Why “Rotten Danish”?

The name for this blog, “Rotten Danish”, was the brain child of my colleague, friend and ping-pong sensei Erwin Hom and was chosen of course partly because of my Danish affinities, as most of the posts in this blog will be from my professional life as Danish Linguist, but also the beauty of “Rotten Danish” is in all the ways in which these two words can be ambigous, understood or misunderstood:

Is it a Hamlet reference (“There’s something rotten in the state of Denmark…”)?
Is it talking about the Danish soccer players who beat my favorite team?
Are we talking about the Grauballe Man, the 2000 years old mummified body of an Iron Age Dane found in a peat bog in 1953? That’s quite a rotten Dane, indeed…
Or are we referring to some baked goods, danishes, going bad?
Or is there a live rat involved some place?

Yes! Only two words, and so many possibilities… Enjoy. And join the conversation.

“Postpaid” vs “Post Paid”

“Postpaid” (as opposed to Prepaid) was mistaken for “portofrit” (free shipment) in Danish. The correct translation would be “efterbetalt”, quite different.
Free shipment is “Postage paid” in English.

If something HAS value it is expensive, if it IS a great value, it is cheap. Hmmm…

The English sentence “Our product is a great value” (meaning: is a bargain), gets translated to “Vores produkt har stor værdi” (Our product is worth a lot, i.e. more or less: is expensive), which makes me notice how we some times in English use a word totally opposite of its original meaning.
The current slang use of “sick” as meaning  something GOOD comes to mind, or “downhill from here”, which is good if you’re on a bicycle, but bad if you’re turning 50 years old.
There are more examples of such words, which can mean the exactly opposite depending on context, at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Auto-antonym