is great, and she knows a lot of stuff about things i know nothing about. She's an incredibly accomplished knitter and she introduced me to fantasy literature, the importance of Playmo-knives, piano playing and musicals, so I owe her a lot.  However, this post is not about her; it is about my other sisters, and why I dare call them sisters.

When I was 16, Ingrid adopted me. She saw my profile on some proto social network and wrote me a message saying "Will you please be my little sister", and I said yes. We wrote, we met, we shared. Two and half years ago I became the proud aunt of Åsa Helene. I met her for the very first time on my wedding day, a 3 (?) week old baby. A tiny creature I immediately adored. I spent the last 30 minutes at the hairdresser's that morning, crocheting flowers for the baby blanket I had knit her. Since then I've done a poor job being an (make-believe) aunt, but I have a cardboard box full of knits, gifts and books I've bought for her (and her mum), and always plan to give them someday. Ingrid listens, and I try to listen back. Whenever I talk to her, I feel like no time has passed. She is my sister, and I hope to do a better job in being a sister back, in the future.

And then there is Kristen, my soul sister, whose positive thoughts I feel across the Atlantic ocean, whose worries and concerns I carry with me; mulling them over until I can come up with some advice, a positive take or at least a prayer. We started out as ordinary pen-pals... that lasted about two e-mails. The connection between us, the similarities and the differences, the humor and warmth, all of it  jumped off the pages (and pages and pages) of e-mails and we connected in a way I have not connected before. She and her wonderful family, especially her daughter Ella, are always in my thoughts. Although both our lives are hectic and we therefore write a lot in periods, and rarely in others, I always make mental notes about "things to tell Kristen". When big things happen, she's always among the first to know. Whenever I'm worried about stupid things, I think "What would Kristen say about this?"

You might be thinking "these are just friendships, why call them sisters?" I consider them my family. Even in my most hermitic periods I carry them with me, and I always come out telling them first. On Christmas Eve I think of them, when thinking of my family their faces come up. When my schedule is too full I tend to withdraw from social life, making a lousy friend and a poor sister/daughter/wife. And although I know I should make more of an effort to be a good friend, I only feel very bad about neglecting my family. I feel very bad about neglecting my sisters. Because they are family. In different ways yes, but different still counts.

Friday, February 24, 2012


ho•mun•cu•lus noun, plural -li .
1.an artificially made dwarf, supposedly produced in a flask byan alchemist.
2.a fully formed, miniature human body believed, according to some medical theories of the 16th and 17th centuries, to be contained in the spermatozoon.
3.a diminutive human being.
4.the human fetus.

Sometimes, when I feel it's hard to see my problems in the right perspective, I just imagine a perfect replication of myself, who's only about 30 cm (one foot) tall. I imagine her going around in my life, doing the same things, having the same problems. It helps me put things into perspective and to see what are the important things. Seeing your life from the outside is easier if you replicate it in a doll house scale.

Secretly it also gives me an extreme feeling of superiority.After all, she's really tiny. If she tried to bite me, I could kick her across the room, and it wouldn't even mess up my hair. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Å Elske

1. to Love
2. worship, admire, adore
3. the act of having sex, equal to English "make love"

Now, the story I am about to tell you is hard to say is absolutely true. I've found two references by respected scholars backing it up, and a couple of others of unknown or less credible origin. However, I also found a couple of sources (none of them by scholars as far as i can tell) discrediting it, and claiming this is just "folk etymology". But bare with me, for just a second, and lets assume it is true. The version I first read is the one in "Snakk om Språk!" and is written by Ingebjørg Tonne, I've retold the "most important parts".

A very long time ago, when the Germanic language had divided into its branches, and Old Norse was in its early days, the word aila, meaning flame or fire, had developed into ailiska, an adjective meaning warm or burning. And as we humans do, we started using it metaphorically. Maybe we started having ailiska feelings about things, maybe seeing the village hunk walking across the yard made our stomachs go ailiska and funny.

Another thing we humans do is changing sounds. And the diphthong ai became e. See what just happened? Warm and burning ailiska just turned into equally warm and burning eliska. Slowly dropping the middle i, and making a verb to go with the adjective, we suddenly started elske each other. How incredibly amazing is that? A long forgotten root "ay", meaning fire, flame or possibly to burn, turns into the very word for love?

Another good story (which is a bit easier to prove) is the word daughter. If you take the word back through history, follow the roots as far back as we can, we find the word duhitr (or dugdhar) meaning "the milker" or "the little milker". Following this word gives us a glimpse of history, tells us about the role of the daughter, or maybe it even gives us a taste of a little joke between friends? "Is that your little milker over there?"

Knowing this, seeing how we can see parts of history through language that really aren't visible in any other way, how can you look at language with anything but pure and true enthusiasm?
How can you do anything but å elske

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


en•thu•si•asm - noun
1. absorbing or controlling possession of the mind by any interest or pursuit; lively interest
2. an occupation, activity, or pursuit in which such interest is shown
3. any of various forms of extreme religious devotion, usually associated with intense emotionalism and a break with orthodoxy.

