I thought I would bump the thread with some ‘From a non-native point of view’
Even we have come to understand most but the most current of these opposite meanings of words due to the expressions being used on the net and in movies.
Thinking about it, I could probably be considered rude in a day to day conversation by using an expression not suitable for the situation just because the expression was accepted as a common way of describing something. In such a case, I would be to blame for what the net or a movie did teach me (in some situations I can imagine it could be critical).
I try to keep my language on the level and not use expressions where I am not absolutely sure of the meaning and where it is acceptable to use it, still not being native English speaking, I could easily fail.
It is rather funny with expressions like even badass. In my mind that would initially, if I did not know, translate to some illness like hemorrhoids and if I (without reading this thread) heard girls saying ‘come on guys’ I could easily think, ah transvestites even though they would probably not use the word ‘guys’.
Then the expression ‘bad ride’ - NO! I rather have a comfortable ride if any
We do use such opposite words here as well, and a ‘shit good icecream’ (dritt-god is) is not an unusual expression. It is a good indication of what voxsmart mentions, the overuse of ordinary superlatives to emphasize on the fact that it was indeed a very good icecream by using a word of the opposite meaning. The word shit (in Norwegian: dritt) is used approximately as you use the word fuck. I mean, an expression like ‘fucking good’ does not do anything but describe what comes before or after the expression to give weight and could just as well be exchanged for ‘very good’
I know that languages constantly evolves and that the meaning of words changes over time. However, if I try to follow the lines, we will sooner or later hit the day when no means yes.
The direct translation of Norwegian into English may fail badly… Like when we order a ‘bloody beef’ in a restaurant (Norwegian ‘blodig’=‘bloody’ but means raw) - we might as well order some fucking potatoes to go with it (but the not so globe-trotting Norwegian would not know)
Where my language easily fails is with words of politeness like ‘please’ that English speaking countries seem to apply ever so often without meaning it. Norwegian does not usually apply such words to a sentence unless there is a true meaning to it. French ladies married to Norwegian men were interviewed years back, and they all said that the men did not give compliments easily… I can go with that because they said that when they got a compliment, it was both honest and heartfelt and they could be damn certain the men did mean it.
Then again, Norwegians are not particularly good at receiving compliments either and probably start to argue that it was not that good or that anyone could have done that … unless they have done something truly outstanding. I think we have something to learn from you in both these respects as we may seem a tad like our climate - cold (we are not)