I’m making subtitles for a Norwegian TV show, and there is a very common slang word in Norwegian called ass. (Yeah, never mind the English meaning of that, it’s not pronounced the same.) The etymology of the word is actually that it’s a shortened form of the word altså (which means something like "therefore", "thus", or "verily", the latter sense being where the slang meaning derives from.)
Jeg liker det ikke, ass. I like that not ????
Which means, “I don’t like it.” The purpose of the word ass is hard to explain, but it sort of adds some sincerity to the sentence. Without it, the sentence sounds kind of naked. A bit like English indeed, but indeed doesn’t work for a negative statement like this, and it certainly doesn’t work for informal language.
The word is extremely common in spoken Norwegian, especially among young people.
Some more examples:
Jeg vet ikke, ass. (I don’t know.)
Jeg vet det, ass. (I know.)
Du må prøve det, ass. (You have to try it.)
At the moment, I’m using man a lot, as in “You have to try it, man.” but I think some variation would be good. I realize that I could just use nothing, since the word carries only some meaning and is not that crucial, but I still feel it would be better to use something, to capture the feeling of the sentence.
So I know about man or even the word dude. I realize that you could use these words even when talking to a girl, but it doesn’t seem that perfect. And are these words natural when the speaker herself is a girl? Also, how about when talking to a group of people?
The word must be something a 17-year old might say to his or her buddy while hanging out. It doesn’t have to be slang, but it does have to sound natural in a subtitle where young people are talking informally to each other.
Details regarding Norwegian ass
It’s an enhancer, but not a very strong one. It’s more like a laid-back word like dude. You’re not that passionate about what you’re saying, but you do mean in. Ass at the end means that you mean what you’re saying. A bit like really. But it’s also a laidback word, you can certainly say it while speaking in a lazy or careless tone. Also, it’s used very frequently in informal Norwegian, so it’s a bit watered down. The word it derives from, altså (thus, therefore, verily), could be used in the same way, but hardly any young people do so in informal contexts, and it sounds old-fashioned.
I found the definition of altså in a Norwegian dictionary:
- Det er helt sant, altså!
- Han er veldig kjekk, altså!
- It’s completely true, verily!
- He is very handsome, verily!
I guess I should just use verily in the subtitles. That sounds, like, so casual, for real.
Please note that altså is perhaps not as old-fashioned in Norwegian as verily is in English. (I believe verily is extremely old-fashioned and perhaps even pompous in English?) However, altså is still somewhat old-fashioned.
To break down the word altså even more, its etymology is alt (all, everything) + så (so).