Danish Words of Healing

Posted on 25. Nov, 2015 by in Conversation, Denmark and the World, Vocabulary

Hope Candles. (Photo courtesy of Len Matthews at Flickr, CC License.)

Hope Candles. (Photo courtesy of Len Matthews at Flickr, CC License.)

Det er en svær tid for mange (it’s a hard time for many [people]). Uskyldige mennesker (innocent people) have been killed in Bamako, Paris, Beirut and other places. That’s when we need our languages to comfort each other and show that we care about each other. Words can hurt, but more importantly – ord (words) can heal…

Hvordan går det? (How are you?)
Har du det godt? (Are you okay?)
Det er længe siden… (Long time no see…)
Har du brug for hjælp? (Do you need any help?)
Hvordan har dine forældre det? (How are your parents?)

Jeg håber I har det godt! (I hope you guys are doing fine.)
Jeg tænker på jer. (I’m thinking of you.)
Jeg har været bekymret for jer. (I’ve been worried about you.)
Jeg holder af dig. (I care about you.)
Du betyder rigtigt meget for mig. (You really mean a lot to me.)

Det er forfærdeligt! (It’s terrible!)
Det er tragisk. (It’s tragical.)
Din stakkel! (Poor you!)
Jeg forstår godt at I har det svært. (I understand you guys are having a hard time.)

Jeg kondolerer. (My condolences.)
Jeg beklager. (I’m sorry.)
Det er jeg rigtigt ked af! (I’m really sorry about that!)
Jeg føler med jer. (I feel your pain.)

Vil du have min plads? (Wanna have my seat?)
Vil du have et lift til arbejde? (Wanna drive with me to work?)
Har du lyst til at hilse på mine venner? (Would you like to say hello to my friends?)
Skal vi tage en snak? (Wanna talk?)
Du kan altid ringe hvis der er noget. (You can always call if there’s something [on your mind].)

Op med humøret! (Cheerie up!)
Hvor der er liv, er der håb. (Where there’s life, there’s hope.)
Kom så! Du må ikke give op! :-) (Come on! You’re not allowed to give up!)

Meet the Monster

Posted on 31. Oct, 2015 by in Fun, Learning, Pronunciation

(From openclipart.org.)

(From openclipart.org.)

Uhyret er løs! (The monster is ”loose”!) After all that hygge, the time has come for some real uhygge (eeriness, literally ”un-hygge”). And that creepy monster is lurking in the dark, doing everything it can to prevent you from learning dansk! You want to get through Halloween alive? Godt så (good). First, you have to kende din fjende (know your enemy).

Of course, the Danish villakvarterer (residential neighboorhoods) are full of demons… Inversion, Strong Verbs and Adjective Agreement are just some of the beasts that are vying to make you run away screaming!

However, the most uhyggelig (spooky) bastard for Danish-learners has to be … Sound-and-Spelling! Just consider the following examples:

• You know that for certain words – the stød words – you have to ”cough” ever so sligthly while speaking them. You don’t remember which words, so you go around ”coughing” all the time and end up sounding like a Swede making fun of Danish! :-) Mor (mum) becomes mord (murder)…

• You’re writing an SMS and want to ask Hvornår skal vi køre? (When are we gonna drive?) However, you’re in a hurry and type Hvornår skal vi kører? Since Danish final Rs turn into a kind of short ”aw” sound (that glidingly merges with the vowel next door to form a single syllable), both køre and kører sound like ”KUR-aw”.

• You want to order a cup of te (tea) at a café. However, you really struggle with the Danish e sound, which is often only a tad more open than the Danish i sound. The busy waiter has no time for language lessons, and brings you … ti (ten) cups. (Okay, that example is a bit søgt  – far-fetched – but you get my drift! :-)  )

As language learners, we want clear and easy guidelines for spelling and pronunciation. Actually, we secretly wish that Danish was a bit like EsperantoMen hejsa! (But hey!) Then come those mumbling, coughing, lazy, crazy, speed-talking, half-drunk Danes and ruin everything! The Copenhagen island of Amager becomes Ama’r, and selvfølgelig (of course) becomes se’fø’li’ – of course!

