v45: oslagbara

oslagbaraHere’s one to test your skills. The sign at the right says Fyrverkerier till oslagbara priser, Fireworks for ??? prices.

So what about oslagbara? The -a ending is the plural marker, agreeing with priser, so the whole word can be broken down into o-slag-bar-a, which translates as un-???-able-[plural]. Which only leaves one small part of the word left to work out. Unfortunately this small piece is the key to the meaning.

To make it easy for you, oslagbara = unbeatable. It’s related to the verb slå = beat (in the sense of both hit and defeat), and the noun slag = hit, knock, punch. SAOB says slag is derived from the Old Swedish slagh. The closest English word is slay, which the Online Etymology Dictionary traces back to the Proto-Germanic slakhanan. A slagman is a batsman, and slagverk are percussion instruments.

Melodifestivalen is the competition to decide the Swedish entry into the Eurovision song contest; the first semi-final for 2011 is in Luleå on February 5. The common type of music in the competition is a form of light pop known in Sweden as schlager (leading to the competition being referred to as Schlagerfestivalen!). The word schlager itself has the same origin as slag, and seems to refer not to the beat of the music but its impact, just like the English hit.

Published in: on January 18, 2011 at 08:13  Leave a Comment  
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