Danes in space!! No, sorry, this is about Danes ‘n space

The Danes have actually been to space. First, many Danish companies provided software and equipment to NASA and the European Space Agency, maybe most prominently Christian Rovsing A/S back in the 60s and 70s. In 2015, Andreas Mogensen spent a week in the International Space Station and became the first (and so far only) Danish astronaut. This, of course, was predicted by the hilarious Danish full-length cartoon comedy “Rejsen til Saturn” (Journey to Saturn) from 2008 based on an earlier comic book of the same name.

But, of course, this is not the kind of space, we want to talk about here… Our space-challenge at hand is about whether a space should or should not be inserted between two Danish words. The issue has risen in urgency since the invasion of the English language and its handling of two nouns next to each other, where the first noun actually acts as an adjective describing the other noun. Things like “winter shoes” or “work clothes” are two words in English, where in Danish, since they naturally belong together, they become one word: vintersko and arbejdst√łj. Like the Americans would say: “some things just belong together, like peanut butter and jelly”, where Danes take the consequence of that and make “peanutbutterandjelly”. Just kidding! -Every Dane knows that jelly goes on cheese and not on peanuts. ūüôā

So, writing Danish with some knowledge of English grammar is firstly challenging in regards to whether to separate the words or not (when in doubt, you’re probably right going with a compound word in Danish). The second challenge is purely of Danes’ own making: after you’ve smooshed the two words together, you should also be able to pronounce the resulting word. Yes, some times two words just don’t become one word without putting up a fight. This is typically solved by inserting an extra ‘s’ if, for instance, the first word ends in a vowel and the second word also starts with a vowel. But if the insertion or omission of an ‘s’ produces a new legitimate Danish word , then things get funny. You can produce a brand new word that still has meaning, -just not the meaning you intended.

We caught a few of those one-letter bloopers in a previous posting. Here’s a collection of some further one-letter-off or one-space-too-little golden nuggets:

Danish ==> English
Arbejdst√łj ==> work clothes
Arbejdsst√łj ==> noise in the workplace

Rygbænke ==> back benches (exercise equipment)
Rygebænke ==> cigarette smoking benches

Flotte nylonstr√łmper ==> gorgeous nylon stocking
Flotte nylonstr√łmer ==> a gorgeous policeman made of nylon

Dyreartikler ==> items for animals
Dyre artikler ==> expensive items

Tekstilsalg ==> sale of fabric
Tekst til salg ==> text for sale (like for a blog or an advertising)

B√łrnepuder ==> pillows for children
B√łrnepudder ==> baby powder

Billige kvinder frakker ==> cheap women (in) coats [this is not proper Danish, but I’ve seen an ad with this headline]
Billige kvindefrakker ==> cheap coats for women [this was the intended meaning]

Lederuddannelse ==> Leadership education
Læderuddannelse ==> Education in leather

Uddannet ==> educated
Uuddannet ==> uneducated
Udannet ==> showing bad manners

Buskrydder ==> a hedge trimmer [=busk+rydder]
Buskrydder ==> an alcoholic drink (a bitter) enjoyed on the bus [=bus+krydder]

Bærbusk ==> berry bush
Bær busk ==> carry a bush

Forretning ==> business
Forrentning ==> interest on a loan

Fladskærm ==> flat screen
Faldskærm ==> parachute

Skifte tid ==> to change time
Skiftetid ==> shift-hours, duration of a work shift
Skift tidsplan ==> change time schedule (skift is here a verb, so no compounding)
Skiftetidsplan ==> shift-schedule (dash – is there because otherwise ‘shift schedule’ is ambiguous in English)

Slagterpigerne ==> the Butcher Girls
Slagter pigerne ==> (he/she) butchers the girls

Skær sild ==> cut the herring (fish)
Skærsild ==> purgatory

Krabbe kl√łr ==> a crab is itching
Krabbekl√łr ==> crab claws

And some naughty ones! :):