Happy Halloween to all readers who celebrate it! (Image from openclipart.org.)

Happy Halloween to all readers who celebrate it! (Image from openclipart.org.)

But here is the good thing… You’re reading this in English! That means your brain is already used to some of the world’s most bizarre ways of spelling and pronouncing words! :-) ”Weemen” appears as women, ”nite” appears as night, or even more shockingly as knight (where on earth did that K come from?) Furthermore, the English language has almost as many shades of vowels as Danish, and there are more similarities than you thought… (Final Rs also become ”vowel-ish” in British English, and if you speak Cockney English, making those stød coughing sounds will be a breeze.)

The bad thing is, se’fø’li’, that you’re exposed to English 24/7 (or maybe 22/6). That means that the quirks of English appear … natural to you, while the quirks of Danish become an unconquerable mareridt (nightmare)… Stop that thinking now! Small children are conquering Danish, adult immigrants are conquering Danish, and so can you! A German friend of mine, who had spent some time in Denmark, once remarked that all of a sudden Danish didn’t sound strange or weird or impossible at all…

Many Danes will be impressed that you’re trying to learn their language (and a bit proud, even if they keep talking about how ”ugly” or ”impossible” their language is). Nobody expects you to say rødgrød med fløde exactly like a native! Stay in the country, ask people to stop answering you in English, listen to Danish radio stations, hang out at Danish bars…

Før du ved et ord af det (before you know where you are – literally: ”before you know a word of it”), you will be speaking Danish.

Now, are you ready to meet that monster? :-)

Danish Hygge Words

Posted on 23. Oct, 2015 by in Society, Vocabulary

(Photo by Jacob Bøtter at Flickr, CC License.)

(Photo by Jacob Bøtter at Flickr, CC License.)

After last week’s hygge post, I thought it would be hyggelig if we could hygge os some more! :-) After all, that’s how many Danes spend the cold season, until the sun is smiling and it’s time for sommerhygge… Look how many hygge words there are:

hygge – the Danish way of cozying up and enjoying life (look back for some great explanations!)

hyggelig – the adjective, describing something ”nice” or ”pleasant” or ”cozy”: en hyggelig aften [evening], en hyggelig gammel mand [old man], et hyggeligt t(h)ekøkken (a kitchenette full of hygge). It’s also something you’d say after a nice evening spent together with someone: Det var hyggeligt! (It’s been a pleasure!)

at hygge sig – the verb, with the meaning ”enjoy oneself (in a hyggelig way)”: Hygger I jer? (Are you guys having a good time?) De hyggede sig rigtigt meget i sofaen. (They really enjoyed themselves in the sofa.) Hyg dig! (Have fun!)

at hygge – the verb can also be used without the sig part (but not everywhere – you can’t say ”Hyg!” without the dig part!)  Without the reflexive pronoun (mig, dig, sig, os, jer), it’s a bit more informal, though: Nu skal vi rigtigt hygge! (Now we’re really gonna have a good time!)

en hygger is slang for someone who hygger a lot or enjoys at hygge sig: Vi er sådan nogle ”hyggere”! (We are that kind of ”hyggers”!)

The word hygge can be combined with almost anything. Aftenhygge is the kind of hygge you have in the evening – sofahygge takes place in a sofa, and so on! :-) Maybe you sit in the sofa eating hyggeslik (hygge candy) while having a hyggesnak (hygge talk) or hyggesludder (hygge chat) with a friend. A waitress spontaneously came up with the word hyggethe (hygge tea) when I asked for some hygge input! :-)

If this is too much hygge for you, there is a word for that as well! According to a dictionary, the word hyggenygge means ”intens el. overdreven hygge” (intense or exaggerated hygge).

Do you know any fun uses of the word hygge? Please share your stories with the other readers. :-)