Posted on 27. Oct, 2014 by in Slang, Vocabulary

veryTo say something is ”very something”, the ordinary Danish word to use is meget:

Du ser meget glad og tilfreds ud. You look really happy and content.

Jeg er meget overrasket! I’m very surprised!

This word sounds nothing like it’s written. It’s usually pronounced [maath], somehow rhyming with the first syllable of the English word rather. If you watch tv in Denmark and hear a politician saying Det’ [maamaath] vigtigt, she’s really just saying Det er meget, meget vigtigt. (It’s really, really important.)

The language spoken in the streets of Denmark has a lot of ways to express the idea of very. Many young people say mega [MEHgah]: Det er bare mega irriterende. (That’s just ’mega’ irritating. – It’s often written as two words since mega has an independent stress and can be seen as an adjective here.) If you think this is just another international ”bug” in Danish, well, look how closely it also resembles the good ol’ word meget;-)

There are a lot of other slang words like this. Some have been in the language for a while (and are at least a bit accepted):

smadder- • Du er smaddersød. (You’re very/so cute. This is already a bit old-fashioned.)

skrup- • Han er skrupskør. (He’s totally crazy.)

kanon- • Det smagte kanonlækkert! (It tasted ”canonically” delicious!)

død- • Jeg synes hun er dødsmuk. (I think she’s ”deadly” beautiful.)

Others are quite recent and are mostly used by youngsters:

super • Det er super ærgerligt. (That’s ’super’ annoying.)

herre- • Filmen var herregrineren. (The movie was very fun. – Litterally: The movie was ’lord-ishly’ ’laughter-ish’.)

A few are based on swear words – some people might get offended, so I recommend not using these too often! :-)

skide • Vi havde det skide hyggeligt. (We were enjoying ourselves very much. Literally: We had it hyggeligt like sh*t.)

pisse • Det er pisse ligegyldigt. (That doesn’t matter at all. Literally: That’s indifferent like p*ss.)

Here we also find the f-ing word, taken directly from English, but used without the sexual meaning in Denmark (it’s just a ”bad word” used to intensify a meaning).

Finally, a handful of words have their very own ”very prefixes” that are normally not used in front of other words:

pæredansk • (very Danish, literally ”Danish like a pear”).

Ardent Love in Two Languages

Posted on 30. Sep, 2014 by in Food


Brændende kærlighed. (Photo courtesy of Thomas Angermann at Flickr. Licensed under Creative-Commons.)

A classic of det danske køkken (Danish cuisine) is brændende kærlighed, which translates as ”ardent love” or ”burning love”. It is basically an elaborate version of kartoffelmos (mashed potatoes). A little ”love” is added, typically in the shape of bacon…






Brændende kærlighed

4 pers.

1 portion kartoffelmos (se under)

300 g svinebryst eller røget bacon i tern
2 løg
Pynt: evt. klippet purløg

Steg flæsk eller bacon sprød på en pande. Skær løgene i tern og steg dem møre i det afsmeltede fedt. Fordel blandingen over kartoffelmosen. Pynt evt. med klippet purløg.
Server hertil: Syltede agurker eller asier samt solbærsyltetøj.


4 pers.

ca. ¾ kg store, melede kartofler
35-50 g smør
ca. 3 dl kogende mælk
salt og peber, evt. muskat
evt. hakket persille, purløg eller dild

Skræl kartoflerne og skær dem i mindre stykker. Kog dem møre i vand uden salt og damp dem derefter omhyggeligt, før de moses med kartoffelmoser, et solidt piskeris eller en purépresse.
Kom mosen i gryden med fedststoffet. Pisk den kogende mælk i, lidt ad gangen, til kartoffelmosen har en passende konsistens. Varm den igennem under kraftig piskning, og når den er let og varm, smages den til med salt og peber. Evt. drysses hakket persille, purløg eller dild over anretningen.
I stedet for at bruge persille, purløg eller dild, kan man tilsætte kartoffelmosen andre hakkede krydderurter, hakket spinat eller grønkål eller en koncentreret tomatpuré.

Ardent love

4 persons

1 portion of mashed potatoes (see below)

300 grams of pork brisket or smoked bacon in cubes
2 onions
Decoration: if convenient, clipped chives

Stir-fry pork or bacon in a pan until crisp. Cut the onions into cubes and fry them tender in the rendered fat. Distribute the mix onto the mash. If convenient, decorate with clipped chives.
Served with: Pickled cucumbers or pickled large cucumbers and black currant jam.