Sameje ==> joint ownership
Samleje ==> intercourse

Bedstemors boller ==> grandma’s bread rolls
Bedstemorboller ==> grandma’s bread rolls [here the compounding results in REMOVAL of the s]
Bedstemor boller ==> grandma is having sex

F√łrstegangsydelse ==> First installment (of a loan payment)
F√łrstegangsnydelse ==> Enjoying the first time

Bl√¶re r√łv ==> bladder (and) ass [human parts]
Bl√¶rer√łv ==> a boaster, a braggart

Fællesspisning ==> a community dinner
Fællespisning ==> group pissing

In 1986 a group of performance artists actually on purpose tricked the Copenhagen magistrate to give them a permit for f√¶llespisning, where of course the magistrate believed that they were approving a f√¶llesspisning, as this newspaper clip shows: ūüôā

Doing “number” on you



Not just the handling of numbers themselves, but also translation between English and Danish of the very word Number can do a number on any unsuspecting bi-linguist.

In English, the word Number has at least three distinct possible meanings. Since it remains the same word, this is not always apparent to an English-speaker. In Danish, each of those three meanings must be addressed by its own DIFFERENT word: nummer, antal or tal. And there are further complications (and an English-language idiom mystery explained)… But more about those later.

In Danish, “nummer” must be used when English number is approximately synonymous to “a number/label displayed on something” or “a ranking achieved“, “antal” is used when¬†English a number (of) is approximately synonymous to “a count of“, and lastly “tal” is used when number is approximately synonymous to digit.

English ==> Danish:

The number of solutions to this equation is three ==> Antallet af l√łsninger til denne ligning er tre

The number 2 is one of the solutions ==> Tallet 2 er en af l√łsningerne

Replace batteries with the same number and type of batteries as originally installed in the equipment ==> WRONG!: Udskift batterier med batterier af samme nummer og type som de oprindeligt installerede i udstyret (this is correct Danish, but the wrong meaning “use batteries with the same number printed on them”) CORRECT!: Udskift batterier med samme antal og type af batterier som de oprindeligt installerede i udstyret (this is the correct meaning: “use the same number of batteries”)

He lives on Baker Street, in number 221B ==> Han bor på Baker Street i nummer 221B.

He finished the triathlon bike race in second place ==> Han kom ind i triathlon cykell√łbet som nummer 2

You could not see his number on his bike racing shirt ==> Man kunne ikke se hans nummer p√• hans cykeltr√łje


Paint by numbers ==> Paint-by-numbers, mal med tal

Strength in numbers ==> Styrke i tal

There’s a fourth possible translation for number: When English number refers to an unknown amount of (somethings), Danish often prefers to use the Danish word for a row: r√¶kke instead:

English ==> Danish:

This equation has a number of solutions ==> Denne ligning har en r√¶kke l√łsninger

That happened a number of years ago ==> Det skete for en række år siden

It should also be noted that the abbreviation of “number” is DIFFERENT in Danish and in English:
Danish: nr.
English: no.

But wait, there’s more very interesting “number theory”:¬† the word nummer has two further meanings in Danish that it does not in (current) English. Et nummer is also an act that a performer performs. Typically a short second-rate act, like a magician’s trick or a circus act. Or an encore at a concert is “an extra number”: et ekstranummer.

English ==> Danish:

And then he did this stupid thing ==> Og så lavede han det her dumme nummer

So, in Danish the expression “do a number on someone” makes perfect sense! You’ve been exposed to a cheap magical trick, you’ve been duped, cheated. This is interesting because, a simple Google search for “origins of “did a number on me”” reveals that English-speakers and language specialists are generally very puzzled by the origins of this expression and can’t offer a logical explanation. In (current) English it makes no sense. Could it be that the expression has been actually adopted from Danish? I would venture to postulate that. ūüôā

The other Danish meaning of nummer is not what you’d expect: the cute name for the behind that we sit on is en numse. This¬†often gets made further cute by referring to it as et nummer. So, visiting ladies: when a Danish man on the street tells you in passing that you have an excellent number, “sikke et fint nummer!”, he is most likely NOT referring to your height or your bank account… ūüôā