I am an enthusiastic being. I know this to be true, because people constantly tell me "I wish I had your enthusiasm." Honestly, I think enthusiasm is more a way of life than anything else. I find myself looking for that little something in a plan, subject or person that triggers inspiration and joy - there's my enthusiasm. There are many things I'm enthusiastic about nowadays, and to keep in style of the last post, I've made a list.

1. Grammar. 
I LOVE grammar. I can't help it. As I've said many times before, to slowly and deliberately split an infinitive is nothing but pure joy. Although i like my lecturers at uni a lot, I have to credit my love for grammar to Professor Michael D. C. Drout, whose audio books in the Modern Scholar series are truly educational and entertaining. Now, I must admit my grammar is still pretty bad, but I'm getting there.

2. Linguistics in general
I'm reading awkwardly titled books about linguistics in general and phonology in particular like there's no tomorrow (and... linguistics can somehow prevent that...if.... I just.... read...enough?)

3.  Owls
I love owls.

4. Participating
I'm now in so many school groups and committees I'm almost able to understand what is going on! Today I even found a person equally (if not even more, as if anyone ever thought that was possible) interested in making stuff happen. I do hope we'll team up!

5. My classmates
My class is awesome. Everyone is so particularly weird, funny, interesting and sweet, I almost don't know what to do with myself. Unfortunately the group is also awkward and shy, so we hardly ever talk among ourselves, and no one ever says good morning, but I have a feeling that'll change before the sixth semester.

6. Giving gifts
I had somehow forgotten how utterly amazing it is to make and give unexpected gifts. Now i remember.

7. Studying
It's fun!

Now, I can see from my statistic that some of you actually read this blog, so if you do and you have a second, tell me what makes your heart beat a little faster, your creativity spin and your wallet shrink as more books enter the house? I would love to know.

Maybe I'll find something new to be enthusiastic about?

Sunday, February 19, 2012


hon·est adjective
1. honorable in principles, intentions, and actions.
2. showing uprightness and fairness
3. gained or obtained fairly
4. sincere; frank
5. genuine or unadulterated

This post was supposed to be about the word "Sparkle".

I've spent more than an hour trying to formulate this post, trying to communicate a string of reasoning behind a gift i made today. Sounds easy, right?

What I've learned while trying to write this is a very simple fact, that I should have recognized before; I have a huge problem sharing unimportant facts about myself with people. I don't know why, I have no problem sharing my thoughts and feelings in text, but somehow sharing small facts, that I feel would let people actually know something about me, freaks me out.Therefore, in the interest of not being held back by weird defects, here are 10 facts about me that are absolutely true, but completely useless.

1. I love owls. Yesterday I saw a colorful plush owl in a bookstore, and I teared up in pure cuteness-overload.
2. I don't drink coffee, and secretly worry this means I'll never really grow up.
3. I want to dress very smartly, but somehow always end up dressing like a confused art teacher.
4. I've seen all 7 seasons of Gilmore Girls 5 times or more.
5. Sometimes I dream in just color, sounds and smells
6. I now consider deleting this post and just stop writing
7. I love hot air balloons, and dream of some day finding a pair of hot air balloon ear rings.
8. I'm never as relaxed and happy as I am in Prague.
9. The person I consider my best friend lives in the US, and I'm doing a horrible job keeping in touch.
10. I really like Brussels Sprouts.

So. Now you know.

Saturday, February 18, 2012


Dream  noun, verb,  adjective
1. a succession of images, thoughts, or emotions passingthrough the mind during sleep.
5. a vision voluntarily indulged in while awake; daydream; reverie.
6. an aspiration; goal; aim
7. a wild or vain fancy.
9. to have a dream.
13. to imagine as if in a dream; fancy; suppose.
16. dream up, to form in the imagination; devise

Today I have completed my 26th year on this planet, and move into my 27th. True to my own traditions, I had a really weird dream tonight. It's just one of those things that happen every year, my head seems to process the status quo; where am I, what am I doing, should I be making changes, and so on and so forth. This dream was really no exception, however, it was significantly different form earlier "editions".

Everything I did in the entire dream was walking up and down a beach thinking "What should be my dream? where should I be going?What can this be used for?"

In a way I totally get why. I've always been a dreamer, looking for new plans and projects I can focus on and love. I've had high ambitions, always wanted to be more, go further and reach new goals. All of that has slowly changed over the last 6 months. I do not want to dream of doing anything else. I am completely in love with what I'm doing. I love to go to university every day, study language, learn new things. I love spending insane amounts of money on books about linguistics, phonology and words. (Without really needing them for school.) So, why not a dream about taking this further?

Because I can see no future down this road. No matter how many years of studying language, no matter how many interesting books and papers I read and write, I doubt there is room for me in academics. And what else does this road lead to?

