Torsken har ankommet

I can fake my way through a Norwegian newspaper, but this goes by too fast for me to follow at normal speed. I have to pause each subtitle to give me time to read it.

Last year, to introduce the redesigned 100- and 200-krone banknotes, the central bank of Norway recreated the 1980 musical comedy sketch Torsken kommer ("The cod is coming") with some of the original cast members and adding a cameo from the governor of the central bank of Norway.

Why cod? Because a cod fish is featured on the new 200-krone note, worth roughly US$25 or €21.

Come for the funny accent, stay for the rap at 1:20 that covers the anti-counterfeiting features of the new notes.

Here's my attempt at a translation. I did not try to capture the rhymes. The first verse is taken from the original song, and the "The cod is our friend" verse is adapted from the original.

[man on dock]
Torsken kommer! The cod is coming!
[man fishing]
Torsken kommer! The cod is coming!
[governor of central bank of Norway]
Torsken kommer nå! The cod is coming now!
[fishermen singing]
Se torsken! See the cod!
Se torsken! See the cod!
Se torsken! See the cod!
En feit og fin og norsk en, A fat and fine and Norwegian one,
en norsk en, a Norwegian one,
en norsk en. a Norwegian one.
Torsken kommer nå. The cod is coming now.
Uten den kan verden ei bestå. Without it, the world cannot exist.
Det fins ei en eneste fisk There is not a single fish
som er bedre enn torsken faktisk. that is better than the cod actually.
Det er da sant og visst. That's true and correct.
Torsken fersk og frisk The cod fresh and healthy
er jo Norges nasjonale fisk. is Norway's national fish.
Og kundene venter på land. And the customers are waiting on land.
Vi selger så mye vi kan. We're selling as much as we can.
Særlig Johan! Especially Johan!
En forsker som forsker på torsker A researcher who researches cod,
fant nemlig på å lage found out how to make
blå sedler fra havet. blue banknotes from the sea.
Så nå kan millioner So now millions
av norske personer of Norwegian people can
få lønn i torske kroner. get paid in cod kroner.
Ja, blå torske kroner. Yes, blue cod kroner.
[oh no, here comes the rap]
Til venstre på seddelen skjer det spennende ting:
On the left of the banknotes, there are exciting things
Der har vi laget et rektangel, en slags flytende ring.
There we've put a rectangle, a kind of floating ring.
Den er norsk, det er torsk, ikke hyse og sild
It is Norwegian, it is cod, not haddock or herring
og hvis du vipper litt på seddelen syns et fargespill.
And if you tilt the banknote, there's a color game.
Å forfalske denne seddelen, det blir litt naivt
Counterfeiting this banknote is a bit naïve,
for overallt så har vi trikket ting med mikroskrift.
for everywhere we have printed things with microprint.
Vi har et kobbertrykkt som du can ta og føle på,
we have a copper strip that you can touch and feel
Og den gjennomgående streken er en sikkerhetstråd.
And the line that goes through is a security thread.
Og selve vannmerke-tankegangen er litt kul
And the watermark-thing is itself a little cool
For hvis du holder den mot lyset syns en lundefugl.
For if you hold it to the light, a puffin appears.
Og til høyre er an ankerkjetting, saken er grei
And on the right is an anchor chain, that's for sure.
når du vipper på den ser du den beveger på seg.
When you tilt it you see it move.
Thorbjørn Egner hade rett: «en lofottorsk jeg er»
Thorbjørn Egner was right: "I am a Lofoten cod."
Løp til fiskebanken, slik kan du blir millionær.
Run to the fish bank, so you can become a millionaire.
Ja, bare sjekk 200-lappen, den er skikkelig rå.
Yes, just check the 200-note, it's really raw.
Og hvis du drar den mellom tenna spiller'n
And if you drag it between your teeth it plays
torsken kommer torsken kommer torsken kommer nå.
The cod is coming the cod is coming the cod is coming now.
[okay, back to the singing]
Torsken er vår venn. The cod is our friend.
Og nå er'n plutselig verdt 200 spenn. And now it's suddenly worth 200 big ones.
Og bruker du pengene opp And if you use up the money
Så trykker vi fler uten stopp. We'll print more nonstop.
Allt er på topp. Everything is tops.
Ja, heisann og hopp. Hey there, and hop.
[bartender pours Möller's Tran (cod liver oil) into shot glass.]
[man spins combination lock dials]
to, tre, fem, syv. Two, three, five, seven.
[singing resumes]
Og torsken, And the cod,
ja torsken, yes the cod,
ja torsken. yes the cod.
er stadig vekk en norsk en, Is still a Norwegian one,
en ekte og norsk en. a real and Norwegian one.
Men nå kommer'n fra banken, But now it comes from the bank,
fra banken, from the bank,
fra banken. from the bank.
Så fin som bare fanken, So nice as heck,
som fanken, as heck,
som fanken. as heck.
Torsken kommer nå! The cod is coming now!
Ny 100- og 200-kroneseddel fra 30. mai 2017.
New 100- and 200-krone banknotes starting 30 May 2017. new

Bonus chatter: Ten years ago, I was in Lisbon waiting at a tram stop, when I saw a retired couple approaching. From a distance, it sounded like they were speaking Swedish, so when they reached the platform and the man started to study the posted schedule, I told him in Swedish that the next tram came in five minutes.

Turns out that the couple was Norwegian, but Norwegian and Swedish are for the most part mutually intelligible,¹ so we were able to converse in our respective languages and be understood by the other.

