Scandinavian language challenge day 13

Today I worked through chapter 4 of Danish in three months, covering:

  • auxiliary verbs
  • auxiliary verbs: word order
  • modal particles
  • indefinite and negative pronouns
  • demonstratives
  • other words

Auxiliary verbs

Infinitive
at kunne
at skulle
at ville
at måtte
at burde
at turde

Present tense
kan
skal
vil

bør
tør

Meaning
can
shall, is to, must
will, wants to
may, must
ought to
dare(s)


When må means may, it is often used with one of the modal particles gerne or godt (see below).


Unlike their English counterparts (except dare), these modal verbs have infinitives. As in English, they have no imperative.

Examples:

  • Det er godt at kunne svømme. It’s good to be able to swim.
  • Kan du Engelsk? Can you speak English?
  • Han vil / skal (gå) ud af skolen.
    He wants to (has to) leave school. (The main verb gå is optional here.)
  • Skal vi prøve? Let’s try.
  • Du skal gå, ikke løbe. You must walk, not run.
  • Den syge dame skal ligge ned. The sick lady must / is to lie down.
  • Loven siger, at vi skal tænde nu.
    The law says we must switch on our lights now.
  • Du vil blive meget glad før gaven.
    You are going to be very pleased about the present.
  • Mør siger, vi må ride, men vi må love at være forsigtige.
    Mother says we may ride but must promise to be careful.

Auxiliary verbs: word order

Auxiliary verbs go in the same place as normal main verbs, and are then followed by the infinitive of the main verb. Negatives precede the infinitive of the main verb. Examples:

  • Jeg kan ikke købe en ny bil i dag.
  • I dag kan jeg ikke købe den.

A sentence can begin with a main verb infinitive dependent on an auxiliary. Example: Spise kan han ikke.

Modal particles

Examples with gerne (willingly) and its comparative hellere and superlative helst:

  • Jeg vil gerne lære en jysk dialekt.
    I would like to learn a Jutland dialect.
  • Du må gerne tale nu. You may / are welcome to speak now.
    (meget gerne: very welcome)
  • Jeg vil hellere. I would rather.
    (endnu hellere: even more)
    Jeg vil helst. I would rather/ like best of all.
  • Jeg vil hellere end gerne gøre det.
    I’d be more than pleased to do it.

Examples with godt (good/well), which has overtones of in fact and is often used as please.

  • Du må godt gøre det. You may do that.
  • Vi vil godt gøre det. We agree to do it.
  • Jeg vil godt have én til. I would in fact like one more. [note accent on én]
  • Mor, må jeg gå ud og lege? Mummy, may I go out and play?
  • Vil I ikke godt holde op? Won’t you please stop?

Indefinite and negative pronouns

Somebody / anybody = nogen.
Something / anything = noget.
Used with a singular noun, these words can mean some / a little / any. With an adjective noget can mean somewhat. Examples:

  • Nogen har taget min ordbog. Someone has taken my dictionary.
  • Er der noget, De ønsker? Is there anything you want?
  • Det er noget galt (there is something wrong)
  • Gør det overhovedet nogen gavn? Is it of any use at all?
  • Det er noget møg! That is (some) rubbish.
  • Den grammafonplade er noget slidt.
    That record is somewhat worn.

Any in the plural is nogen. Some (meaning a certain number, a few) is nogle (pronounced like nogen). Examples:

  • Har du nogen kirsebær? Do you have any cherries?
  • Nogle sangere glemmer altid ordene.
    Some singers always forget the words.
  • Her er nogle penge til mælk. Her is some money for the milk.
  • Ikke mange, tak, blot nogle få. Not many, thank you, just a few.

Nobody / none = Ikke nogen = ingen.
Nothing / none (neuter) = Ikke noget = intet = ingenting. Examples:

  • Det er ingen / ikke nogen herinde. There is no-one in here.
  • Det er intet / ingenting / ikke nogen i vejen.
    There is nothing wrong.
  • Ingen af dem taler klart. None of them speaks clearly.
  • De giver ikke hinanden noget. They don’t give each other anything.
    This can’t be replaced by: De giver hinanden intet / ingenting. (No explanation given for what is wrong with this)
  • Intelligens er ingens fødselret. Intelligence is no-one’s birthright.
    Of these words, only ingen can be made possessive.

