Big and Small

Posted on 28. Feb, 2015 by in grammar

Courtesy of Open Clipart.

Courtesy of Open Clipart.

Vi har hvad vi skal ha’, af både stort og småt! (We’ve got what we need, of both big and small!) Danish ”national oldie popdreng (pop boy)” Kim Larsen sings in one of his classic hits. I guess it’s still true that people in Denmark have got all the material ting (things) they need, but let’s focus on the language: big and small.


Stor is the basic word for ’big’ or ’large’:

en stor pige (a big girl) – den store pige (the big girl) – pigen er stor (the girl is big)

et stort ansvar [anSVAR] (a big responsibility) – det store ansvar (the big responsibility) – ansvaret er stort (the responsibility is big)

store skyer – skyerne er store (big clouds – the clouds are big)

(Of course you already know that an -e is added to most adjectives in the plural, and that a -t is usually added to adjectives describing common-gender words in the singular – ”et words. And you’re most certainly aware that an -e is added to adjectives that follow definiteness markers like den, det, min, dit, -s: vores store ansvar, Poul og Mariannes store pige.)

’Bigger – biggest’ is a bit irregular: større – størst.

Alt er større i USA. (Everything’s bigger in the US. – Yeah, that’s a typical Danish thing to say! Small country mentality, here we go!)

Størst af alt er kærligheden. (”Love’s the biggest of it all.”)


Lille [LILLeh] is the basic word for ’little’ or ’small’. It doesn’t get any -t attached:

en lille dreng (a little boy) – den lille dreng (the little boy) – drengen er lille (the boy is small)

et lille problem (a small problem) – det lille problem (the small problem) – problemet er lille (the problem is small)

’Small – smaller’ is even more irregular: mindre – mindst.

småkagerne er mindre i år (the cookies are smaller this year)

det er det mindste problem (that’s the smallest problem – i.e., there are bigger problems out there!)

Wait a second! Yes, that’s true, there’s a very strange thing about lille! When describing more-than-one of something, it changes completely, metamorphosing into små [smaw]:

De små småkager er alt for små! (The small cookies are way too small!)

And, as you saw in that Kim Larsen quote, an even stranger thing about små is that you can add a -t to ”re-singularize” the word, making it mean something like ”something small, fine”:

Har du læst det med småt? (”Have you read that [part of the contract which is written] with small [writing]?” That means, more or less: Are you sure they don’t fool you?)



Here’s the Kim Larsen song mentioned – Blip båt:

Danish pick-up lines

Posted on 14. Feb, 2015 by in Fun, Society

(Photo by Simon at Flickr, Creative Commons License.)

(Photo by Simon at Flickr, Creative Commons License.)

It’s that time of year again! Thanks to our great kærlighed (love) for American traditions, many Danish par (couples) are buying hinanden (each other) blomster (flowers), chokolade [SHOcko-lathe], biografbilletter (cinema tickets) to ”50 Shades of Grey” and what not to celebrate Valentinsdag. But what about all those people who haven’t got a kæreste (girlfriend/boyfriend), an elsker (lover) or an ægtefælle (spouse)? Below is a bit of romantic small-talk, mixed with a few scorereplikker (pick-up lines)…

Hej! Er det dig! (Hi! Is it you!)

Tror du på kærlighed ved første blik? (Do you believe in love at first sight?)

Hvor har du været hele mit liv? (Where have you been all my life?)

Har vi ikke set hinanden før? (Haven’t we seen each other before?)

Du er ham/hende fra… (You’re the guy/girl from…)

Hej! Giver du en drink? (Hi! Are you buying me a drink?)

Kommer du tit her? (Do you come here often?)

Jeg er fra USA/England/Australien… (I’m from the US/England/Australia.)

Må jeg sætte mig her? (Can I sit here?)

Vil du med ud at ryge? (Fancy going out for a smoke?)

Har du ild? (Got fire?)

Tror du på skæbnen? (Do you believe in destiny?)

Vil du have en øl? (Wanna have a beer?)

Ja tak, du ser sød ud! (Yes please, you look cute!)

Du er smuk. (You’re beautiful.)

Du har smukke øjne. (You’ve got beautiful eyes.)

Ej, hvor er du sjov. (Gee, you’re funny.)

Kom, dans med mig! (Come, dance with me!)

Vil du danse? (Wanna dance?)

Skal vi danse? (Shall we dance?)

Er det ikke ensomt at være udvekslingsstuderende? (Isn’t it lonely to be an exchange student?)

Har du en kæreste? (Have you got a girlfriend/boyfriend?)

Nej, jeg er single. (No, I’m single.)

Jeg har glemt hvor jeg bor. Må jeg komme med dig hjem? (I’ve forgotten where I live. May I come home with you?)

Vil du med mig hjem? (Wanna come home with me?)

Hos mig eller dig? (Your place or my place?)

Må jeg få dit telefonnummer? (Can I get your phone number?)

Jeg har mistet mit telefonnummer… Må jeg få dit? (I’ve lost my phone number… Can I get yours?)

Har du et navn – eller kan jeg bare kalde dig min? (Have you got a name – or may I just call you mine?)

Jeg er vild med dig. (I’m crazy about you.)

Jeg elsker dig. (I love you.)

And finally, the classic:

Vil du med hjem og se min frimærkesamling? (Wanna come home to me and see my collection of stamps?)

I can’t guarantee that any of these lines will work, but if you say them with a fun, foreign accent, I’m sure you’ll get a laugh … and maybe that næste dans (next dance)!

Snow Words

Posted on 30. Jan, 2015 by in Daily Life, Vocabulary

(Photo by Bjørn A. Bojesen.)

(Photo by Bjørn A. Bojesen.)

Det sner! (It’s snowing!) The last week or so, temperatures have been dropping all over Danmark. Many places finally got a bit of sne (snow). The region where I live – Midtjylland (Central Jutland) – looked like a postkort (postcard) this weekend, with people playing in the snow and even skiing! :-) Today there are only a few klatter (patches) left, but vinteren er ikke forbi (the winter hasn’t ended)! Here’s a handful of snow words. Catch!

snemand (snow man). Snemænd are happy to be built; less so when solen smelter dem (the Sun is melting them), until there’s only a gulerod (carrot) left, lying on the ground.

snebold (snowball). Children love at kaste med (throwing) snebolde, and some adults do, too…

snefnug (snowflakes) are just as beautiful as they sound… There aren’t many Danish words starting with fn-, and fnug [fnook] (fluff, flake) is one of them. Let them fall down on your tunge (tongue). Fnug, fnug!

snestorm (blizzard or snowstorm). Meteorologer (meteorologists) love snestorme, because they always give’em a chance to act really dramatic i fjernsynet (on tv). Skolebørn (school children) are quite fond of them, too, as skolerne (the schools) are occasionally closed når det bliver for vildt (when it gets too wild)…

snevejr (snow weather) is any kind of vejr [vare] (weather) when it’s snowing. It’s often perfect for a gåtur (walk), ’cause, as the saying goes: Der er intet i verden så stille som sne. (There’s nothing in this world as quiet as snow.) Other times, however, sneen (the snow) conspires with vinden (the wind) to make a chilling snefog [SNEHfoww] (snowdrift)… Husk hue, vanter og halstørklæde! (Remember your cap, mittens and scarf!)

tøsne (melting snow or sleet) is the kind of snow that Danes hate driving their biler (cars) through… Danish children, though, hope for some more of the cold, nice frostsne (frost snow) that all of a sudden turns bustling Denmark into a true winter wonderland….