Du kan f√• bank, kan du!…



Let’s talk banking, money. Always a touchy subject. Danish language may have it just right, as the word “bank” means both “getting beaten up” and “a banking institution”. Thus the title of this posting is actually saying “Do you want to get beaten up, do you!”, but it can ALSO mean “You are welcome to have a bank, yes you are!”. Unfortunately, I am not Rockefeller, so no banks shall be given away here. ūüôā

Danish  ==>  English
At f√• bank —> To get a beating
En bank —> ¬†A bank, a financial institution
Et bank —> ¬† ¬†A beating, a knock

As is often the case in Danish, when you go plural an ‘a’ becomes an “√¶” – and that would be that-, but not at all in this case:

Danish  ==>  English
B√¶nk¬†—>¬†A bench (to sit on), just one.
Banker¬†—> ¬†Banks (noun, plural of bank)
Banker —> Beats, hits (verb)
Flere¬†bank —> ¬†Several beatings
Flere banker —> Several banks
B√¶nke ¬†—> Benches

In English, banks normally deal with “Finances” while “the Economy” is the larger underlying nationwide climate. For some reason, the Danes decided to use these two words differently. And English, of course, offers its own challenges with “economic” and “economical” meaning two different things:

English ==>  Danish
Economy —> ¬†√ėkonomi
Personal finances —> Privat√łkonomi
Secretary of Treasury¬†—> Finansminister
Government Finances¬†—-> Statsfinanserne
Economic¬†trends —> Konjunkturer
Being economical–> At¬†v√¶re sparsommelig

In Danish, as in English, an “institute” is usually a dedicated place of learning found at an university, while an “institution” is something else. On the surface the two languages seem in agreement, However, over the years, Danish has used the word “institution” to refer¬†largely to places where you get “institutionalized” , such as orphanages or mental wards at hospitals. This may therefore explain why a bank, a “financial institution” is NOT an “institution” in modern day Danish, but an institute. Totally wrong, or…? After all, maybe you are not entirely crazy putting your money into a Danish bank, but as the old saying goes: “First you have the money and the bank has the experience. Then they invest it, and you gain¬†the experience and they have your money”… So yes, in Denmark a bank is a “money institute”, a place where, I guess, the lessons will be repeated until they are learned….

English ==>  Danish
An institution—> ¬†En institution
An institute¬†—>¬†Et institut
Financial¬†institution —> Et pengeinstitut (NOT “en pengeinstitution”).

Of course, once you give your money to the bank, you expect something in return, like say regularly deposited interest payment on your money. The bank will give you some “small print” paperwork to sign and like many translators you may get very confused between these two very similar Danish words:

Danish  ==>  English
Forretningskrav¬†—>¬†Business¬†requirements
Forrentningskrav —> “Interest requirements”, minimum rate of return on capital,

Speaking of one-letter differences: In English there is “Banking” and there is “Baking”. In a very strange way, the two were interchanged the other day, as I received a poorly translated Danish financial document to proofread. The English translation read: “You have bought 1000 ABC¬†securities for ¬†XY Danish kroner. The securities will be deposited into¬†your¬†custodial depot and XY kroner will be raised on your account on May 15,¬†2015″.

“Raised on your account”?¬†What kind of strange English was that?… And then it dawned on me, that the same Danish word “at h√¶ve” has¬†both a baking and a banking meaning. These two have nothing at all to do with each other, but Google Translate did not see the difference.¬†And also in Danish, you withdraw the money “on” the account and not “from” the account…:-)

Danish  ==>  English
At h√¶ve —-> To rise (baking)
At h√¶ve —-> To withdraw (banking)
Br√łddejen h√¶ver¬†—>¬†The bread dough rises (a baking term)
Vi h√¶ver p√• kontoen—>¬†We will withdraw from the account (a banking term)

