Strong verbs are not random

Posted on 27. Aug, 2015 by in grammar

(Image modified from free original at OpenClipart.)

(Image modified from free original at OpenClipart.)

It’s time to take a look at grammatik (grammar) again. (I bet you’ve savnet – missed – it!) If you … a certain kind of very active words, you can hardly … a sentence. In other words: Verbs are a necessary evil! :-]

Kaja spiser en is. Per spiste en is. Ungerne har spist en is. (Kaja eats an ice-cream. Per ate… The kids have eaten…)

As you know, normal – or ”weak” – verbs are piece of cake in Danish. You have a root (like spis-), you add an ending (-te or -ede in the past tense), and voila! The real trouble comes with the ”strong” verbs, since they’re irregular and you have to learn them by heart. It’s a little bit like learning to count.

If you’re the kind of learner that loves schemes and little tables, however, I’ve got some splendid news for you: There’s a method in the madness!

For example, if you know the inflection (the various forms) of at gå to walk, you can also inflect at få to get (the er/har split has something to do with movement – please don’t mind it too much now!):

at gå – går – gik – er gået

at få – får – fik – har fået

However, here comes to stand: at stå – står – stod – har stået. See? Nothing is clear-cut in the land of strong verbalization! But at least there are some neat patterns for you to lean on! :-)


Have you noticed al the verbs that are inflected like at blive to become?

at blivebliver – blev – er blevet

at skrive to write – skriver – skrev – har skrevet

at skrige to scream – skriver – skreg – har skreget

at bide to bite – bider – bed – har bidt

at lide to suffer – lider – led – har lidt


Or, with a vowel twist:

at nyde to enjoy – nyder – nød – har nydt

at snyde to cheat – snyder – snød – har snydt

at flyde to float – flyder – flød – har flydt


Then of course there’s also the happy family of verbs echoing at drikke to drink:

at drikke – drikker – drak – har drukket

at finde – finder – fandt – har fundet

at vinde – vinder – vandt – har vundet


Feel free to explore further patterns in your own list of wicked verbs!

Party Chitchat

Posted on 19. Aug, 2015 by in Conversation, Fun


(Opensource image from OpenClipart.)

You’re at a fest (party) with Danes. You’re a begynder (beginner). Your ability to stitch together phrases is so-so. Men du vil meget gerne tale dansk! (But you really want to speak Danish!) Below are a few made-up examples of party smalltalk or småsnak (both: smalltalk), also known as sludder (’rubbish’). To some people it’s a very superficial way of talking, I know. You have to start somewhere, though, before you can discuss migration laws and taxes!

Anne: Hej, jeg hedder Anne! (Hi, my name is Anne!)
John: Hej, jeg hedder John. Og det her er min kæreste Brenda. (Hi, I’m John. And this is my girlfriend Brenda.)
Anne: Hej Brenda! (Hi Brenda!) Hyggeligt at møde dig. (Nice to meet you.)
Brenda: Hej! (Hi!)

Anne: Hvor kommer I fra? (Where do you guys come from?)
John: Jeg kommer fra Kansas… (I’m from Kansas…)
Brenda: …og jeg kommer fra Texas. Vi har faktisk mødt hinanden her i Danmark! (…and I’m from Texas. We’ve actually met each other here in Denmark!)
Anne: Spændende! (Exciting!)

Lars: Hvad laver I så her i Danmark? (What are you doing here in Demark, then?)
Brenda: Vi er ved at lære dansk. (We’re learning Danish.)
Lars: Fedt! (Wow!/Nice!/Great!)
Brenda: Ja, det er rigtigt sjovt, men også lidt svært. (Yes, it’s really fun, but also a bit hard.)
John: Dansk udtale er meget svært. (Danish pronunciation is really hard.)
Anne: Prøv lige at sige ”rødgrød med fløde”! (Hey, try to say rødgrød med fløde!)
John: Rødgrød med fløde…
Anne: Du taler sgu da godt dansk! (You d@mn sure talk Danish very well!)
John: Tak! (Thanks!)

