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Lesson Transcript

INTRODUCTION
Becky: Hi, everyone, and welcome back to DanishClass101.com! This is All About Lesson 3, Painless Danish Grammar. I’m Becky.
Anna: And I’m Anna. In this lesson, you’ll learn some basic Danish grammar.

Lesson focus

Becky: That’s right, but we’ll just be giving a basic overview. So let’s jump right in.
Anna: First, let’s talk about Danish nouns. There are two genders, which are common and neuter.
Becky: Yes, and even though it can be hard to know whether a noun has a common or neuter gender, you don’t necessarily have to look up every word, because around 75% of Danish nouns have common gender.
Anna: Exactly! So in most cases, the indefinite article that goes in front of nouns is “en.” When a noun has neuter gender the indefinite article is “et.”
Becky: Yes and contrary to English, a singular definite noun is made by placing the indefinite article as a suffix at the end of the noun.
Anna: -En and -et are added to the noun. Let’s break down an example so you can understand what we mean. “By” which means “city” is common gender, which becomes “en by” - the indefinite article appears in front of the noun. In its definite form it becomes “byen” with the article added to the end of the noun.
Becky: The same goes for the nouns that have neuter gender, but when it comes to plural nouns in Danish, things get a little more complicated.
Anna: Yes, there are many irregular nouns with irregular plurals in Danish, but to keep it simple, remembering the suffixes -er and -e for plural indefinite and -ne and -ene for plural definite will get you a long way.
Becky: Now that we’ve covered the nouns, let’s move on to pronouns. There are a few more of them in Danish than in English.
Anna: That’s right, but which one to use depends on person, case, and number just like in English. So basically, if you are familiar with English pronouns, it will be easy for you to learn the Danish equivalents. However, the main differences between Danish and English pronouns are the variations of “you.”
Becky: Could you give us some examples?
Anna: Sure. When “you” is the singular subject in a sentence, it is “du” in Danish. When “you” is the singular object in a sentence, it is “dig” in Danish. When “you” is the plural subject in a sentence, it is “I” in Danish. And finally, when “you” is the plural object in a sentence, it is “jer” in Danish.
Becky: What about the formality level? Is there even such a thing in Danish?
Anna: Well, if you want to, you can use a more formal version of “you” when addressing the elderly, or if you happen to run into royalty one day. “You” as both the singular and plural subject becomes “De.” And “you” as both the singular and plural object becomes “Dem.”
Becky: So I shouldn’t really worry too much about formality levels in Danish, huh? Unless, of course, I want to show the elderly some respect.
Anna: That’s right! AND royal family members. But let’s move on to something even more important about Danish grammar.
Becky: Ah yes - listeners, Danish verbs don’t conjugate the same as in English! Danish verbs have tenses and infinitive forms, but they don’t change according to person or number. Much easier than English, right?
Anna: That’s right. Or is it? The present tense is made by adding -r to the infinitive form of a given verb.
Becky: That seems fairly easy to remember. So what could possibly make it difficult?
Anna: Well, when it comes to the past tense, the verbs are divided into two groups – Weak verbs and strong verbs. The former group indicates the past tense by adding the suffixes -ede or -te, and the latter group forms the past tense with a zero ending and quite often vowel changes.
Becky: Hmm...That does seem to complicate things a little. Let’s look at an example.
Anna: Let’s say, “Yesterday I went for a walk.” In Danish, this is “I går gik jeg en tur.” “I går” means yesterday, “gik” means “went”, “jeg” means “I”, and “en tur” means “a walk.” “I går gik jeg en tur”. “Yesterday I went for a walk.” What do you think the present form of this sentence is?
Becky: Well, that depends on what the infinitive form of the verb is, right?
Anna: Yes. The infinitive form of the verb is “gå”, which means “walk” or “go.” The whole sentence is “Jeg går en tur.” “I’m going for a walk.”
Becky: Great! That’s not bad, right listeners? I’m sure you are up for having a look at the future tense now.
Anna: In Danish, the future tense is formed with the modal verbs “vil” or “skal” and the infinitive form of a given verb.
Becky: So, what else do we need to cover in this basic grammar lesson?
Anna: How about adjectives?
Becky: Yes, let’s talk about adjectives.
Anna: In Danish, there are three types of adjectives, which are the basic or common form, the t-form or neuter form, and e-form or plural/definite.
Becky: The first form is used with singular words of the common gender. The second form is used with singular words of the neuter gender and as an adverb. And finally, the third form is used in the plural and with a definite article, a pronoun or a genitive. Hmm, that sounds a bit confusing. Perhaps an example would help?
Anna: Sure. Let’s use the adjective “god” which means “good.”
Becky: So, the first of the three forms is used with singular words that have common gender.
Anna: Okay, let’s use “by” as our common gender noun again. When we want to say “a good city” it becomes “en god by” in Danish. “En” is the indefinite article, “god” is the adjective “good,” and “by” is the common gender noun for “city.”
Becky: The second form is used with singular words that have neuter gender and as an adverb, but first let’s choose a neuter gender noun.
Anna: How about “hus” which means “house”? When you want to say “a good house” it becomes “et godt hus” in Danish. “Et” is the indefinite article for neuter gender nouns, “godt” is the second possible adjective form of “good”, and “hus” of course means “house.”
Becky: This form is also used as an adverb. For example, if we want to say “He lives well” it becomes...
Anna: “Han bor godt” in Danish. “Han” means “he,” “bor” means “lives,” and “godt” is the second form of “good” when it is an adverb.
Becky: Finally, the third form is used in the plural and with a definite article, a pronoun or a genitive.
Anna: Basically, an -e is added to the adjective so it becomes “gode byer” meaning “good cities,” and “gode huse” meaning “good houses.” With a definite article “the good city” becomes “den gode by.”
Becky: Notice how the definite article is not added to the noun when the noun has an adjective in front of it.
Anna: With a genitive “his good house” becomes “hans gode hus” in Danish. “Hans” means “his,” “gode” is the third form of the adjective “good,” and “hus” still means “house.”
Becky: That’s quite a lot of grammar to remember, but luckily we’re almost done.
Anna: Yes! Finally, let’s have a look at syntax in Danish.
Becky: In other words, sentence structure! The Danish syntax form is basically the same as English with the subject placed at the beginning of the sentence, followed by a verb and an object. In some cases, though, the verb is placed at the beginning of the sentence and then followed by the subject and the object.