In fact, Google Translate is blissfully unaware of the banking version of the word:

hævet på Google Transalte

And we won’t even talk here about translating the term “a money shot”…

Banking and investments¬†present various risks of monetary loss to the uninitiated. Besides monetary losses, we can now also add the danger of being lost in translation… ūüôā

The-Looney-Tunes-Show-Peel-of-Fortune-has-Daffy-strike-it-rich Money_Pink_Floyd maxresdefault

You can get “get”, if you really try…



The strange and many meanings of the word “get”: Watching a movie on TV the other night, the plot involved someone saying something very true to someone who was¬†not in the mood to listen to it, so the words¬†¬†“get out!” got¬†yelled out¬†on the screen. Then some building fire ensued and this time what was uttered was “get Fluffy (the dog) and get out!!”. Nothing strange there, one would think. Unfortunately, with the¬†linguistic mind turned on, rather than paying attention to the unfolding drama on the flickering screen, what I noticed was the peculiarity¬†of the English language, as illustrated by these common “get <something>!” exuberances. “Get¬† out” seems to make no sense, when compared to “get Fluffy”. You “get” Fluffy the dog by catching the dog, -but how do you “get” or catch an¬†“out”??… In the TV-drama, I think the disgruntled husband was a suspect regarding starting¬†the fire that endangered Fluffy, but I really can’t tell you much more than that ūüôā The English word “Get” is generally understood to mean “acquire” or “bring”, especially when followed by a noun, like in

get a hammer
get Fluffy
get some money

Since the implied motion of the get-events above is towards me, so to speak¬†(by getting the hammer, Fluffy or money I bring them towards me), it struck me as odd that “get out!” then means exactly the opposite, getting away from something or someone. I didn’t quite¬†get it… Ha ha. The explanation is that “get” has this other very peculiar meaning or usage in English when followed by a adverb or an adjective: then it means “bring yourself into¬†the state of being <adverb or adjective>: Very¬†clever, that three letters G, E and T can replace all that!:

Get wealthy => Bring yourself into the state of being wealthy
Get happy ==> Bring yourself into the state of being happy
Get going ==> Bring yourself into the state of being in motion
Get out   ==> Bring yourself into the state of being OUT(side)

-and just when it all starts making logical sense, no language would be a human language if there weren’t a few exceptions*: *Actually there are many, many more. See Post Scriptum below.

Get lucky ==> Go have sex! Unless you’re on your way to Las Vegas, then indeed “bring yourself into the state of being lucky”
Get off ==> Slang: Finish having sex, orgasm.
Get it ==>    Understand
Get with it ==> Follow a trend
Get-go   ==> From the beginning
Get down  ==> In modern English: Get happy. Which strangely enough is the exact opposite of being down (and depressed).

And picking from¬†the movie idea that inspired this post, if James Bond chased a villain named Out, then “Get Out” would mean “Bring her/him here”, while “Get out” (without the capitalization) would send Mr. Bond in the opposite direction… I can’t wait to see this idea brought out in the next Bond movie (all right reserved)… James Bond might have a thoughtful moment pondering: “Which Out, did Q mean?? Do I go right or go left now? Do I go in or do I go out?”… Ah, forGET it… ūüôā

—————————————————————————————————– Post Scriptum (August 7, 2014): According to The Oxford Dictionary’s definition of the word “get”, it seems that I only scratched the surface in my blog regarding the multiple uses and varied meanings of “get”. There must be at least 30 more different meanings of “get”… Interestingly, from the Oxford Dictionary::

Usage of get
The verb get is in the top five of the most common verbs in the English language. Nevertheless, there is still a feeling that almost any use containing get is somewhat informal. No general informal label has been applied to this dictionary entry, but in formal writing it is worth bearing this reservation in mind.

