v16: orolig

As you may have noticed, there seems to be some correlation not only between word length and frequency, but also between those two and irregularity. That is, the commonest words in a language are often short, and have a tendency to be irregular. So, when learning a language, the beginning (common words) can be the the hardest part. Here’s another example regarding adjectives; I’ve been trying to learn some comparatives, superlatives and opposites:

good, better, best
bra, bättre, bäst

bad, worse, worst
dålig, sämre, sämst

Then I thought this was an easy one: what’s the opposite of rolig (fun, funny)? Orolig seems the obvious candidate, for reasons described previously, but in fact, no. The opposite of rolig is tråkig (boring), whereas orolig (anxious) is the opposite of lugn (calm).

Here it seems to be rolig that has undergone a change in meaning, since it derives from an old Swedish word roliker, meaning calm, and is also related to the noun ro (peace, calmness). However, the corresponding verb is roa (to amuse). I don’t quite follow thw connection between amusement and calmness; the opposites make much more sense, with the noun oro (anxiety) and the verb oroa (to worry) completing the set.

Published in: on May 1, 2010 at 20:00  Comments (4)  
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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. […] peace in the sense of not war is fred, and peace in the sense of calm is lugn or ro (see also my orolig […]

  2. then there’s värre and värst which sort of mean worse and worst, except they act as the comparative and superlative to: påfrestande, ogynnsamt, skadlig amongst others.

    • Hmm on further reflection, värre and värst seem to be the adverb equivalents to sämre and sämste

  3. Sorry, but it should be “bäst” and “sämst”, without the ‘e’ at the end 😉

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