Outro

Anna: Okay, that’s all for this lesson! Thanks for listening!
Becky: And we’ll see you next time! Bye!
Anna: Vi ses, farvel!

23 Comments

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DanishClass101.com
Tuesday at 6:30 pm
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Hello Listeners! What Danish Grammar rule is the most complicated for you?

DanishClass101.com
Sunday at 9:42 pm
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Hi Andy,


Thank you for taking the time to give us your feedback. We are always working on improving our materials, and your opinion is highly valuable!


The series "Learn Danish in Three Minutes" is part of the Absolute Beginner level. You can check out more lessons in this level in our Lesson Library:

https://www.DanishClass101.com/lesson-library/absolute-beginner


In case of any questions, please don't hesitate to contact us.


Sincerely,

Cristiane

Team DanishClass101.com

Andy
Tuesday at 4:48 pm
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Hi, I started on this course by watching Dansk in tre minute, which I found a good pace and gives time to rehearse.

The pathways are a little difficult to follow easily. It is not obvious that there are more lessons available in each level.

For example after around 10 lessons on asking certain questions in absolute beginner( which were good), it appeared to take one to the next level of beginner questions which were a big jump. Only by going back and exploring the site did I find more lessons in absolute beginner.

Some of these contain a lot of information four a four minute lesson, too much to take in without visual prompts.

Team DanishClass101.com
Tuesday at 2:38 am
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Hi Julia,


Thank you very much for your comment.


Sorry to hear you are having a hard time learning because of the lack of visual tools etc.


Have you had a look at our "Danish in Three Minutes" series on our YouTube-channel?

https://www.youtube.com/user/DanishClass101


Please do elaborate on how we can improve our lessons, and let us know if you have any questions.


Thank you!


Amalie

Team DanishClass101.com

Julia
Wednesday at 7:48 am
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Hello up there,

my comment will be, I am a visual learner and I find your course lacking manipulatives and visual tools to learn, there for I am having a hard time learning.

Julia

Team DanishClass101.com
Tuesday at 6:31 am
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Hi Jose,


Thank you for commenting.


You can either add "tak" at the end of the sentence, or you can start your sentence by saying "Vær venlig at," which literally means "Be kind to [verb in infinitive form]."


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


Thank you!


Amalie

Team DanishClass101.com

Team DanishClass101.com
Tuesday at 6:24 am
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Hi Lydia Vasileva,


Thank you for your comment.


I agree. If you have studied German or English, you will definitely have some advantage.


If you have any questions, please let us know.


Thank you!


Amalie

Team DanishClass101.com

Jose
Friday at 10:20 am
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How do you say please?

Lydia Vasileva
Thursday at 8:49 pm
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Danish grammar is fairly easy to understand if you have studied German and English. You can find common grounds with the two and it becomes really familiar.

Team DanishClass101.com
Monday at 8:08 pm
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Hi Russ,


Thank you for commenting.


Other listeners have also described this lesson as being quite heavy on the linguistic side and complex, and therefore required some extra time and work to become familiar with all the grammatical terms. However, spending that extra time going over the different parts of the lesson again paid off in the end, even though it might be anything but painless.


Hope you will continue to learn Danish with us, and if you have any questions please let us know.

We are hear to help!


Also, we recommend listening to some Danish music or watching some Danish TV-series if you want your ear to become attuned to the Danish pronunciation quicker.


Thank you!


Amalie

Team DanishClass101.com

Russ
Thursday at 3:13 am
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I had a dentist convince me of a "painless" root canal once also. Shame on me for falling for that again.


Seriously though, without the lesson notes the audio would be nearly incomprehensible since I am just starting out and my ear isn't very attuned to the Danish pronunciations yet. Also, I have been out of school for quite some time and have a rusty grasp of the grammatical terms used.


Having said all that, the structure of the language IS interesting and not overly complicated at this stage and I hope it becomes more natural as my familiarization increases. I understand the lessons are meant to be bite sized but this could have been broken into two or three lessons perhaps. (I'm not angry or frustrated but this lesson was a quantum leap in the concentration required compared to the other introductory segments.) Whew!