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DANISH WORD OF THE DAY

Danish expression of the day: Tale rent ud af posen

We’ll explain this expression like we mean it.

What is tale rent ud af posen? 

At tale rent ud af posen means ’to speak clean out of the bag’. A slight variation, at tale lige ud af posen, makes a little more sense in direct English translation: ‘to speak straight out of the bag’.

Okay, the second version doesn’t actually make much more sense than the first.

The figurative meaning of this expression is to speak directly. Both versions of the phrase are equally prevalent, so your words can come out of the metaphorical bag either rent (‘clean’) or lige (‘straight’).

To ‘speak straight out of the bag’ is therefore to ‘shoot straight from the hip’, ‘tell it like it is’, ‘not beat around the bush’ or ‘not sugar coat it’.

Why do I need to know tale rent ud af posen? 

Being honest and saying things without omsvøb (literally ‘swabbing’ but meaning prevarication) is generally appreciated in Denmark, where people often like to get to the point and say what they mean without spending excessive time on niceties.

This could apply equally to using only two words to order a cup of coffee (“en kaffe”) or telling someone straight that they have been rejected for a job or turned down for a date.

If you rip the plaster off quickly, and say things rent ud af posen, you will probably be respected for doing so.

Be aware this doesn’t mean being rude. Speaking rent ud af posen is not going around telling everyone exactly what you think of them for the sake of it. It is essentially being up front and direct (but still courteous) when telling somebody something that they will need to hear sooner or later anyway.

Examples

Nu siger jeg det lige ud af posen. Vi spillede elendigt i første halvleg.

I’m not gonna lie. We played terribly in the first half.

Hun taler altid rent ud af posen, så man ved, hvor man har hende.

She always speaks directly, so you know exactly where she stands.

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DANISH WORD OF THE DAY

Danish word of the day: Uoverskuelig

For when you just can't deal.

Danish word of the day: Uoverskuelig

What is uoverskuelig? 

This word contains skuelig, a substantive from of the verb at skue, which means “to view” but is not common in spoke Danish, where at se på or at kigge på (“to look at” in both cases) are more likely to be used to refer to looking at or viewing something.

At skue is often used in a more literary sense and can be compared to saying “consider” or “regard” when talking about looking at something. If you “cast your eyes upon” an object or landscape, you skuer it.

With the prefix over- , overskuelig means something that is possible to get a clear view of, to comprehend its full extent. Figuratively, this means to fully understand, master and be in control of something – not just to look at it.

The negation particle u reverses this meaning, giving you something that is hard to comprehend or deal with, so much so that you don’t really know where to start.

Why do I need to know uoverskuelig? 

It’s a curious and very commonly used word but one that is notoriously difficult to translate accurately into English.

As a side point, I think the double vowel at the start gives it a nice aesthetic. Lots of negated words are like this – uuholdelig (“unbearable”) and uafbrudt (“uninterrupted”) to name a couple of examples.

If you have a task – or more broadly, a day – ahead of you that you just don’t feel you have the energy or knowledge to deal with, you can say it’s uoverskuelig. In verb form, jeg kan ikke overskue means the same thing – approximately, “I can’t deal/cope with”.

Not being able to overskue something can be related to its size or complexity, but can also reflect your own condition – if you are feeling extremely tired, even a trip to the supermarket can be uoverskuelig.

It is also commonly used without the negation: Kan du stå for aftensmaden i dag? – Ja, det kan jeg godt overskue (“Can you take care of dinner today? – Yes, I can handle it”).

Examples

Jeg skal have kigget min forskudsopgørelse igennem, men det er lidt uoverskueligt.

I need to look through my tax return, but it’s quite complex.

Jeg kan aldrig overskue at tage på arbejde om mandagen.

I never feel like going to work on Mondays.

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