Danish for Librarians

Posted on 31. Aug, 2015 by in Culture, Literature

Scene from Rødovre Library. (Courtesy of seier+seier at Flickr, CC License.)

Scene from Rødovre Library. (Courtesy of seier+seier at Flickr, CC License.)

Talking is king, but sometimes en god bog (a good book) may be your best friend in your struggle to absorb the charming Danish language! Finding a bibliotek [beebleeohTEHK] (library) is never a problem in Denmark, as even smaller towns use to have a public library. Most often, however, you will need a Danish address and  personnummer (civil registration number) in order to get a lånerkort (library card). Of course, you’re always welcome to stay at the library and read its books and aviser (newspapers) on the spot. Many Danish libraries also have free extra services such as computere and printere and mødelokaler (meeting rooms). Below are a couple of dialogues between a låner (patron) and a bibliotekar (librarian). (Please note that a direct translation between the two languages is not always possible.) Be aware that customer service in Denmark is increasingly web-based, so there’s a chance the librarian might refer you to a hjemmeside [YEMMehseetheh] (webpage, homepage) before the dialogue gets too lengthy! :-) Most official webpages also come in an English-language version.

1. Lånerkort (Library Card)

Librarian: Hej (Hello).
Patron: Hej, jeg vil gerne låne den her bog. (Hi, I would like to check out this book.)
Librarian: Okay. Har du et lånerkort? (Sure! Do you have a library card?)
Patron: Nej (No).
Librarian: Okay. Hvis du vil have et, skal du oprette dig som bruger inde på vores hjemmeside. Jeg skal også lige se dit sygesikringsbevis. (Okay. To get one, you’ll need you to register as a user on our homepage. I’ll also need to see your Danish health card.)
Patron: Fint. Det gør jeg. Hvad giver lånerkortet adgang til? (Sure, I’ll do that. What can I access with my library card?)
Librarian: Det giver adgang til alle resourcerne i vores system, fra bøger, lydbøger, cd’er, dvd’er til online-tjenester som Transparent Language Online. (You can access any resource in our system, including books, audio books, CDs, DVDs, and even online services like Transparent Language Online.)
Patron: Fedt! Jeg har allerede registreret mig. Her er mit sygesikringsbevis. (Wow! I’ve already registered. Here’s my health card.)
Librarian: Super. Jeg har oprettet dig som låner, og bogen er blevet udlånt i dit navn. (Great, I’ve established you as a user, and checked out the book to you [the book has been checked out in your name].)
Patron: Hvornår skal den afleveres? (When is it due?)
Librarian: Du skal aflevere bogen igen i løbet af en måned. (You need to return the book within a month.)
Patron: Kan lånet forlænges? (Can I renew it?)
Librarian: Ja, du logger bare ind på vores hjemmeside, og så kan du forlænge lånet så længe der ikke står andre i kø. (Yes! Just log into our website and you can renew it as long as no one has it on hold [no one else is standing in line].)
Patron: Mange tak. (Thank you so much.)
Librarian: Det var så lidt. God fornøjelse! (You’re welcome! Enjoy!)

2. Udlån (Checking Out Materials)

Patron: Hej! Jeg vil gerne låne Den Grimme Ælling, men jeg kan ikke finde den på hylden. (Hi! I’d like to check out The Ugly Duckling but I can’t seem to find it on the shelf.)
Librarian: Lige et øjeblik, så tjekker jeg vores database. (Okay, just one minute while I check our database.)
Patron: Okay. (No problem.)
Librarian: Jeg er ked af det, men bogen er udlånt indtil næste uge. Vil du reservere den? (I’m sorry, that book has been checked out until next week. Would you like to put it on hold?)
Patron: Ja tak. (Yes, please.)
Librarian: Fint. Giv mig lige dit lånerkort. Du får en mail når bogen er tilgængelig. (Okay, let me scan your library card. You’ll get a mail when it’s available.)
Patron: Super! Har du nogle gode læseforslag i mellemtiden? (Great! In the meantime, do you have any other recommendations [some good reading recommendations]?)
Librarian: Selvfølgelig. Hvad for nogle bøger kan du lide? (Always! [Of course.] What kinds of books do you like?)
Patron: Jeg er meget glad for biografier, men jeg læser også en masse moderne faglitteratur. (I really enjoy biographies, but I also read lots of contemporary non-fiction.)
Librarian: Jeg skriver lige nogle forslag til dig. Du kan også søge efter tilsvarende bøger på vores hjemmeside. (Let me write down some suggestions [for you]. You can also search our homepage to find similar books.)
Patron: Fantastisk! Hvor mange bøger kan man låne samtidig? (Awesome! How many books can I check out at once?)
Librarian: Så mange som du vil! (As many as you’d like!)
Patron: Og hvor længe kan man låne en bog? (And for how long can I check books out?)
Librarian: Du kan låne en bog i en måned ad gangen. (You may check out a book for a month at a time.)
Patron: Får man bøde for at aflevere for sent? (Do you charge fees for late returns?)
Librarian: Ja, men vi sender dig først en påmindelse på mail. Her er listen. Sig endelig til hvis du har brug for mere hjælp! (Yes, but we’ll send you a reminder e-mail before it’s due. Here’s the list, let me know if you need any help.)
Patron: Mange tak! (Thanks so much!)

3. God læselyst! (Enjoy your reading!)

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

fest

(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!)