Dialogue

Vocabulary

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Lesson Notes

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Lesson Transcript

INTRODUCTION
Gina: Hello and welcome back to DanishClass101.com. This is Absolute Beginner season 1, lesson 7, Give in to Your Curiosity and Ask “What's This?” in Danish. I’m Gina.
Anna: Hej! And I’m Anna.
Gina: In this lesson you’ll learn how to ask and answer what something is.
Anna: Asking and answering what something is helps you to expand your vocabulary, practice listening, and speak Danish.
Gina: Let’s get started!
Anna: The conversation takes place at someone’s home and is between a parent and a child.
Gina: The speakers are a mother and son, and they are speaking standard Danish.
DIALOGUE
Mother: Sikke en fin tegning! Hvad er det?
Son: Det er en zoologisk have.
Mother: Hvad forestiller det der?
Son: Det er en elefant.
Mother: Okay. Hvad med den der?
Son: Det er jo en abe, mor!
Mother: What a nice drawing! What is it?
Son: It's a zoo.
Mother: What is this meant to be?
Son: It's an elephant.
Mother: Okay. How about that one?
Son: (Don’t you see) that is a monkey, Mom!
POST CONVERSATION BANTER
Gina: Okay, so what can you tell us about asking questions in Denmark, Anna?
Anna: Hmm… First, you need to know that Danes may come off as a bit reserved and not really approachable.
Gina: I can imagine that’s because it’s so cold most of the time. I mean, especially when outside, I would want to get from A to B as quickly as possible, too.
Anna: (laughs) Perhaps, but nevertheless you should not hesitate to ask random people on the street about what something is. They will be more than happy to answer as best they can.
Gina: But what if you don’t understand the answer you get in Danish?
Anna: Well, most Danes speak sufficient English, so don’t worry too much about that.
Gina: Great!
KEY VOCAB AND PHRASES
Gina: Let’s take a closer look at the usage of some of the words and phrases from this lesson.
Anna: First we have Hvad forestiller det?
Gina: It means “What is it, this, or that meant to be?” and is a way of asking more technically what something is, for example, in relation to arts and crafts.
Anna: Next is Hvad med.
Gina: This means “What about” or “How about.” This is either followed by an indefinite article and a noun, a noun with a definite suffix, a personal pronoun in the oblique case, a possessive pronoun and at least one noun, by an action, or something else. This may seem overwhelming, but it's used the same way in Danish as "what about" is in English.
Anna: Yes, that’s right.
Gina: What’s next?
Anna: Next is jo.
Gina: As an interjection or noun it means “yes.”
Anna: It’s a more casual version of ja, but it can also be used to express doubt and uncertainty.
Gina: For example, if someone wants you to confirm something, you can use jo because it sounds less certain, right?
Anna: Correct! But on the other hand, if you say it like this jo, then it can also mean “ofcourse” or “obviously.”
Gina: Can you give us some examples?
Anna: Jo can be used as an adverb or conjunction in Du har jo set filmen før, which means “You have already watched the movie.”
Gina: And…
Anna: Men det er jo min bedste ven, which means “But this is my best friend, after all.”
Gina: It can also mean “the” in the expression “the sooner the better.”
Anna: Exactly! And finally, jo can also be used to express that you find something very obvious. For example, Han har jo ingen penge, meaning something like “(Don’t you see) he doesn’t have any money.”
Gina: So, it’s when something is obvious to you but not to the person you’re talking to?
Anna: Obviously, (laughs).
Gina: Okay, now onto the grammar.
GRAMMAR POINT
Gina: In this lesson you will learn how to ask and answer what something is. Anna, can you tell us how to ask about what something is in Danish?
Anna: Hvad er (...)?
Gina: In English, this means “What is (...)?,” so it’s a very straightforward sentence structure that is easy to use.
Anna: That’s right. First, you have the pronoun hvad, and secondly the verb er, which is the present tense form of “to be,” or være in Danish.
Gina: If we add the pronoun det to the sentence, you are literally asking “What is it?,” “What is this?,” or “What is that?”
Anna: Yes, Hvad er det? can be used when referring to the object, item, or phenomenon you are asking about as det, or “it.”
Gina: So how do we answer this question?
Anna: We do that by saying Det er (...)? which means “It is (...),” “This is (...),” or “That is (...).”
Gina: Once again, the pronoun det refers to whatever you were asking about.
Anna: And now, you're ready to add the noun or description that matches the object in question.
Gina: Let’s hear it one more time.
Anna: Det er (...).
Gina: Great. What else can you tell us about these useful phrases?
Anna: Well, like in English, you can specify your question by adding a subject at the end of the phrase Hvad er (...)?
Gina: Can you give us an example?
Anna: (laughs) sure! Hvad er fuldkornsbrød?
Gina: Which means…
Anna: “What is wholemeal bread?”
Gina: That’s really… Random.
Anna: Okay, here’s another one then. Hvad er navnet på det dyr?
Gina: Which means “What's the name of that animal?” Right?
Anna: You are absolutely spot on!