Origins of get
Origins of the word: “Middle English: from Old Norse geta ‘obtain, beget, guess’; related to Old English gietan (in begietan ‘beget’, forgietan ‘forget’), from an Indo-European root shared by Latin praeda ‘booty, prey’, praehendere ‘get hold of, seize’, and Greek khandanein ‘hold, contain, be able’. Jimmy Cliff english-getout you-got-99-on-test-why-you-not-get-100-get-out Slade Get with it AnimalsWeGotta SATISFACTION

Is it hard to figure out what goes where and which does what? Well, it can be hard or hardly…



Take the simple word “Take”: The same English word is both a noun (“a take“, referring to recording a movie scene) and it is also a verb (“to take”). Simultaneously, the cousin-word “taken” doubles as both past tense of the verb, and an adjective, AND an adverb. Wow, English can be so concise! ūüôā The tendency of the English language to often use the same exact word for all grammatical variations can make it some times¬†hard to understand the English at hand, not to mention the challenges of localizing to a different language. On one hand: you can have something absolutely correct because in English the noun, the verb, the adjective or the adverb are often the very same word. On the other hand: it can be absolutely wrong: the sameness of two English words can make the word(s) slip through the localization/translation machinery and appear at the other end in entirely wrong shape for the target language.

Examples:

A web site button labelled “Pay” —> This is an order to pay for merchandise, which in Danish would have the correct translation: “Betal”. Database-based “translation systems” that hold single words and sentences of a web site in different languages can some times be too simplistic in their approach… So, next time these systems encounter the word “Pay” they often would go: “Aha! “Pay”, we’ve seen that before, we have a match, let’s insert the Danish word “Betal” then”. And that would be incorrect.
While English uses the same word in a request to pay and in a sentence about payments, in Danish they would be two words with different endings:

English ==> Danish
To pay –> At betale
Would you like to pay? –> Vil du gerne betale? (loses prefix “at”)
Please pay! –> Betal venligst! (loses -e at the end)

Danish generally has two forms of a verb: the passive one ends with an -e and in the active version the ending -e is omitted. Things get much worse for Slavic languages where you can have up to 7 different endings of a verb depending on inflection.

And just when one thinks one has figured it out, one hasn’t:

The English adjective “hard” has two different adverbs, -which mean exactly the opposite of each other!

English ==> Danish
He works hard –> Han arbejder h√•rdt
He hardly works –> Han arbejder¬†knapt nok

Puzzling and mysterious indeed… :-)¬†Work Hard2wurkkitteh

Danish: N√•r skibet er i fart, s√• ved jeg, at jeg lever ≠ English: I fart, therefore I am.



Danish city names… Many of them are funny-sounding even in Danish. Behold this little poem, I found on the web, sharing the wonder of Danish city names with English speakers:

Do you come from Dog-place (Hundested)?
Or maybe Newcastlle (Nyborg)?
Could it be from Get-castle (Fåborg)?
No, I am certain you are from the city of Medium-speed (Middelfart).
Or is that Medium-velocity???

Ah, the Danish word “Fart”… It means nothing naughty in Danish. Just the same as the German word for “Speed”, “Fahrt” – except the Danes made it even faster by omitting the anyway silent “h”. The legend has it that when Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain visited Denmark, the signs on Danish elevators saying “I fart” (“In motion”) were discreetly covered up in order not to offend Her Majesty.

Yes, it’s true:

Middelfart Yes

 Danish ==> English:
Fart ¬† –> ¬†Speed, Velocity
I fart –> In motion. moving
Middelfart –> The city of Middelfart
Middel fart ¬†–> Middle speed
Fartplan –> (Train, bus) schedule
Fartkontrol –> Speed check
Turistfart –> Tourist coach, tourist bus
Himmelfart –> (Divine) Ascension
Kristi Himmelfart –> (Christ’s) Ascension
Kristi Himmelfartsdag –> Ascension Day, Ascension Thursday (40 days after Easter resurrection)
Overfart –> (Ferry) crossing
God overfart –> Have a good crossing, a safe trip

Here is a couple of bi-lingual signs on the ferry between Branden and Fur, near Skive in Jutland. The Danish sign wishes you “God overfart”. Do not be alarmed. We’re not talking about divine flatulence in Danish. but merely a wish for a pleasant crossing. All 3 minutes of it. Yes, that’s how long it takes for the ferry to cross the waters between Branden and Fur.
And let me mention that the island of Fur is definitely worth a visit (unique fossils in layers millions of years old):.

