It is — arguably — a tricky language for foreigners to learn, but one of the great things about Danish is that you don’t technically need a particularly large vocabulary.
That’s because Danes aren’t very keen on inventing new words, or at least not in the traditional sense. Instead, we create conjoined words out of existing ones that literally – and we really do mean literally – describe the new term.
Here’s a very convenient example: The Danish word for conjoined is ‘sammensat’, which is built up of the two words ‘sat’ (put) and ‘sammen’ (together). Who needs to invent a fancy third word that you need to look up in the dictionary when you just can ‘togetherput’ two that already exist?
Here are our picks for ten awesomely literal Danish words:
Word for word: Tram wagon track dirt scraper
English equivalent: A person who cleans tramway rails.
Word for word: Cooling cupboard
English equivalent: Refrigerator
Word for word: Hand worker
English equivalent: Carpenter, plumber, bricklayer… any kind of blue-collar profession where your work entails doing things around a house. With your hands, obviously.
Word for word: Animal doctor
English equivalent: Veterinarian/Veterinary physician
Word for word: Flying machine
English equivalent: Aeroplane
Word for word: Writing table
English equivalent: Desk
Word for word: Grass hitting machine
English equivalent: Lawn mower
Word for word: Animal club
English equivalent: Haunch of venison
Word for word: Father father/Mother father
English equivalent: Grandfather
And yes, you've guessed it, a Danish grandmother is either mormor (mother mother) or farmor (father mother). We love this one and think the whole world should use it.
Word for word: Breast holder
English equivalent: Brassiere