NTNU - Norges teknisk-naturvitenskapelige universitet
Ansvarlig redaktør: Informasjonsdirektør
Anne Katharine Dahl

Jan Erik Kaarø

Teknisk ansvarlig: 
Even Gran


Stewart's corner:

What about your letterhead?

Most Norwegian companies and organizations follow the standard layout of Norwegian Standard NS 4129 in their letterheads. Thus the bottom line has headings such as "postadresse" and "besøksadresse" in bold type as stipulated. Problems sometimes arise with the English version of the letterhead because there is no ISO equivalent of NS 4129 "Kontordokumenter og blanketter. Utforming". This may explain why the bottom of letterheads of respectable Norwegian companies and organizations sometimes have headings like "post address", "street address" and "visiting address" which may raise some eyebrows around the world. As some of them have "address" -misspelled as "adress", and instead of Norway, the address ends in Oslo, Trondheim or Ålesund, this cannot exactly help their international image.

It is clear that the layout of letterheads differs around the world, but the equivalent heading to "besøksadresse" is uncommon. Most organizations that have addresses that include the street name and the post code, use no heading. An example is BBC World Service, Bush House, Strand, London WC2B 4PH, UK. If you decide to opt for a Norwegian/English combined letterhead, the best translation of "postadresse" is probably "postal enquiries" and the heading "besøksadresse" could be translated as "offices" or "location" instead of "street address" or -"visiting address".

If you just want an English letterhead, I suggest this model:

National Institute of Technology
Akersveien 24C
N-0131 OSLO

Postal enquiries:

P.O. Box 2608 St. Hanshaugen
N-0131 OSLO

Note the use of both N and Norway which should avoid -any possible confusion with Nebraska, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, Nigeria and a dozen or so other Nís.

Tricky words

civic, civics, civil

Civic (Norw. kommunal-, borgerlig) in the main sense relates to a town or city particularly its administration: "The municipal offices in Dublin are in the civic centre that is built on the site of a Viking settlement". In another sense, civic relates to the activities and duties of those living in a town or local area: "The mayor was the natural centre of civic life".

Civics (Norw. en gren av statsvitenskap) means the study of the rights and duties of citizens. This is only used in the plural, but note that it takes a singular verb: "Civics is well taught in the -college". (This is like nouns with similar -ics endings when they refer to an academic subject, such as statistics and electronics.)

Civil (Norw. borgerlig, sivil, dannet) relates to ordinary citizens as opposed to religious or military matters. When civil is used in the sense of behaving correctly and politely, it is a fairly formal word. Typical terms with civil, include: civil war which refers to war between citizens of a country; civil aviation in contrast to military activities; and civil rights the political, social and equal rights of a citizen.

state of the art, cutting edge

These terms are often used when describing leading developments or research work. The basic difference is that many can claim to be at the state of the art in their field, but only a few are at the -leading or cutting edge of developments.

State of the art (Norw. det siste og beste på området) means the newest ideas, most up-to-date -features or the most recent stage in product development: "This model of Rolls Royce is the state of the art". Note that hyphens must be used when state of the art is used as adjective phrase in front of a noun: "This PC has state-of-the-art design".

Cutting edge (Norw. fremste front) means the latest or most advanced stage of development. It can also be used for pioneering and/or innovative research: "This work is at the cutting edge of marine cybernetics". Note that a hyphen is required when cutting edge is used as an adjective in front of a noun: "This is cutting-edge technology". Apart from describing research, the term can also be used for speech or writing that is sharp and direct: "Sir Winstonís humour was renowned for its cutting edge".

Sir Winstonís cutting edge

After Churchill had delivered his famous speech about "We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the -streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender", he covered up the microphone and said: "And if we canít do that weíll hit them on the head with -bottles".

Lady Astor once told Churchill, -"If you were my husband, I would -poison your coffee". Churchill replied, "If you were my wife, -I would drink it".

Churchill was once asked why he always seemed to miss trains and aeroplanes.

"I am a sporting man," he replied. "I always give them a fair chance of getting away".

One particularly unattractive female MP who was as outspoken as Sir Winston shouted in the House of Commons:

"Mr Churchill, you are drunk". "Any you, madam," slurred -Churchill, "are ugly.

But I shall be sober in the -morning".

Spørsmål angående engelsk -kan stilles til språkrådgiver -Stewart Clark ved Studieavdelingen, e-post: stewart.clark@adm.ntnu.no,-tlf. 73 59 52 45, faks: 73 59 52 37