Words for Well-Wishers

Posted on 17. Apr, 2014 by in Conversation, Traditions, Vocabulary

If you find a firkløver in Scandinavia, you’re bound to have lots of luck! (Thanks to Ole Husby at Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/khianti/7438725780/in/photolist-bByAEb-ckkp9f-ckkq1L-6PGSsG [Creative Commons Licence])

If you find a firkløver in Scandinavia, you’re bound to have lots of luck! (Thanks to Ole Husby at Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/khianti/7438725780/in/photolist-bByAEb-ckkp9f-ckkq1L-6PGSsG [Creative Commons Licence])

Sometimes we use sproget (the language) as a trylleformular (magical formula). Når nogen nyser (when someone’s sneezing), most Danes will automatically react by saying prosit! [PROSS-it]. In some strange way the little word changes the air, making the sneezer feel better. Below are a handful of other expressions used in order to wish somebody well:

Skål! [skawl] when you’re drinking beer (remember to se den anden ind i øjnene – look the other person into his eyes).

Held og lykke! (literally ”luck and luck!”) is the thing to say to your friend who’s going to a challenging interview. You can also add jeg krydser fingrene for dig (I cross the fingers for you) – in that case, you should remember to actually cross your fingers! Who knows, maybe it really bringer held (does bring luck). Læg langfingeren over pegefingeren. (Put your middle finger across your index finger.)

Pøj pøj! [poy poy] is yet another way of saying ”break a leg”! It is used quite often.

• If somebody’s ill, a nice thing to say is god bedring! (good improvement!). It is the equivalent of saying ”I hope you’ll be better soon”. Depending on the situation, you could perhaps also say jeg håber du snart bliver rask! (I hope you get well soon!) or even op med humøret! (cheer up!, literally ”up with the mood!”).

• There are many ways you can cheer on someone, including kom så! (come on!) and sådan! [saw-DAN] (that’s IT!). Many Danes mix in bits of English when cheering – if their teammate is called Søren, for example, they’ll chant ”go Søren!” (or maybe Danify it by ”gå Søren!”).

• It is not compulsory to wish your guests a good meal in Denmark (like you do when saying bon appétit in English). If you feel like it, though, you could always go for a velbekomme [VELbekom]. (If someone says it to you, remember to reply with tak!)

• When a friend leaves, you can show some extra attention with the words kom godt hjem! [kom got yem] (”may you get well back home”) or god rejse! [goth RISE-eh] (bon voyage!) if she’s going far.

• Many shop assistants like to take leave of their customers with the words hav en god dag! (have a nice day).

• When somebody wishes you well, it’s easy to return the favour: Tak, i lige måde! (Thanks, the same to you!)

God arbejdslyst! (Happy working/studying!)

The Thousand Joys of Spring

Posted on 31. Mar, 2014 by in Nature

Spring has come to Denmark, and even indoor fanatics can’t help noticing that leaves are sprouting and flowers opening… The boring winter country has been magically transformed into a wonderful garden. Knowing the names of some of the most typical blomster (flowers) and træer (trees) will never be as relevant as right now:

Vintergækker.

Vintergækker.

Vintergækker (snowdrops, literally ”winter jesters”) are some of the very first flowers to appear on the græsplæner (grass lawns).

Next in line are the violet/yellow/white krokus (crocus) and the yellow erantis (winter aconite).

Bøgen (the beech) is Denmark’s national træ (tree). It’s mentioned in the country’s national anthem, ”Der er et yndigt land” (”There is a lovely country”), in the lines:

Vort gamle Danmark skal bestå

så længe bøgen spejler

sin top i bølgen blå

 

Our old Denmark will remain

as long as the beech mirrors

its top in the blue wave

Indeed, walking (or running!) in a skov (forest) full of nyudsprungne bøge (beeches with new leaves) is one of the most refreshing things you can do in Denmark. The blade (leaves) can be eaten as salad while they’re still lysegrøn (light green).

Nyudsprungne bøgetræer. New beech leaves in a Danish forest.

Nyudsprungne bøgetræer. New beech leaves in a Danish forest.

Mellem bøgene (between the beeches), på skovbunden (on the forest floor), you may be lucky to see the lovely, star-shaped anemoner (anemones). 99 % of them are hvid (white), but in a few places you can catch a glimpse of a blå anemone (blue anemone).