Brenda: Det er nogle rigtigt fine øreringe du har, Lone! (That’s some really nice ear rings you’ve got, Lone!)
Lone: Tak, jeg kan også rigtigt godt lide dem! (Thanks, I also really like them myself!)
Brenda: Hvor har du mon købt dem henne? (Wonder where you’ve bought them?)
Lone: De har faktisk nogle på tilbud i Magasin! (They’ve actually got some on offer in Magasin!)
Brenda: Ej, er det rigtigt? Jeg skal meget i Magasin! (Gee, is that true? I’m so hooked on dropping by Magasin!)

Lars: Hvad laver I egentlig? (What do you guys actually do?)
John: Jeg er mekaniker. (I’m a mechanic.)
Lars: Cool. Så kan du måske reparere mit fjernsyn? (Wow. Then you could perhaps fix my tv set?)
John: –
Lars: Det er for sjov! Og hvad med dig? (Just making fun, man! And how about you?)
Brenda: Jeg arbejder som stewardesse. Men nu holder jeg ferie for at lære dansk. (I work as a stewardess. But now I’m on holiday to learn Danish.)
Lone: Det lyder vildt spændende. Så kommer I vel en masse ud at rejse? (That sounds awesome! Then you guys get to travel a lot, don’t you?)

Anne: Skål, John! (Cheers, John!)
John: Skål for rødgrød med fløde! (Cheers to rødgrød med fløde!)

Danes and alcohol

Posted on 13. Aug, 2015 by in Daily Life, Food, Society

The painting ”Hip hip hurra” (1888, copyright expired).

The painting ”Hip hip hurra” (1888, copyright expired).

Skål! [scawl!] (Cheers!) Toasting in Denmark can be an unforgettable everyday experience: Alle løfter deres glas, kigger hinanden i øjnene og skåler højt. (Everybody raises their glass, looks each other in the eyes and toasts loudly.) The roaring skååål animates the whole room, even beyond the table of the celebrants. Then everybody takes a sip of øllet (the beer)…

Alkohol [ALcohhawl] has long been a part of Danish culture. It is often associated with fester (celebrations), fællesskab (togetherness) and hygge. One of Denmark’s most famous paintings – Hip hip hurra! (hip hip hurray!) by P.S. Krøyer – gives a very good idea of this stemning (mood, atmosphere).

France has vin [veen] (wine), Scotland has whisky and Denmark has øl (beer). That’s the traditional tale. Nowadays, many Danes are skipping their dinner beer and drinking a glass of rødvin (red wine) with their food instead. Danes continue, however, to feel a special stolthed (pride) about their beer. There’s a bajer [BAH-yoar] (beer or lager) for any occasion: håndbajer (hand beer) when you’re on the go, fyraftensbajer (closing time beer) when you’ve finished working, fredagsbajer (Friday beer) when you’re done with the week’s work, flyttebajer (moving beer) when you’re moving house and need a break from pushing all those heavy pieces of furniture around… Made a fool of yourself? There’s a beer for that! Just tell the ”victim” of your clumsiness: Jeg gi’r en kvajebajer! (I’ll give a fool’s beer!)

Den tørstige mand. (The thirsty man.) An iconic ad from the Tuborg breweries (1900, copyright expired).

Den tørstige mand. (The thirsty man.) An iconic ad from the Tuborg breweries (1900, copyright expired).

Have Danes become too lax about alcohol? Some foreigners get very worried when they see 14–16 year-olds experimenting with beverages in Danish alleys. Getting fuld [ful] (drunk) has become a part of growing up, but I don’t know if young people in Denmark are any ”worse” than teenagers in Germany or other nearby places. And even old people like pensionister [pangshawnISTor] (pensioners) may be everyday drinkers, enjoying for example a small glass of Gammel Dansk (”Old Danish”, a brandy) in the afternoon. It’s no secret that Danes are among the EU’s most passionate drinkers. While 25 % of people in the EU don’t drink any alcohol, only 7 % of all Danes are afholdende (abstinent). It’s not easy to say nej tak (no thanks!) when all your friends would like to share a drink with you!

What do you think? Is there too much druk (”excessive alcohol drinking”) in Danmark? Or is Danes’ laid-back attitude to alcohol part of what makes Denmark such a dejlig [DIElee] (nice, lovely) place to be?