Adding Endings Posted by Bjørn A. Bojesen on Oct 19, 2021 in Grammar, Pronunciation
The main challenge is knowing which word takes which ending.
• Plurals of many Danish nouns (by, træ, kvinde, system – city, tree, woman, system) are made with -er, while many other nouns (hund, kat, ost, hus – dog, cat, cheese, house) take the ending -e, or, in the case of just a few words (år, sværd – year[s], sword[s]), no ending. (And yes, the plurals of some words imported into Danish from other languages2predominantly English, but you’ve also got Spanish plurals such as tapas sneaking into Danish! 🙂 even end in -s.)
• Singular the varies according to the noun’s gender – you have to know whether the word you’re about to use has the common (the = -en) or neuter (-et) gender.
Once you know a noun’s endings (-er/-e/-/-s; -en or -et), you simply add one:
træ–er, hund–e, ost–en, hus–et. But what if a word already ends in -e – do you really write kvinde–er? 🙂 Naturally, you just remove the -e, then add the ending – kvinder.
The plural the is -ne3Could also be analysed as -e(r)ne, but I find the -ne breakdown easier. – you simply attach it to the regular plural:
kvinder–ne, huse–ne, byer–ne (the women, the houses, the cities)
If the preceding word ends in a consonant, you insert an extra -e-4Originally this was done for pronunciation’s sake; nowadays Danish pronunciation is so blurred that it’s mostly a spelling convention! 😀 There’s hardly any difference between årene or år’ne, for instance.:
mænd–e–ne, år–e–ne, drinks–e–ne (the men, the years, the drinks)
NB1! Some words already end in -er in the singular. Very often, these nouns denote persons – such as bager (baker) or svensker (Swede). Even though they do have -e plurals (bager–e, svensker–e), the -ne is added to their basic form: bager–ne, svensker–ne.
NB2! A few short words end in -p, -t or -k. This letter is always doubled before endings:
top > toppen (the top), flot karakter > flotte karakterer (nice grades), tak > jeg takker jer (I thank you!)
- 1and a few other common endings, such as -ing, -ed and -ly
- 2predominantly English, but you’ve also got Spanish plurals such as tapas sneaking into Danish! 🙂
- 3Could also be analysed as -e(r)ne, but I find the -ne breakdown easier.
- 4Originally this was done for pronunciation’s sake; nowadays Danish pronunciation is so blurred that it’s mostly a spelling convention! 😀 There’s hardly any difference between årene or år’ne, for instance.
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