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SAY IT IN DANISH makes available to you, in simple usable form, most of the words and sentences you need for travel and everyday living in Denmark. The given English phrases are those shown by experience to be the most helpful. The translations are idiomatic rather than literal, for your primary goal is to make yourself understood. The Danish pronunciation is transcribed for you in the simple phonetic system explained below.
No attempt is made in this book to teach Danish grammar. Almost every given phrase and sentence is complete in itself and can be used without a knowledge of grammar.
The framework is designed to help you form additional sentences of your own. Thus, for the words in square brackets you can substitute the words immediately following (in the sentence or in the indented entries below). For example, the entry
I am [hungry] thirsty.
provides two sentences: "I am hungry" and "I am thirsty." Three sentences are provided by the entry
I am [a student].
—— a teacher.
—— a business man.
As your Danish vocabulary increases, you will find that you can form a wide range of phrases by substituting the proper words in these type-sentences.
Parentheses are used in this book for two purposes:
(1) To indicate an alternative phrase by words that may or may not be wanted in a sentence; example
I (do not) understand.
(2) To enclose explanatory matter; example
(a list of open-faced sandwiches).
Do not be deterred from speaking Danish by the fact that you will undoubtedly make grammatical errors. A native listener will usually grasp what you mean to say. However, you can avoid some errors by paying due attention to the gender of the nouns.
Danish uses two genders: common (en) and neuter (et) ; the indefinite articles. For your guidance, living beings: people, animals, fish, birds, insects, etc., are mostly en. As to the gender of objects, there is no rule; they may be either et or en.
Definite articles are suffixed to the noun. They are en for common gender nouns, et for neuter nouns and ne or ene for plural nouns.
In lists of common objects, dishes, etc., genders are indicated by the use of the definite or indefinite articles.
You will find the extensive index at the end of this book especially helpful. Capitalized items in the index refer to section headings; references to these main sections labeled "p." refer you to the page number. All other numbers in the index refer you to specific entry numbers and they are numbered consecutively from I up.
The primary purpose of the index is, of course, to enable you to locate quickly the specific word or phrase you need at the moment. But it can do more for you. If you will compare the various passages in which the same root-word occurs, you will discover a great deal about its grammatical inflection. You will also discover synonyms, idioms, and other related words.
SAY IT IN DANISH follows the official spelling, according to a revised system introduced in Denmark by law in 1948. This is the spelling visitors are likely to see in public notices, signs, and newspapers.
The simplified phonetic transcription is given as an aid to correct pronunciation of "Rigsdansk" (the acknowledged "high Danish"), omitting the various dialects spoken in Denmark. The transcription should be read as though it were English. Stressed syllables are printed in capital letters. In the phonetic system, consistency is sometimes sacrificed for simplicity and ease of comprehension. You are urged to use it only as a temporary guide. If you study Danish in a class or with a private teacher, you may be asked to omit it in order to avoid confusion with the accepted scientific phonetic system. Like English, Danish spelling and pronunciation are extremely irregular. This system does not attempt to initiate you into all the intricacies of Danish pronunciation but if you will follow the directions outlined below, you should be understood.
Danish vowels consist of one sound only, and are not drawled. Consonants are often blurred. A peculi- arity of the language is the glottal stop which has the effect of cutting off a word in the middle or at the end. It results in an abrupt utterance, followed by a slight sigh.
Excerpted from Say it in Danish by Juliette Victor-Rood. Copyright © 1958 Dover Publications, Inc.. Excerpted by permission of Dover Publications, Inc..
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