Text: “When I was really little my mom called me noula, which is noodle in Danish, and I was always so squiggly and squirmy, that I would just fall out of her arms.”
Context: L is 21 and originally from Colorado, but currently a student at USC. She is of British and Dutch heritage. Her grandmother immigrated from Denmark when she was nine years old, and her mother grew up speaking Danish, but no longer does.
Analysis: L spelled the word above n-o-u-l-a, and pronounced the first syllable like the English word “new.” However, there is no dutch word available online with this spelling. There is the spelling n-u-l-a or nula, meaning zero in English. Yet, this word is pronounced nUH-lah, rather than nOO-la. The danish word available for noodle online is nudel. As well as the less frequently used, tosshoved, which directly translates to noodle, but also “crazy head.” Maybe L’s mother was combining the meaning of “tosshoved” and “nudel” to encapsulate L’s personality as a child. Or perhaps the word “noula” is a slang term for noodle in Danish. Danish terms of endearment are often shorter, and similar to English refer to “my sweet” or “my dear,” they can also be diminutive like “little one.” However there are also more playful terms like puttegøj or puttemus which refers to a small type of mouse. L’s mother’s use of noula was something that stopped as she grew older, however she says she’s always reminded of it when she eats noodles. Danish food is hearty with its cultural dishes containing lots of potatoes and meat. Noodles or pasta aren’t as common, but can be found in a number of recipes like Danish goulash.