quisling
Posted: 04 October 2007 07:31 AM   [ Ignore ]
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I have just looked this word up in several online English-Norwegian/Norwegian-English dictionaries and there is no trace. This could be because it is a source of embarrassment to Norwegians but I find it odd there is no entry for the word even from English to Norwegian.
If this is some sort of self-censorship, are there other examples of this phenomenon in other languages and can they ever be justified? (More academic English-Norwegian dictionaries surely include it.)

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Posted: 04 October 2007 07:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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I thought it was a proper name ...

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Posted: 04 October 2007 07:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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It is.

Vidkun Quisling, Norwegian collaborationist PM. And it seems that the Norwegians too use the term generically, as indicated by this reference in the Wikipedia page above.

In a wartime Norwegian cartoon, “Audience with Hitler”, Quisling says: “I am Quisling”, and Hitler’s adjutant replies: “And what is your name?”.

Clearly it didn’t take long for the name to become synonymous with traitor.

BTW here’s the earliest cite in OED:

1940 Times 15 Apr. 5/3 Comment in the Press urges that there should be unremitting vigilance also against possible ‘Quislings’ inside the country [sc. Sweden].

I’m not sure about censorship; perhaps you just haven’t consulted a large enough Norwegian dictionary? The online English-Norwegian dictionariles would be very limited.

[ Edited: 04 October 2007 08:07 AM by aldiboronti ]
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Posted: 04 October 2007 08:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Here is a Norwegian-language dictionary entry:

http://www.dokpro.uio.no/perl/ordboksoek/ordbok.cgi?OPP=quisling&begge=Søk&ordbok=bokmaal&alfabet=n&alfabet=o&alfabet=e&renset=n

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Posted: 04 October 2007 08:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Here is a Norwegian-English dictionary which has “quisling”:

http://decentius.hit.uib.no/lexin.html?ui-lang=nbo&dict=nbo-eng-maxi&checked-languages=N&checked-languages=B

... just type the word in the box.

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Posted: 04 October 2007 08:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Possibly in Norwegian the connection to the peronal name is so strong that it doesn’t feel like a “word” that needs defining.  In English, you can call someone a Hitler or an Einstein, but you wouldn’t necessarily expect a dictionary to list these (unless it made a practice of including names of famous people), and particularly not a bilingual dictionary.

When the Norwegians call someone a quisling (i.e., apply the term to someone other than Vidkun Q.) do they capitalize it?

(Written before seeing D. Wilson’s posts)

[ Edited: 04 October 2007 08:25 AM by Dr. Techie ]
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Posted: 04 October 2007 08:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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I note the OED capitalizes it. I wonder if that’s still warranted. Their later cites (and my own experience) seem to indicate that it’s rarely used with a capital letter now.

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Posted: 04 October 2007 09:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Note that M-W has an entry for Hitler, but it’s just a for the name of the German dictator. The OED, which doesn’t include names, has an entry for Hitler, defined as “one who embodies the characteristics of Hitler; a dictatorial person.” It notes that the word is also used as an adjective. All of the usage citations are of adjectival uses. There are none along the lines of “he was a little Hitler.”

Ditto for M-W’s treatment of Quisling.

Ditto for the OED’s treatment of Quisling, although it does have usage cites as a noun.

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Posted: 05 October 2007 11:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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I did know who it referred to which was why I looked it up in online Norwegian dictionaries in the first place. If it is not used in Norwegian (D. Wilton’s post noted) then is it not because of embarrassment or collective guilt or whatever? This is understandable. Quisling is a fairly common word in English, though, and my spellchecker lets it through.
Bowdler survives in English though his crimes were not as great as Quisling’s so are there examples of excised people in English? More to my original point, are there reviled folk in one culture who are still referred to in another due to old animosities? Sort of like French letter/English hood, Dutch wife, etc.

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Posted: 05 October 2007 11:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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If it is not used in Norwegian (D. Wilton’s post noted) then is it not because of embarrassment or collective guilt or whatever? This is understandable.

To ascribe collective guilt to any one nation is pure speculation and inflammatory.

Quisling is a fairly common word in English, though, and my spellchecker lets it through.

I haven’t seen it used much recently.

More to my original point, are there reviled folk in one culture who are still referred to in another due to old animosities? Sort of like French letter/English hood, Dutch wife, etc.

This will all end in tears, mark my words.
[ Edited: 05 October 2007 11:38 AM by ElizaD ]
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Posted: 05 October 2007 12:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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If it is not used in Norwegian

On what basis do you continue this supposition, which has already been refuted?

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Posted: 06 October 2007 06:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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My metapoint was that you have to look at the editorial policies of the dictionaries in question before drawing conclusions. Many dictionaries (like the OED) omit proper names. Are other, similar, attributive names in the dictionary?

Then there is the question of space. Words are simply omitted from dictionaries because they’re just not commonly used enough to make the cut. Perhaps the Norwegian-English dictionaries originally consulted were not that large.

And another reason might be that since the word is the same in Norwegian as it is in English, perhaps the editors of the Norwegian-English dictionary omitted it because it’s not needed in a dictionary that is intended for translators.

Since we’ve seen ample evidence that Quisling is used in Norwegian and does appear in Norwegian dictionaries, continuing to ask why it doesn’t (except in the context of editorial policies/decisions relating to a specific dictionary) is pointless.

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Posted: 08 October 2007 08:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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I agree. Scoundrel eponyms are interesting in any language as is which languages they cross into, maybe not being used at all in the country of origin. I’m guessing Quisling is better known in Europe than America and the noun is known to educated Britons rather than being “fairly common” as I suggested.
A Judas is a quisling and it would be interesting to know which languages use Judas. Modern Hebrew using Judas?
Thanks for the interesting replies.

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