v10: bullrig

The word bullrig appeared in a front-page headline in UNT earlier this week, something about students being disturbed by the bullrig environment. This was a new one for me, since the only similar words I knew were food-related, which didn’t fit. However, it did give the chance to play with a little-documented feature of Norstedts online dictionary – it allows limited wildcard serches, for example a search for *bull* will find all words containing the string bull.

Two staples of Swedish cuisine are the kanelbulle (cinnamon bun) and the köttbulle (meatball). Interestingly, a meatball doesn’t contain meat, but instead a mystery ingredient known as köttbullssmet (meat ball mixture). A påvebulla (Papal Bull) is spelt differently, but I wonder if a påvebulle would be eaten by Catholics or Lutherans? The plural of bulle is bullar.

The two foods, kanelbulle and köttbulle, are both bullig, rounded. Norstedts translates Bill och Bull as Tweedledum and Tweedledee, which I first thought fitted in with the idea of the twins being quite rotund, but now I’m not so sure: Bill and Bull are actually characters in the famous Pelle Svanslös series of books, set in Uppsala and written by Gösta Knutsson from 1939 onwards.

But the students weren’t being bothered by meatballs, Papal Bulls, or fictional twins. They were bothered by noise (buller), and their environment was noisy (bullrig) rather than rotund (bullig).

So, some words I would regard as easily confused at the level of either spelling or pronounciation: edible round things (eg, kanelbullar, fiskbullar), nonedible round things (eg, fotbollar, snöbollar), and types of noise (eg, flygbuller, motorbuller).

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Published in: on March 14, 2010 at 20:50  Leave a Comment  
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