Danish word of the day: Overspringshandling!

There’s a new word sweeping the Danish speaking part of the world (all six million strong!) like a kind of literary inflation. No, I’m not talking about “finanskrise” (financial crisis), “svineinfluenza” (swine flu) or even “Hyskenstræde” (a street in Copenhagen ravaged by anarchists run amok last weekend).. No, I’m talking about “overspringshandling” – a word that is enjoying increasing popularity with Danish students, young and old alike, every year at right around this particular time as they gather round to start work on their BA projects, MA thesises.. Or exam projects in general.

It’s kinda ironic that even with five years of studying communication, language and translation, I haven’t been able to come up with a fitting translation that really convey the meaning and semantics of said word. A literal translation would be something along the lines of “the action of vaulting over something”, whereas a more explanatory and paraphrased translation would be something along the lines of “to perform any arbitrary action with the main purpose of postponing the undertaking of a pressing chore at hand.”  – An overspringshandling may come in many ways, shapes or forms, such as spending time on Facebook, hanging with friends, getting drunk or going on impulsive or unmotivated road trips to random countries and/or places.

Now, I’ll admit to always having had a strange fascination with this particular word, mainly because I find it pretty hilarious that given  the relative limited vocabulary of the Danish language, we have words to cover concepts such as this. But I will also say that I have in my five years of studies.. or at least recently, been pretty good at not falling victim to such childsplay, I’ve actually managed to concentrate on my thesis.. Ahem.. Till this week anyways.

Maybe it’s because we’re off to Rock Am Ring in less than a month and I feel that I need to do some planning. Maybe it’s because Tina and I finally, on pretty short notice, arranged to go to Brussels this weekend and be with Zascha on her birthday and I feel I need to somehow plan that, too.. Maybe it’s because I’m working extra shifts at work.. At any rate, apparently I’ve been in need of some time off and as such have had a pretty hard time concentrating on the chores at hand.. At any rate, I find myself spending an increasing amount of time doing things such as travel planning, researching camping arrangements at the Nürnburgring and the compilation of road tripping playlists.. Sheesh!

And it’s not like I haven’t tried.. I really have! I did my very best at doing research Saturday evening.. And it went pretty well for a while. See, I’m doing a pretty decent effort at integrating a technology called Topic Maps into the work for my thesis – I won’t bore you with the details coz I know most of you don’t come here to get your geek on, but it’s a pretty interesting technology that I hope will really help me in my quest. So, I was reading up on it and trying to exemplify the core concepts of topics (or objects if you will) in my own words using examples revolving around the person “Lars Marius Garshol” (one of the key players in the creation of the topic map standard) and, since I found him to be a blogger as well, the concept “Lars Marius Garshol’s blog” (his personal blog, duh!)

This endeavor went well for all of five minutes until I actually started reading parts of Mr Garshol’s blog and discovered that he was not only a really good writer, but also had a profound interest in beer, pubs and all things good in life.. Uh, so yea, you can probably imagine where things went from there.. Fast forward about four hours and I’m still busy sipping a quality brew and reading reviews of beers I’ve never had, looking at pictures from pubs I’ve never been to and reading recollections of events I’d no idea ever took place. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: “Web 2.0 is such a delightful waste of time!” – and, as you’ll be able to guess, I didn’t get a single constructive thing done for the remainder of that evening.

So thank you very much, Mr Garshol, for keeping me entertained for a good 6+ hours, and for completely screwing up my concentration! 😉 Overspringshandlinger, indeed.


5 responses to “Danish word of the day: Overspringshandling!

  1. I believe the English version is procrastination. I’m very good at it. I’m at work now 🙂

  2. I believe you are absolutely correct, thanks for clearing that up 😀 And not to worry, I should be working, too 😉

  3. “Displacement activity” is another wort for oversprings handling. findes bla. i Macmillan Dictionary.

  4. procrastination should be the word 🙂

  5. I’m sure you can find the proper psychological term somewhere. Procrastination is not quite the word as says nothing of the reason or motive.
    The interesting question is why only Danes have felt the need for the word in their daily lives. Are they more honest with themselves? Or have they more chores to do or theses to write? Or are they lazier and more unfocussed?

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