Scandinavian language challenge day 34

Today I worked through chapter 11 of Danish in three months, covering:

  • numbers: fractions and collectives
  • adverbs of place and motion
  • uses of adverbs
  • conjunctions and adverbs used in pairs
  • confusable nouns
  • other words

Numbers: fractions and collectives

The adjective halv means half and is inflected in the normal way:

  • På en halV
  • v dag spiste de et halvt får.
    (in half a day they ate half a sheep)
  • Den halve dag brugtes til træning.
    (Half the day was used for training.)

Another way to say half is with the noun halvdelen (‘the half part’):

  • Grossereren købte halvdelen af beholdningen
    (the wholesaler bought half the stock)

Other points:

  • There are two ways to express quarters: en kvart / en fjerdedel; trekvart / trefjerdedele.
  • For other fractions, only the form ending in -del is used: en trediedel (3rd); to femtedele (2/5)halvanden / halvandet means one and a half
  • tre en halv kage (3 and a half cakes). The noun is singular


et par (couple)
et dusin (dozen)
en snes (score)

enkelt (single
dobbelt (double)
tredobbelt (threefold)
seksdobbelt (sixfold)

Adverbs of place and motion

bort (away)
hjem (to home)
frem (forward)
ind (into)
ud (out of)
op (upwards)
over (over, past)
hen (to over there)

borte (gone)
hjemme (at home)
fremme (located in front)
inde (located inside)
ude (located outside)
oppe (located up)
ovre (located over)
henne (located over there)

The textbook does a poor job of explaining what hen means and how it is used. It seems roughly comparable to the German particle hin, which refers to motion away from the speaker. German also has a counterpart (her) for motion towards the speaker, but as far as I can tell from the explanation and examples, Danish doesn’t have this.


  • Hun gik hen til vinduet
    (she went over to the window)
  • Jeg gik ikke derhen
    (I didn’t go there)
  • Hvor skal du hen?
    (Where are you going?)

And a couple more examples from Teach Yourself Danish (1958, reprint 1973), which also says unhelpfully ‘hen and henne have no exact English equivalent, and need not be translated; they are used in expressions of direction)’:

  • Han gik hen til hørnet (he went over to the corner)
  • Hun står henne ved bordet (she is standing over by the table)

Hen is also suffixed to her, der and hvor to form herhen (to here), derhen (to there) and hvorhen / hvor … hen (to where?).

After arrival, derhenne / herovere / herude / herinde / heroppe would be used.

Other adverbs relating to motion: tilbage (back); fremad (forwards); herfra /derfra (from here/ from there); hertil /dertil (to here / to there); hvorfra / hvor … fra (where from?)

at lukke ind/ud (to let in / out)
at lukke inde / ude (lock in / out)

Adverbs in idioms

Some uses of mon (I wonder):

  • Hvem mon det er?
    (i wonder who that is)
  • Mon ikke vi skule flyve?
    (don’t you think we should fly?)

Some uses of nok (enough):

  • det lykkes nok for jer
    (you will probably succeed)
  • Det er godt nok farligt
    (it is, admittedly, dangerous)

Some uses of vel (well):

  • der er ikke onde, vel?
    They are not evil, are they?
    [tag question?]
  • Det er vel løgn?
    (It’s a lie, I take it?)

Other adverbs covered: bare (only); nu (now); da (then); jo (after all); nemligt (in fact)

Conjunctions and adverbs used in pairs

Comparisons: Iige (så) … som ((just) as …as); ikke så … som (not as … as); jo (mere) … (des) mere; (the (more) … the (more))

Others: både … og (both … and); enten … eller (either… or); hverken … eller (neither… nor); heller … ikke (not …either)

Confusable nouns

Nouns with both genders:

en frø (-er, frog)
en nøgle (-r, key)
en søm (-me, seam)
en øl (-ler, bottle of beer)
en øre (-, smallest coin)

et frø (-, seed)
et nøgle (-r, ball of yarn)
et søm (-, nail)
øllet (the beer)
et øre (-r, ear)

Some of the other words used in this chapter

Nouns: et fremskridt (-e, progress); bager (baker); et hegn (-, fence); flæskesteg (pork steak); et fag (-, trade, subject); en trappe (staircase); en hånd (hænder, hand); flodbred (river bank); gade (-n, street); et fortov (-e, pavemnt)

Verbs: indbyde (invite); holde tale (make a speech); mangle (lack); fortsætte (continue); forklare (explain); krydse (cross); kigge indenfor (look in); hilse (great, give regards to)

Adjectives: ren (clean); grim (ugly); næremere (closer); dejlig (lovely); offentlig (public); lukket (closed)

Other: midt i (in the middle of); ret (quite, rather); ikke ret (not very); i hvert fald (in any case, at any rate); lige ud (straight on); venstre (left); længere fremme (further on); må endelig ikke (must be sure not too)

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