The Norwegian Rituals of Meeting and Greeting
Meeting and greeting people is a bit like dancing. When Tor enters the dance floor, he feels for the rhythm, then he knows which step to take; whether to lead or to follow. Today, Tor will show you his three favorite moves.
Now you too can hit the verbal dance floor with confidence in your greeting technique. Remember: leading and following are equally important !
The two main points to remember from Part 1:
- SIMPLY REPEATING A GREETING IS AN INCOMPLETE WAY TO RESPOND
- TRANSLATING DIRECTLY FROM ENGLISH RARELY WORKS
But you are ready to go beyond the "barking dog" level, right ?
“TAKK FOR SIST”
You may be asking yourself:
What exactly does Takk for sist mean?
When should I use Takk for sist?
How do I respond to Takk for sist?
Takk for sist literally means Thank you for the last time (we saw each other)
Most greetings simply acknowledge someone’s presence. Takk for sist goes deeper. Takk for sist is an important way of creating or maintaining a human connection.
We recall the setting en the entire occasion of the last time we were together. Takk for sist acknowledges our common memory and the relationship and strengthens it further. I often say Takk for sist to my weekly students at Lingu, for example. It's a nice thing to do ...
Takk for sist instigates an instant recall of whatever happened at that time (and let us hope at least one of us remembers…)
Person A: God dag, takk for sist
Person B: Ja, når var det egentlig?
Most often a little time has passed, a week or two, a month, maybe more…no exact rules here.
Is the quickest most appropriate response to Takk for sist (and to many other thank you-sentences in Norwegian )
Spelled out fully with modern Norwegian orthography, it would actually be “I like måte”.
But to be honest, I have never heard anyone actually say the k and the t - and rarely the “I“. So I’m giving you the insider scope here - and so I use the traditional “phonetic” spelling. You should really get used to saying
“Takk i lige måde” (full version)
‘Lige måde (short version)
Think “Likewise” in English. Using "ligemåde" really shows people that you know the "dance steps”.
Takk for i går
No need to say Takk for igår to your colleagues every morning when you come to work.
After all you did see each other at 4 pm yesterday! Takk for igår refers to some kind of special occasion; an office party, a dinner or a social outing. How to answer?
Exactly the same way as to Takk for sist … (and you do know that one by now, right?)
The next level
I’ll leave you with some other examples of verbal dance steps: Ballroom dance (pretty formal, in other words)
(This level of formality is pretty rare…at least here at Lingu)
The Waltz (super nice, warm and pleasant)
Person A: Neimen - så hyggelig å treffe deg !
Person B: Tusen takk i ligemåde, veldig hyggelig å treffe deg også!
(It would be hard to be more enthusiastic …too much, perhaps?)
The Last Dance (heard on the T-bane in Oslo recently)
Person A: Hei, du! (sly grin) Takk for sist ...
Person B: Ja…erm... phhhh… det ble vel litt for mye….
B might have had a little too much to drink last time these two met…
Now you’re ready to Face the Music and Dance!