(från FAQ:en för soc.culture.nordic)
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Från the soc.culture.nordic FAQ, section 2.5:
Subject: 2.5 What is "Janteloven"?
The word "Janteloven" occasionally pops up in s.c.n, often with no
hint given as to what it's supposed to mean since apparently it's common
knowledge in most Nordic countries. Not so with the rest of the world,
however, or Finland for that matter, so a brief explanation warrants a
place. It derives from the the novel "En flygtning krysser sitt spor"
('A refugee crosses his tracks') by the Norwegian/Danish author Aksel
Sandemose. The book takes place in an imaginary Danish small town called
Jante, based on Sandemose's hometown Nykøbing Mors. The book is about
the ugly sides of Scandinavian smalltown mentality, and the term "Jante-
loven" meaning "Jante Laws" has come to mean the unspoken rules and
jealousy of such communities in general.
This translation of the Jante Laws was suggested by Leif Knutsen (except
that I replaced "venture to think" with "to presume", as suggested by
someone in the group):
The form and style of the Ten Commandments in Norwegian are "straight,"
i.e. unencumbered by the "thous" and "thys" of the older English translations
of the Bible. I've made the assumption that Sandemose deliberately chose
10 laws and that his style was intentionally reminiscent of the Ten
Commandments. It's also interesting to note that the Ten Commandments
(and the other laws of Leviticus) are often referred to as "Moseloven"
(or the Mosaic Law) in Norwegian.
Also, there are some messages that are implied in these laws that are not
explicit. I've included those in brackets so as to convey the meaning
better, although they should properly be construed as editorializing on
_The Jante Law_ by Aksel Sandemose
1. Du skal ikke tro at du *er* noe.
Thou shalt not presume that thou *art* anyone [important].
2. Du skal ikke tro at du er like saa meget som *oss*.
Thou shalt not presume that thou art as good as *us*.
3. Du skal ikke tro at du er klokere en *oss*.
Thou shalt not presume that thou art any wiser than *us*.
4. Du skal ikke innbille deg du er bedre enn *oss*.
Thou shalt never indulge in the conceit of imagining that thou
art better than *us*.
5. Du skal ikke tro du vet mere enn *oss*.
Thou shalt not presume that thou art more knowledgeable than *us*.
6. Du skal ikke tro du er mere enn *oss*.
Thou shalt not presume that thou art more than *us* [in any way]
7. Du skal ikke tro at *du* duger til noe.
Thou shalt not presume that that *thou* art going to amount to anything.
8. Du skal ikke le av *oss*.
Thou art not entitled to laugh at *us*.
9. Du skal ikke tro at noen bryr seg om *deg*.
Thou shalt never imagine that anyone cares about *thee*.
10. Du skal ikke tro at du kan lære *oss* noe.
Thou shalt not suppose that thou can teach *us* anything.
Uppdaterad 27.2. 1996 av rent intresse av Hans Vappula, till vilken även ev. förslag på tillägg kan skickas.