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Basics

Basics 1 is the first skill in the English to Danish tree in the first row. It contains 3 lessons teaching the most basic elements to creating one's first sentences.

22 vocabulary words are learnt in this skill: kvinde, jeg, dreng, pige, en, er, du, mand, han, og, hun, et, æble, spiser, kvinden, manden, brød, drikker, vand, brødet, vandet, æblet.

The skill introduces Danish's two genders as articles paired with the nouns.

Tips and Notes Edit

Nouns Edit

Danish has two noun genders: Common (or n-words) and neuter (or t-words). Each of these have their own article for indefinite singular. Common words take en and neuter words take et.

In this skill you will only be dealing with indefinite and definite, singular nouns such as a boy, the woman etc. The following skills will gradually introduce you to the plural forms.

Unfortunately, in Danish there is no certain way to tell from a noun which gender it is. So this you will have to learn by heart. There have been made attempts to develop a pattern for determining the gender of a noun from the word itself, and one such can be found here.

The short version is that about 80% of nouns are common gender (taking en as the indefinite article), including most living and animate entities.

The Definite Form Edit

Instead of marking the definite form with an article, Danish uses postfixing. Simply put, the indefinite article is appended to the end of the noun to mark definiteness: -en for common gender and -et for the neuter gender.

  • en mand (a man, common gender) adds -en and becomes manden (the man)
  • vand (water, neuter gender) adds -et and becomes vandet.

If the noun already ends with -e most often only -n (for common) or -t (for neuter) is appended:

  • et æble (an apple, neuter gender) becomes æblet (the apple).

To see how simple this really is, have a look at this table:

Indefinite article Definite postfix
en -en
et -et

In some cases an article is used instead of a postfix to mark the definite form, for example when modifying the noun with an adjective. But do not worry about this for now, it will be explained later :) Furthermore, just to ruin the beautiful simplicity, some nouns change an internal vowel when put in the definite - Again, more about this later.

Subject Pronouns Edit

Subject pronouns are used to indicate the person performing an action: In the sentence you drive a car, the word you informs us who is driving the car.

While this particular skill only involves singular subject pronouns (I, you, and he/she, specifically), we will show you all the (personal) subject pronouns here for completeness. Don't worry, we'll include this table again later when the rest of the subject pronouns are introduced!

English Danish
I jeg
you (singular) du
he, she, it han, hun, den/det*
we vi
you (plural) I**
they de

*) Depending on the grammatical gender of the subject. As a rule of thumb, use den for all living things, det for inanimate objects.

**) Always capitalized.

Present Tense Verbs Edit

You will love verbs in Danish. They conjugate not for the subject, not for the object, nor for the number of people. They only care about the time (present, past), the aspect (active, passive), and the mood (indicative, imperative). But do not worry about all that just yet, just be overjoyed that there are only seven forms of each verb :)

For now, just know that present tense (things happening right now, or general statements) end in -r, and do not change regarding to the person carrying out the action. As an example, look at the conjugations of at spise (to eat) in the present:

English Danish
I eat jeg spiser
you (singular) eat du spiser
he, she, it eats han, hun, den/det spiser
we eat vi spiser
you (plural) eat I spiser
they eat de spiser

Isn't that beautiful? Similarly, the only form of to be in present (I am, you are, he, she, it is, etc.) is simply er: jeg er, du er, and so on.

To make things even simpler, as to the verb anyway, Danish verbs have no concept of continuous actions such as I am eating. When you say jeg spiser it means all of I eat (in general), I am eating (right now), or I will eat (tomorrow).

Alright, get on it and see you in the next skill!

ReferencesEdit

 

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