Mashed potatoes

4 persons

roughly ¾ kg of big, mealy potatoes
35-50 grams of butter
roughly 3 decilitres of boiling milk
salt and peppe; if convenient, nutmeg
if convenient, clipped parsley, chives or dill

Peel the potatoes and cut them into smaller pieces. Boil them tender in water without salt and steam them carefully afterwards, before mashing them with a potato masher, a solid whip or a purée press.
Put the mash into the pot with the fat. Whip the boiling milk, little by little, until the mash has a suitable consistency. Heat it through while vigorously whipping it. When it is light and hot, add salt and pepper to taste. If necessary, sprinkle chopped parsley, chives or dill onto the collation.
Instead of parsley, chives or dill, one may add to the mash other chopped spices, chopped spinach or borecole or a concentrated tomato purée.


Adapted from two different recipes from the Danish classic cookery book ”Frøken Jensens Kogebog”

The Scotlands of Denmark

Posted on 27. Sep, 2014 by in Denmark and the World, History

Greenland. (By Boegh. Licensed under Creative Commons on Flickr.)

Greenland. (By Boegh. Licensed under Creative Commons on Flickr.)

Last week the people in Scotland voted no to becoming a country independent from the United Kingdom. For some people in faraway countries, it was maybe the first time they saw the Scottish flag or even heard about Scotland. I want to make sure that you, i det mindste (at least), hear about the parts of Kongeriget Danmark (the Kingdom of Denmark) that aren’t culturally Danish:

"Flag of Greenland" by Jeffrey Connell (IceKarma) - Eget arbejde. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons -

“Flag of Greenland” by Jeffrey Connell (IceKarma) – Own Work. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Grønland or Kalaallit Nunaat (in Greenlandic) is a huge island country to the east of Canada. The 50.000-something inhabitants live in bygder (settlements) ved kysten (by the coast); indlandet (the inner parts) of the country is just as white as it looks on Google Maps, thanks to Indlandsisen (the ”Inland” Ice Cap). Most people are grønlændere (Greenlanders) and speak grønlandsk (Greenlandic), although there’s also a considerable number of Danish-speakers. For centuries, Greenland was a koloni (colony). First Norway felt like owning the island (since the first Europeans there had been Vikings from Iceland, which was part of Norway in the Middle Ages). Then Norway entered a union with Denmark (or became a colony itself, depending on your point of view!), and when Denmark ”lost” Norway in 1814, the Danes kept the ”North-Atlantic colonies”: Grønland, Færøerne and Island (Iceland, which is now as free as a puffin). Phew, this is going to be a long passage! :-) Anyway, since 2009 Grønland has had selvstyre (home rule). That means that Greenland gets to decide most of its own affairs like any country would do. If Canada tried to invade the island, however, they would still have to fight the Danish army. And if China wanted to drill for oil, they would have to talk with both the Danish and the Greenlandic government. (Isn’t it so, Greenlanders?) People in Greenland often talk about going fully independent. So far, it’s been a bit tricky, as Greenland gets a lot of money from Denmark each year. This money is called bloktilskuddet (”the block subvention” – yawn!), and it would go away like a rainbow if the Greenlanders cut the ties. There are two Greenlandic MPs in Folketinget (the Danish parliament).

"Flag of the Faroe Islands". Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

Merkið (The Sign) is the name of the Faroese flag. • “Flag of the Faroe Islands”. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons)

Færøerne or Føroyar (in Faroese) is a tiny, rocky and green island group somewhere between Iceland, Scotland and Norway. There are almost 50.000 færinger (Faroe Islanders) on the øer (islands), and an innumerable population of får (sheep). The færinger are of Scandinavian stock like most Danes, and they speak a language – færøsk – that is halfway between Icelandic and Norwegian. Almost everyone speaks fluent Danish as well. Færøerne were settled by Vikings, mostly from Norway. The islands became Norwegian, and later Danish. The similarities with Greenland go on: The færinger have got selvstyre as well, and are represented in Folketinget with two MPs. And they also receive a lot of financial support from Denmark, which is why some Faroese people find it hard to split completely from Rigsfællesskabet (the ”community of the Realm” – a kind of Danish mix between the United Kingdom and the British Commonwealth). When I visited the islands in 2007, the Faroese seemed to be quite fond of the Danish Queen, Margrethe II. As a Dane, however, I felt there were certain things that I should rather not ask about. :-)

"Flag of Germany". Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

“Flag of Germany”. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

I should also mention tyskerne (the Germans) in Sønderjylland (Southern Jutland). The border between Denmark and Tyskland (Germany) has been shifting quite a few times; as a result, there is a Danish population in Germany and a German population in Denmark. Most of the Germans that are native to Sønderjylland, however, don’t speak German as their main language at home anymore, and are in the minority, so I doubt they’ll get a Scotland-style referendum anytime soon! :-)