Outro

Gina: So I guess that’s all for this lesson, huh, Anna…
Anna: Yes, but make sure to check out the lesson notes for more examples and Danish language tips!
Gina: We promise it’s worth your while! Until next time, listeners!
Anna: Hej hej!

11 Comments

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DanishClass101.com Verified
Wednesday at 06:30 PM
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Hello Listeners! Hvad er det, du spiser?

Team DanishClass101.com
Thursday at 06:00 PM
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Hej Sergiu Marian Leustean


Thank you for commenting.


Here is a little feedback on your Danish for you:

"Sykke en godt foredrag! Tak for din stotte!" --> "Sikke et godt foredrag! Tak for din støtte!"


These could easily be typos though :smile:


If you have any questions, please let us know.


Mange tak!


Amalie

Team DanishClass101.com

Sergiu Marian Leustean
Thursday at 02:27 AM
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Sykke en godt foredrag ! Tak for din stotte !

Team DanishClass101.com
Thursday at 08:40 PM
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Hej SANTHOSH SHIVARUDRAIAH


Thank you for your comment and for sharing.


Jeg spiser også brød. ("I also eat bread."/"I eat bread too.")


If you have questions, please let us know.


Mange tak!


Amalie

Team DanishClass101.com

SANTHOSH SHIVARUDRAIAH
Wednesday at 08:49 PM
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Hej,


Jeg spiser brød og du :)


Mange Tak,

SANTHOSH SHIVARUDRAIAH

Team DanishClass101.com
Tuesday at 05:45 PM
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Hi Kats,


Thank you for commenting.


You were very close to saying "What a day!" in Danish.

The correct phrase is "Sikke en dag!"


If you have any questions, please let us know.


Thank you!


Amalie

Team DanishClass101.com

Kats
Sunday at 10:54 PM
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Sikke er day!!

DanishClass101.com Verified
Tuesday at 06:14 PM
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Hi Anna,


Thank you for your comment.


"Sikke" only means what when it is used in sentences such as "Sikke et vejr!" ("What a wheather!") or "Sikke en skam!" ("What a shame!")


"Hvad" is the "what" you should use at any other time.


I hope this helped you understand the difference.


If you have any other questions, please let us know.


Thank you!


Amalie

Team DanishClass101.com

Anna
Monday at 10:53 PM
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I am having trouble understanding when to use sikke and hvad. They both seem to mean "what" so what determines which of the two you should use in a sentence?

DanishClass101.com Verified
Tuesday at 05:26 AM
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Hi James,


Thank you for commenting.


It is genuine advice as long as you approach people with basic common politeness. Agreed that it is a little forward to just ask random people out of the blue what something is, so it is a good idea to say "undskyld" ("excuse me") before asking your question.


If you have any other questions, please let us know.


Thank you!


Amalie

Team DanishClass101.com

James
Wednesday at 06:03 PM
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"You should not hesitate to ask random people in the street about what something is?"


This seems a little forward - just wondering if this is genuine advice