Other = anden / andet / andre. Examples:

  • Mange andre har inget / ingenting i sammenligning med os.
    Many others have nothing in common with us.
  • en eller anden undskyldning. Some excuse or other.
  • et eller andet sted. Some place or other.

All = al (common) / alt (neuter) and plural alle/ allesammen. Examples:

  • Kan du spise alt det? Can you eat all that?
  • Alle kyllingerne er væk. Al the chickens are gone.
  • De har allesamt influenza.

Each / every = hver(t) / enhver / ethvert. Examples:

  • Det er enhver embedsmands pligt.
    It is every civil servant’s duty.
  • Ethvert barn har brug for kærlighed.
    Any / every child needs love.
  • Sømanden har en pige i hver havn.
    The sailor has a girl in every port.

Demonstratives

The demonstratives are denne / dette / disse (this / these) and den / det / de (that / those). They are always stressed. It is normal to write dén / dét.

Colloquial Danish often uses den/det/de with (here) or der (there) instead of denne / dette / disse. The demonstratives can be used before a noun or alone. Example:

Which is hvilken / hvilket / hvilke.
Or alternatively in spoken Danish hvad for en / hvad for et / hvad for nogle. (Like German was für ein)

Such is generally sådan

  • Sådan en forfærdelig støj? Such a terrible noise
  • Sådan nogle billeder kan jeg godt lide.
    I like (= can suffer) such pictures.

What a / how... as an exclamation: sikke en/et/nogle (derived form se hvilken /hvilket. In spoken Danish sometimes just sikken / sikket / sikke (without the article).

  • Sikken et / Sikket held, at han fandt sådan en velhavnede kæreste.
    What luck that he found such a well-heeled sweetheart?
  • Sikke store øjne du har, bedstemor.
    What big eyes you have, Grandmother.

Some of the other words in this chapter

Nouns (like English or German): stjernen (the star); en nød (-der, nut); leder (leader); løsning (solution); undskyldning (excuse); støj noise); en elev (-er, pupil); øjeblik (moment); jord (earth); en metode (-r, method); en fordel (-e, advantage); vin (wine); [grammatikalsk] udtryk (expression); tæpper (carpets); skruer (screws); kariere (career); et billede (-r, picture); en pris (-er, price); en behandling (-er, treatment, handling)

Nouns (other): drenge (boys); en biograf (-er, cinema); bordtennis (table tennis); spørgsmål (question); kylling (chicken); kyllingelår (chicken leg); en forskel (-le, difference); en hovedpine (headache); en dyreforretning (-er, pet shop); en expeditrice (-r, saleswoman); en hundeelsker (-e, do lover); en krone (-r, krone); en uge (-r, week); et udsalg (-, sale); fodring (feeding); en hylde (-r, shelf); en slags (kind); hundemad (dog food); et tilbud (offer)

Verbs: tænke (think); tie stille (be quite, stop talking); dø (die); få (get, receive); opgive (give up); spille (play); sige stop (call a halt); vente (expect); lave (make); vælge (choose); foretrække (prefer); læse (read); opnå (achieve); koste (cost); se … ud (look); købe (buy)

Adjectives: virkelig (real(ly)); artig (well behaved); optaget (occupied); ledig (unoccupied); pragtfuld (magnificent, German prachtvoll?); frække (cheeky); stram (tight); sort (black); lang (long); uskyldig (innocent); forskelling (different); flere (several); glimrende (splendid);

Prepositions: fra (from); ved (by); på (on); på denne måde (in that way); i sammenligning med (in comparison with)

Other: hjem (home); alt for (far too); allerede (already); end (than); tilbage (back, left over); någle få (a few); vi kommer ingen vegne (we’ll get nowhere); mest (mostly); normalt (normally); og så videre (and so on); også (also); derovere (over there); begge to (both); i alt (in all); da (then); de skruer passer ind i disse huller / hullerne her (those screws fit into those holes)

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