[lg policy] Kerry knows how to speak Norwegian

Harold Schiffman haroldfs at GMAIL.COM
Tue Nov 19 15:34:03 UTC 2013


Secretary Kerry knows just what to say to woo the Norwegians — in their own
language

(Mandel Ngan/ AFP/GETTY IMAGES ) - Norwegian Foreign Minister Borge Brende,
left, joins Secretary of State John Kerry last week at the State
Department. Kerry regaled reporters with a “tusen takk” here and a “jeg
elsker deg” there.

   - [image: (Mandel Ngan/ AFP/GETTY IMAGES ) - Norwegian Foreign Minister
   Borge Brende, left, joins Secretary of State John Kerry last week at the
   State Department. Kerry regaled reporters with a “tusen takk” here and a
   “jeg elsker deg”
there.]<http://www.washingtonpost.com/rf/image_606w/2010-2019/WashingtonPost/2013/11/18/National-Politics/Images/Was8080219.jpg>
   - [image: (Melina Mara/ THE WASHINGTON POST ) - White House adviser Pete
   Rouse is still not leaving — yet — but rumors of his departure are seeming
   more real this
time.]<http://www.washingtonpost.com/rf/image_606w/2010-2019/WashingtonPost/2013/11/18/National-Politics/Images/Merlin_15208924.jpg>


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   By Al Kamen<http://www.washingtonpost.com/al-kamen/2011/02/02/ABiEEAJ_page.html>,
Published: November 18 E-mail the
writer<al.kamen at washpost.com?subject=Reader%20feedback%20for%20%27Secretary%20Kerry%20knows%20just%20what%20to%20say%20to%20woo%20the%20Norwegians%20%E2%80%94%20in%20their%20own%20language%27>

It’s an international mystery: What did Secretary of State *John Kerry *say
in Norwegian during an appearance last week with Norwegian Foreign
Minister *Borge
Brende*?

After introducing Brende at a State Department event on Friday and saying
lots of nice things about Norway (the country is “a huge global citizen”
and a “terrific partner,” yada yada), Kerry got a little more personal. He
lived in Norway for a few years when his diplomat-father was stationed
there, he said, “so I have a special affinity for Norway and Norwegians.”

Al Kamen

Al Kamen, an award-winning columnist on the national staff of The
Washington Post, created the “In the Loop” column in 1993. He began his
reporting career at the Rocky Mountain News and joined The Post in 1980. He
has covered local and federal courts, the Supreme Court and the State
Department. Follow him on Twitter.

*Archive
<http://www.washingtonpost.com/al-kamen/2011/02/02/ABiEEAJ_page.html>*

   - E-mail <kamena at washpost.com>
   - RSS <http://feeds.washingtonpost.com/rss/linksets/politics/in-the-loop>

  More from In the Loop:



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Oh yeah?

“Say something in Norwegian!” one of the reporters covering the event
called out. (Bet Kerry wishes all questions from the media were so easy.)

Kerry obliged, offering a few lines in the language of his visitor. But
here’s where the mystery comes in — the official transcript of the event
didn’t reflect what he said. “(In Norwegian.)” was how it appeared.

What did he say? Whatever it was, the crowd seemed tickled. His comment got
laughs.

We were intrigued.

So we checked with the Norwegian Embassy for a proper translation. Kerry’s
message was as nice as his one in English. He said “tusen takk,” which
means “thank you,” we’re told. And then he said, “jeg elsker deg,” which
translates to “I love you.”

*Kine Hartz*, the embassy’s cultural and information officer, who was there
to hear the performance in person, gave his pronunciation high marks.

“It was good,” she tells us. “He had that singsong-y Norwegian sound — we
were very impressed.”

*The Rouse report*

Every so often, White House observers hear
that<http://www.politico.com/story/2013/08/pete-rouse-white-house-95312.html>
*Pete
Rouse *— *President Obama*’s trusted counselor and former interim chief of
staff — is leaving.

This would leave a significant hole in the White House operation and is one
of the reasons Obama is said to always push back hard to stop him from
going. Rouse, who was Obama’s first Senate chief of staff in 2005, is the
president’s longest-serving senior aide.

After he clinched the Democratic nomination in June 2008, Obama told our
colleague *Karen Tumulty *(then at Time magazine) what he thought of Rouse.
Rouse was “as well connected and well known and as popular and as smart and
savvy a person as there is on Capitol Hill. But is completely ego-free. And
that just makes for a good team,” Obama said. That’s about the highest
compliment you’ll hear anyone get in this town.

So when we heard the rumors percolating up of late — “it may be true this
time,” one source said — we thought it worthwhile to make a few calls. Best
we can figure is that Rouse, who’s 67, is once more edging toward the door,
hoping to leave soon, but no date has been set and nothing’s “imminent.” Of
course “imminent” is a somewhat squishy term.

 *Bibi gets an F*

As the prime minister of Israel, *Benjamin Netanyahu *presumably has some
pretty competent folks working for him.

But he might want to rethink his graphics department.

Netanyahu last week tweeted a PR-style infographic opposing the deal that
the United States and other countries are negotiating to lift some
sanctions on Iran. He called it an “important message” and urged his
188,000 or so followers to share it. The graphics were a tad cartoonish.

We assumed that one illustration was meant to be a mushroom cloud, but it
looked a lot like a tree. And another one was . . . a missile, right?

Still, it seemed an improvement over the poster depicting a bomb that he
paraded last year in front of the U.N. General Assembly. “Netanyahu’s bomb
cartoon is the Middle East equivalent of *Clint Eastwood*’s chair,”
columnist *Jeffrey Goldberg *
tweeted<https://twitter.com/JeffreyGoldberg/status/251384223313821696>at
the time.

We decided to check our amateur critique against a professional’s. So we
asked * Alberto Cairo <http://com.miami.edu/profile/Cairo,Alberto> *, an
expert on graphic design and a University of Miami journalism professor, to
analyze Netanyahu’s presentations.

The professor indicated that if they had been the works of one of his
students, they would have received failing grades.

First, he says, the initial problem is content: Such visuals are often used
in the PR and marketing world, and they are a far cry from “real”
infographics, which are journalistic products that he calls a “visual
representation of evidence.”

And then there are the aesthetics. Netanyahu’s are “just ugly and badly
designed,” Cairo said.



fwd from Washington Post

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 Harold F. Schiffman

Professor Emeritus of
 Dravidian Linguistics and Culture
Dept. of South Asia Studies
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6305

Phone:  (215) 898-7475
Fax:  (215) 573-2138

Email:  haroldfs at gmail.com
http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/~haroldfs/

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