Scandinavian language challenge day 37

Today I worked through the last chapter (chapter 12) of Danish in three months, covering:

  • more verbs ending in s
  • verbs used as adjectives and as nouns
  • word formation
  • other words

The chapter also comments briefly on punctuation and on writing letters (ie correpondence) in Danish.

More verbs ending in s

Some verbs occur only in the passive -s form: enes (agree); lykkes (succeed); mislykkes (fail); længes (after) (long (for))

  • Det enes de aldrig om, selvom de længes efter fred.
    (They will never agree about that, even though they long for peace)
  • Det lykkedes ham at lære dansk.
    (He succeeded in learning Danish.)

Lykkes and Mislykkes are impersonal verbs, used with det.


Some other verbs convey reciprocity if used with the passive -s: de ses (they see each other often); vi ses? (we’ll see each other); de mødes (they meet each other); drengene slås (the boys are fighting each other); de skændes (they are quarrelling with each other)


Some verbs have a special meaning when used in the passive: der findes (they are); det synes (it seems); jeg synes (I am of the opinion); synes du om? (would you like?)

Synes refers to an opinion, tro means believe and mene can mean eiteher.

Verbs used as adjectives and as nouns

The past participle is often used as an adjective:

  • en nybygget gård (a newly built farm)

The present participle ends in -nde (or -ende if the infinitive ends in a stressed vowel) and is often used as an adjective or adverb:

  • den voksende utilfredshed (the growing dissatisfaction)

But constructions like the following, with two verbs, are often used where English would use the present participle:

  • Hun gik rundt og spredte rygter.
    (She went round spreading rumours)

If adjectives formed from verbs are used as nouns, they take the separate definitive article den / det / de, rather than the definitive suffix. Not entirely clear how this statement fits the examples below, especially the 3rd and 4th (perhaps because those nouns are indefinite?):

  • de rejesende standsede
  • De besøgende gik meget stille
    (the vistors walked very quietly)
  • Rejsenders bagage skal afleveres
    (travellers’ luggage must be handed over)
  • Besøgendes indgang er til høyre
    (the visitors’ entrance is to the right)

The at… infinitive is sometimes used as a noun when English would often use the -ing form:
Jeg glæder mig til at se dig (I’m looking forward to seeing you)

Word formation

Negative prefixes:

  • u-: ulykkelig (unhappy); ufarlig (not dangerous); usmuk (not pretty); usnobbet (unsnobbish); uselskabelig (unsociable); ulydig (disobedient); utilfredsstillende (unsatisfactory); ulækker (unappetising, repulsive)
  • ikke- [with hyphen] = English non-:
    De ulærte er som regel ikke-læsere.
    (The uneducated are as a rule non-readers.)
  • mis-: (mislykket (unsuccessful); misforstået (misunderstood); miskredit (miscredit); mistillid (distrust); misinformere (misinform)
  • mod- = counter: modoffensiv (counteroffensive); modarbejde (counteract); modforslag (counter-proposal)

Some other common prefixes:

  • over- : overtræt (over-tired); overanstrengt (overworked); overbærende (indulgent); overmalet (painted over); overløber (defecter = runner-over)
  • under- : underbetalt (underpaid); underernæret (undernourished)

Some suffixes:

  • -lig to form adjectives from expressions of time:
    daglig (daily); ugentlig (weekly); månedlig (monthly); årlig (yearly)
  • -lig to form adjectives of approximate colour:
    rødlig (reddish); blålig (blueish)
  • -inde or -ske to form feminine form of a position or job: skuespillerinde (actress, male = skuespiller); sygeplejerske (nurse, male = sygeplejer); lærerinde (teacher, male = lærer); veninde (female friend or girl friend, boy friend or male friend = ven); væretinde (hostess, male = vært)

Some of the other words in this chapter

Nouns: en ret (-ter, dish, course = German Gericht?); forret (starter); betjening (service); et jordbær (-, strawberry); et skilt (-e, sign); et selskab (-er, party); en sti (-er, path); moms (VAT tax); flødeskum (whipped cream); et helbred (health)

Verbs: komme an på (depend on); påvirket (influenced); lægge mærke til (pay attention to); skille (separate); slå til (be enough for); at lære at kende (to get to know = German kennenlernen)

Adjectives: vigtig (important); udbredt (widespread); spænende (exciting); begge (dele) both; evig (eternal)

Other words: overalt (everywhere); uhyre (hugely = German ungeheuer?); imens (meanwhile); bagefter (afterwards); lige meget (equally)

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