Danish Language Blog

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King Carrot and other Danish Weirdos Posted by on Jul 31, 2020 in Culture, Fun

Danish has two aspects that makes it particularly hard for learners: 1. The sounds, which Danish (!) poet Benny Andersen compared to havregrød i kog (boiling oatmeal porridge). 2. The Danish humour and culture, which is embedded in the language. Where else in the world can you say that something costs ”a dog” (en hund) when you actually mean it costs 100 (hundrede) Kroner?

Ingen ko på isen. No cow on the ice. (Free image from Pixabay; no copyright.)

Det blæser en halv pelikan.

”It blows half a pelicane.” = It is really windy!

Han tager lige en morfar.

”He’s just grabbing a granddad.” = He’s taking a nap.

Der er ingen ko på isen.

”There’s no cow on the ice.” = Everything is okay./There are no problems at the moment.

Stik lige en finger i jorden.

”Just put a finger into the earth.” = Calm down./Get back to earth. (Said to someone who is seen as too ”airy” or pretentious.)

Klap (lige) hesten.

”(Just) pat the horse.” = Calm down.

Han skal ikke komme her og spille kong Gulerod.

”He shouldn’t come here and play King Carrot.” = He shouldn’t come here and act like he’s better than us/other people.

På Lars Tyndskids mark.

”In the field of Lars Diarrhea.” = In the middle of nowhere.

Hun var ude og svinge træbenet.

”She was out swinging the wooden leg.” = She went dancing./She was (out) dancing.

Det var dødens pølse.

”It was the sausage of death.” = It was the most boring thing ever.

Jeg har en høne at plukke med dig.

”I have a hen to pluck with you.” = I’m angry with you.

Så er den ged barberet.

”Then that goat is shaved.” = Done! (Said after completing a task.)

Det er bare et slag på tasken.

”It’s only a slap on the bag.” = It’s only an estimate.

Jeg stod med håret i postkassen.

”I was standing with the hair in the letter box.” (I felt powerless in a tough situation.)

Der skal nye boller på suppen.

”There must new balls on the soup.” = Things need to change.

 

Are there some weird Danish expressions I’ve forgotten? Please add them in the comments section! 🙂

Thanks to my sister Sigrid for the inspiration.

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About the Author: Bjørn A. Bojesen

I was born in Denmark, but spent large parts of my childhood and study years in Norway. I later returned to Denmark, where I finished my MA in Scandinavian Studies. Having relatives in Sweden as well, I feel very Scandinavian! I enjoy reading and travelling, and sharing stories with you! You’re always welcome to share your thoughts with me and the other readers.


Comments:

  1. Dustin:

    Hej Bjørn,
    I have been studying Danish for less than one year (self-study using Babbel), so I won’t try to write in Danish as I’m sure I would make many errors and embarrass myself! I very much enjoy the sayings “There’s no cow on the ice” and “It was the sausage of death.” Do you know how these sayings originated in Denmark? Also, best wishes to the royal family and everyone in Denmark for Prince Joachim’s speedy recovery.

    • Bjørn A. Bojesen:

      @Dustin Hej Dustin,
      on behalf of us in Denmark – thanks for the good wishes regarding Prince Joachim! 🙂

      Unfortunately, I don’t know the origins of the expressions you mention. I can only guess…
      ”cow on the ice” – in the old days most people in Denmark were farmers (and the winters were colder than now). So, if one of your cows went out on a frozen lake, it could cause you big problems… (Noone could afford losing a cow that went through the ice and drowned…)
      ”sausage of death” – it might be related to another ”sausage” expression. We sometimes say that something is ”rosinen i pølseenden” (the raisin in the end of the sausage). It may be translated as ”good things come last”. So, there is a ”positive sausage” in the language, and the death sausage may be inspired by that other expression. But I don’t really know… DO any of the readers? 🙂


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