If you walk or cykler (ride your bike) through a typical Danish villakvarter (residential neighboorhood), there is a chance that you’ll catch the sweet duft (fragrance) of the snowy kirsebærblomster (cherry flowers) in bloom on the kirsebærtræer.

In case you feel like sitting down in the græs (grass), I wouldn’t be surprised if you could already spot a few tusindfryd (daisies, literally ”thousand joys”), the typical Danish summer flowers. With klimaforandringerne (the Climate Changes), you just never know! :-)

Tusindfryd.

Tusindfryd.

Everyday Danish

Posted on 30. Mar, 2014 by in Daily Life, Vocabulary

In Scandinavia, people sleep underneath ”pillow-ish” dyner (duvets, sleeping quilts) rather than blankets. (”Senga mi med ei norsk dyne” by aarsvoln on Flickr, licenced for commercial use according to https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/ )

In Scandinavia, people sleep underneath ”pillow-ish” dyner (duvets, sleeping quilts) rather than blankets.
(”Senga mi med ei norsk dyne” by aarsvoln on Flickr, licenced for commercial use according to https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/ )

How much is a Carlsberg? How do I get to Den Lille Havfrue? Language courses are often geared towards tourists and travelling. However, if you really want to speak like a native, you also need words for all the little things you do every day:

Du står tidligt/sent op. (You get up early/late.) Most probably you’re in a seng on a pude (pillow) below a dyne (duvet) when det forbandede vækkeur ringer (the d@mn alarm clock rings).

Du tager et brusebad. (You take a shower.) Du vasker håret med shampoo – medmindre du altså er skaldet. (You clean your hair with shampoo – unless you’re bald, that is.) Du tørrer dig selv med et håndklæde. (You dry yourself with a towel.) Du tager tøj på. (You put on clothes.) Du reder håret med en kam eller en børste. (You comb your hair with a comb or a brush.) Maybe you even lægger makeup (put on make-up) or barberer dig selv (shave yourself).

Du spiser morgenmad. (You eat breakfast.) Maybe you eat alene, or maybe you eat sammen med familien (together with your family). Du vasker op (you do the dishes) – or: Du starter opvaskemaskinen (you start the dishwasher). Du børster tænder (you brush your teeth), with a bit of tandpasta (toothpaste) on a tandbørste (toothbrush), which may or may not be elektrisk (electric, motorized).

Du siger farvel til din familie eller din kat. (You say goodbye to your family or your cat.) Du tager bilen/cykler/tager bussen/tager toget til arbejde eller skole. (You drive your car/go by bicycle/take the bus/take the train to work or school.) Maybe you need to stop by a benzintank (filling/gas station) in order to tanke op (refuel). Du arbejder eller studerer/læser. (You work or study.) Du holder en pause. (You take a break.) Du spiser frokost/din madpakke. (You eat lunch/your packed lunch.) Du drikker kaffe/the/mælk. (You drink coffee/tea/milk.) Du snakker med dine kolleger/de andre elever/dine medstuderende. (You talk to your colleagues/the other pupils/your co-students.) Du tager hjem. (You go home.)

On your way you make a stop at the supermarked, where you køber ind (do some shopping). Der er kø ved kassen. (There is a queue at the counter.) Du betaler med Dankort. (You pay with your Dankort card.) Du kommer varerne i plastikposer. (You put your items into plastic bags.)

Du siger hej til familien eller til din kat. (You say hello to your family or your cat.) Maybe you’ve got lektier [LECKshore] (homework) or husligt arbejde (chores) to do. It may be time to slå græsplænen (mow the lawn), lufte hunden (take the dog for a walk), støvsuge (vacuum) or vaske tøj (wash clothes). Du laver aftensmad. (You make dinner.) Du spiser aftensmad. (You eat dinner.) Du rydder af bordet. (You clean the table.) Maybe you go out to møde dine venner (meet your friends). Maybe you stay at home with your family, ser fjernsyn (watch tv), læser bøger og blade (read books and magazines) or spiller spil (play games). Sooner or later it will be time to gå i seng (go to bed). Måske skal du først putte børnene, og læse en godnathistorie for dem. (Perhaps you need to tuck in the children first, and read them a bedside story.) Du kryber ned under dynen. (You snuggle down in bed. Literally: You crawn down below the duvet.) Du sover. (You sleep.) Hopefully, you’re having some wonderful drømmer (dreams), so you’ll feel refreshed and energized for a new bustling dag (day)!