 So, for now, I do not dream. I just enjoy. And maybe one day I will find a new dream, something to aim my energy towards. Hopefully everything I do now will be relevant, but if not, at least I will have been living my dream.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


Blue  noun, adjective,  verb
 1.   The primary color betweengreen and violet in the visible spectrum, an effect of light with a wavelength  between 450 and 500 nm.
 3. something having a blue color
10. the blue
      a. the sky.
      b. the sea.
      c. the remote distance
11. of the color of blue: a blue tie.
14. depressed in spirits; dejected; melancholy

You know how in Moby Dick he says "whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people's hats off - then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can." ? Well, today I felt like knocking people's hats off, and thought it high time to get to sea as soon as I could. However, even if I live in the southernmost town of Norway, and basically am surrounded by sea, heading out into the blue is not all that easy.

So I tried to go for a walk, I ate a piece of chocolate and I tried to listen to an audio book. When even that  failed to bring safety to people's hats, I knew I had to do something else. Do something that could make up for the lack of Melvillesque  escapes into calm, quiet sense. I find that when I cannot make sense of the world, controlling my chaos has the same effect.

So what was a girl to do?
I redid my hair... with a touch of blue. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


a•loud adverb
1.with the normal tone and volume of the speaking voice, as distinguished from whisperingly: They could not speak aloud in the library.
2. vocally, as distinguished from mentally: He read the book aloud.
3. with a loud voice; loudly: to cry aloud in grief.

We don't really celebrate Valentine's Day, me and my husband. Sometimes we give each other cards, I think there has been a few roses, but generally Valentine's day is just another day. Now, it's not really a Norwegian celebration at all, and I do believe the whole corporate-greed-hallmark-is-evil-argument is fairly valid when it comes to countries with less than 20 years of real Valentine's traditions. However, as a girl, I always think a lot about romance on Valentine's day. It's my mushy little secret, and I'm sorry. It's all the hearts and bears and candy, they all make me a bit fluffy inside.

While thinking about romance i reread a post in a blog I'm stalking, this post, about reading books aloud for children (or really why Tolkien's books are so great for reading aloud, but my point remains the same). I really like this post, and I think it's spot on about Tolkien's mastery of the dialogue. It started me thinking about being read to.

I remember the way it was really important not to make too much of a fuss before going to bed, so there would be time to read. I remember fighting to stay awake when I had guilted Mamma into reading just one more chapter, and I remember Pappa and Mamma doing the voices differently, and that being part of the safety of it all. I think the feeling of safety, that feeling of all is well - people have time to sit down and read, is part of why being read to is something I love so much. Possibly also why I love audio books so much. It always calms me down on a crowded buss, at the dentist's office or after a long day, to listen to a great storyteller reading me a book.

Then it got me thinking about how my husband patiently lets me read passage after passage of all kinds of random stuff to him. Often things he does not really care for or even understand (like when I read him a long passage about a meeting in the middle of a book, just because I loved the way it was written).

Finally it reminded me about something I had completely forgotten, that happened a few years back. I was really sick and  felt really sorry for myself. I was lonely, bored and a bit scared, and I so much wished I could escape into a book.  My loving husband, who is not the "read aloud" type, then found one of our "Get Fuzzy" comic books and started reading it to me. He made all the voices, making Satchel semi-retarded and Bucky all kinds of evil. He tried doing a twisted Oslo-dialect (which he really can't do) and made Fungo be Mexican/Northern Norwegian, and all of it was just utterly disturbing, but made me feel really safe.

I think that may have been the most romantic thing I've ever experienced.
Happy Valentine's Day. 

Monday, February 13, 2012


cu•ri•ous adj.
1. Eager to learn more: curious investigators; a trapdoor that made me curious.
2. Unduly inquisitive; prying.
3. Arousing interest because of novelty or strangeness: a curious fact.
4. Archaic
     a. Accomplished with skill or ingenuity.
     b. Extremely careful; scrupulous.

I've started this blog to give myself an outlet for my thoughts, without having to follow a  plan like i tried in "and how to be good" or keeping topic-specific as in the yogablog.  My whole life is centered around words, and I think I'll use whatever words I like at the moment to serve as an introduction to whatever I want to talk about. Hope you'll enjoy!

I just finished reading "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time" by Mark Haddon. It is one of the books for my "Contemporary British Novel"-class, and it's truly a blast. The story is told from the point of view of an autistic teenage boy, and does so really well. I liked this book a lot; I found the over clarifying language soothing.

Having to read contemporary novels for a class has turned out to be somewhat of a treat for me! I have read so much fantasy (Terry Pratchett, Garth Nix and J.R.R.Tolkien mostly) over the last few years, I had almost forgot how much of a thrill reading literary fiction can be. Luckily, Atonement by Ian McEwan was the first book on the list, gently leading me by the hand into a literary bonanza of mundane words used in glamorous ways and archaic, unusual and rare words used as if they were ingredients in an average recipe. The way it's written is absolutely beautiful. The second part, with the wartime descriptions is by far the best in my opinion, and some of the images written out in those pages... I think of them every day.