Denmark 2013 707 DanskDenmark 2013 708 Eng Circled

Anyway, good-bye for now. I am off to the beautiful city of Assens!:
ūüôā

Denmark 2013 491 Assens 20

I am not making this stuff up! Nor down…



This morning my Danish-American better half uttered in Danish: “S√• han blev beskyldt for at lave ting op”. This is a word-by-word, “I am not quite awake”-type direct translation of English that she and I catch ourselves doing and which amuses us tremendously whenever we do catch these “Danglish” slip-ups. -And puzzles our Danish friends whenever the internal language filters don’t go in effect in time… ūüôā

What she meant to say (in English) was: “So, he was accused of making things up”, i.e. conjuring things, letting his fantasy run. One can see that English and Danish share similar roots in that the preposition “up” also appears in Danish in the translation of this particular meaning of “making up”, however in Danish it goes in front of the word and in Danish you “up-find” things, not “up-make” things.

So far so good, but when one realizes how many meanings “Make up” has in English, things get really, really¬†dicey. If you want to see confusing machine translations, try these:

English ==> Danish:
Make things up (invent)¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† ¬† ¬†–> Opfinde ting
Make up (reconcile, forgive someone) ¬† –>¬† Tilgive, forsones
Make-up (cosmetics)¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† ¬† –> Make-up, makeup, sminke
Make up for lost time¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† ¬† –> Indhente den tabte tid, indhente det fors√łmte
Make up one’s mind¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† ¬†¬†–> Beslutte sig
I’ll make it up to you (I’ll fix the wrongs)¬† –> Jeg vil kompensere dig, jeg vil g√łre det godt igen
Make out with you (passionate kissing)¬†¬† –> Omfavne og kysse dig
Make (verb: to manufacture)¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† ¬†¬†¬†¬†–> Lave
Make (noun: a brand name)¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† –> Varem√¶rke, fabrikat
“Make my Day!” (Dirty Harry)¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† –> ?? (Forsk√łn min dag ?)
Make my bed!¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† –> Red min seng!

Sounds like it’s time for me to make like a tree and leave… ūüôā

94LEj8cP93-10 make my day Make up to you yeah-so-if

My baby just sent me a letter. And the letter is an S?



A letter (i.e. correspondence)  that I write to you is of course made out of single letters (i.e. characters). English has the funny duality of calling these two somewhat different things the same: a Letter.

English ==> Danish
A letter, a character => et bogstav
A letter (correspondence) ==> et brev
A letter (one who rents out an apartment) ==> en udlejer

According to http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/letter¬†this duality between the first two meanings of¬†“Letter”¬†is another remnant of the old Norman/Saxon intermixing of French and Saxon (and Latin and Greek and other…) words, which through perturbation of centuries have become the same in modern English. So, in old French a single character of the alphabet¬†was Lettre and in Latin it was Littera. (A large collection of letters is of course Literature in Latin – an expression well known in English and most other languages today). There is a verb in French pertaining to a person combining multiple characters: lettr√© (~to spell out, transliterate). That is probably the origin of the other meaning of the English “Letter”, as when writing correspondence. Because¬†one is indeed combining letters when writing a letter (“On lettr√©” in French)…

But that was not the intended¬†topic of this blog-post… Funny things happen when a single letter sneaks its way into or out of¬†a sentence:

English ==> Danish
0% interest (banking term) ==> rentefrit
0 interest (i.e. “zero interest”, “I am not interested”)¬† ¬†==> ingen interesse

Danish ==> English
Hr. Jensens kridtholder ==> Mr. (teacher) Jensen’s chalk holder
Hr. Jensens skridtholder ==> Mr. (teacher) Jensen’s jock strap

Positionspil ==> An arrow showing your position (on a map)
Positionsspil ==> A game based on position (like chess)

Klik på flisen ==> Click on a tile (like in Windows 8)
Klik p√• fissen ==>¬†Click on female genitalia….