The woman's only contribution to the conversation was repeatedly asking me in disbelief, "Du snakker svensk?" ("You speak Swedish?")

¹ The sentence "Du snakker svensk?" is an example of how the languages are different yet are mutually intelligible. The corresponding Swedish verb snackar means "chat" rather than "speak", but it's clear what the woman is asking.

Comments (22)
  1. Scarlet Manuka says:

    Why do I want to keep watching this?

  2. Martin Bonner says:

    I am really struggling to imagine Mark Carney (Governor of the Bank of England) appearing in something like that.

  3. Johan Thelin says:

    I have to tell you about Norgevisan: . The “conflict” between Sweden and its former union partner is mostly fought using humor :-)

  4. Well, that was the tamest and the least eventful of items in my newsfeed today: Redstone 4 is getting closer to RTM, Google is building proprietary AMP stack, DirectX is getting discontinued, Xbox will soon support AMD Freesync, … and the cod has arrived.

    Who knows… maybe someone some day will write a book called The Va Dinci Cod.

    1. Ray Koopa says:

      DirectX is getting discontinued? I can’t find that in any news. Where did you get that?

      1. How very strange I didn’t get an email notification for all these comments.

        The Register wrote it but the article has since been taken down. It mentioned how most of the DirectX parts were discontinued already (DirectDraw, DirectSound, DirectMusic, DirectPlay, DirectMedia — I’ve never heard of this one.) It said Microsoft was planning to take down the reminder in favor of UWP API.

        1. cheong00 says:

          Btw, Microsoft supports using DirectX with C++ in UWP.


          Given how much money graphic card vendors spent to support this technology, and Microsoft used it to secure leading position of PC gaming OS, and how many PC/Xbox game vendors invest resources to optimize their game engine development for it, it would surprise me that they would drop it.

        2. xcomcmdr says:

          > DirectDraw, DirectSound, DirectMusic, DirectPlay, DirectMedia

          Those API are discontinued indeed, but they have been replaced (Direct2D/3D for DirectDraw, XAudio2 for DirectSound, WMF for DirectMedia, nothing for DirectPlay because the need for it is no longer there),

          But that’s very old news. Like, Vista-era old news.

          1. Bah! Ninety percent of news articles about computing in free online website are worthless.

            Have you ever seen Peter Bright rambling about differences between Windows 10 support policy and the “good ol’ days” support policy? Every single “difference” he counts is actually a similarity. The other day, he felt betrayed that Microsoft had reneged on the promise of eternal support for Windows 10. When I showed him the Microsoft lifecycle policy and an article by Ed Bott about it, he denounced me as a heathen. I got 17 downvotes.

            Tom Warren, on the other hand, once wrote that come 2020, Windows family will die an ignoble death.

            Then there is Softpedia: Every time there is a fluctuation in OS stat reports of Steam, it predicts Microsoft doomsday scenarios or celebrates a new Microsoft era. Steam stats fluctuate like mad all the times. One day, Windows 7 dropped by 49%. I got used to it. Softpedia didn’t.

    2. xcomcmdr says:

      Weird, I cannot find any news about DirectX being discontinued.

    3. osexpert says:

      DirectX is getting discontinued? Link?

      1. See my reply to Ray Koopa above.

        Now that I am thinking, I remember the 2014 incident in which so many “news” websites misinterpreted Raymond Chen’s post and mis-credited Steve Ballmer for for BSOD. The Register was one of those dumbass churnalists.

        Of course, Wikipedia put their mistake on display for generations to see.

    4. xcomcmdr says:

      DirectX discontinued -> that’s weird, i can’t find any story about that. Have a source for that ?

      1. SimonRev says:

        Now there is one. Someone is going to pick up this sentence from the comments section and soon it will be cited all over the Internet, from reliable Microsoft insider Raymond Chen! :)

    5. Ray Koopa says:

      Welcome to the webwide world of clickbait articles :)

  5. Ray Koopa says:

    To me as a German, Norwegian sounds alot like Low German my Grandma typically spoke.

  6. Rich says:

    “Du snakker svensk?” (“You speak Swedish?”)
    “Lady, I am Raymond Freaking Chen!”

  7. Anon says:

    Back when I was in Sweden if you buy a bottle of shampoo in Sweden it had two passages on the back. One is in Swedish/Norwegian/Danish and one is in Finnish.

    The Swedish/Norwegian/Danish one is made up mostly of words in the mutually compatible subset of the languages with every third or so word represented as two possibilities separated by a “/”.

    The Finnish passage is completely and utterly different.

    So you’ve got three languages where you can write a mutually compatible version with a bit of ingenuity and one which is the oddball. Kind of like RISC platforms and x86 back in the 90’s.

    1. poizan42 says:

      > The Finnish passage is completely and utterly different.

      Well Finnish isn’t even Indo-European – it’s Uralic, the same language family as Hungarian, Sami and several languages literally in the middle of Siberia.

  8. Kirby FC says:

    I like the fact that “Norwegian one” (norsk en) rhymes with cod (torsken).

  9. Sune JAKOBSSON says:

    In Norwegian it is “snakker” and its Swedish counterpart is “snackar”, and they both mean “everyday talk”, read and learn:

  10. keal says:

    A related sidetrack: Google translate will tell you that Norwegian “postoppkrav” translates to Swedish “TORSK”.

    Tre translator first translates “postoppkrav” (correctly) to English “Charge On Delivery”, usually abbreviated COD.
    Then it translates COD to Swedish, retaining the casing, as a noun.
    In case you wonder: Torsk (codfish) has the same name in Norwegian and Swedish.

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