Motivational-poster  Anal tvthe-box-tops-the-letter-ricordi-internationalerrorists

“Hellere ramme ved siden af end slet ikke at ramme…”



The title of this posting is one of those untranslatable sayings that makes it fun to study languages and ponder their subtle differences. The simple English word “to miss”, like in “I missed the target” or “I missed the deadline”, does not exist in Danish! Danes either “don’t hit the target” or “hit next to it” or “hit past it”:

English ==> Danish:
I missed the target ==> Jeg ramte ved siden af målet (~I hit next to the target)
I missed the target ==> Jeg ramte forbi målet (~I hit past the target)
I missed the target ==> Jeg ramte ikke m√•let (~I didn’t hit¬†the target)

Thus the popular¬†Danish saying in the title is really a piece of nonsense that says “it’s better to miss the target by hitting next to it than not to hit it at all”. Danes use it congenially¬†as meaning “Better luck next time!”. Of course, one could also put on a pseudo-cultural hat on and “deduce” that, just like Eskimos and native Greenlanders have about 20 different words for “Snow”, so it is also that Danes have at least 3 different degrees of “Missing a target”…. I don’t know what it says about the Danes if it were so… Along those lines, knowing the Danish weather, one would think that it really would be more useful for Danes to have about 20 words for “Rain”. They do. In essence there’s only word for rain (“regn”), but because of the Danish love of compound words you can get a lot of mileage out of that:

English==>Danish:
Rain ==> Regn
Drizzle==> Finregn
Heavy rain==> Styrtregn
Very heavy rain ==> Skybrud (~broken clouds ūüôā )
and efter√•rsregn¬†¬†¬†for√•rsregn ¬† gaveregn¬† hel√•rsregn ¬† kugleregn ¬† slagregn ¬† sm√•regn ¬† sommerregn¬† st√łvregn ¬† vinterregn…etc…

A symmetrical problem occurs when trying to translate the popular English saying “Hit or miss”, like in “In June the weather in London can be hit or miss”, into Danish. You basically can’t do it literally, because in Danish “hit or miss” would become “hit or don’t hit”, which really doesn’t sound like anything worth saying.¬†Instead we have the Danish version of it, which mimics the rhythm with two made-up words: “hip som hap”.

hit-or-miss-7103-scg-7103-003-600x600

has-anyone-seen-dane-dane-missing-nazi-skinhead-hitler-cartm-demotivational-poster-1236530265

 

The Gene Genie



The English sentence said “To generate a one-time passcode, please follow these steps…”, which was translated as “For at genere¬†en engangsadgangskode f√łlg venligst f√łlgende trin…” . The problem here is a simple typographical error. Two Danish words look very much alike, but do not mean the same.

Danish ==> English:
At genere ==> To annoy
At generere => To generate

So the Danish sentence above means something to the extent of “In order to annoy a one-time passcode, please follow these steps…” ūüôā

But that’s not the only problem with Danish “gene”…

English has the antonyms “Advantage” and “Disadvantage”. In German there is “Voorteil” and “Nachteil”. Basically, just from looking at these words, it is obvious that they are somehow related. Danish is, however, quirky in this department. Even Danes scratch their heads about this one (http://sprogvildkab.blogspot.com/2012/08/bagdele.html¬†. Funny!). You see, in Danish the word for Advantage is “Fordel”, which, like in German, is a combination of “for” (English: for, in favor) ¬†and “del” (English: part). The opposite of “Fordel” in Danish is¬†“Gene” or “Ulempe” . There is a fine word “Bagdel”, but that, -to the bemusement and puzzlement of Danes-, means “buttocks, the behind”… Drumroll, please!…. ūüôā

Shape up your butt! :) The Jean Genie