"He is eating the pasta."
Translation:Han spiser pastaen.
When should I use ae instead of æ? I was under the impression that æ always replaced the letters ae when put together.
In the Danish alphabet æ ø and å are letters on their own which can be represented by ae, oe, and aa, if the actual characters are not available. Pasta-en is made up of two parts, "pasta" and the "en" (=the) ending to make it definite. For as far as I know (please correct if wrong) they are also pronounced separately (for as far as such is possible in Danish without weird things happening). So, it's purely a coincidence these letters ended up next to each other and it wouldn't make sense to me to combine them into æ.
It would be interesting to hear from a Dane if there are cases where such does happen, written or in the pronunciation. Do you immediately recognize a coincidental ae or would you be tempted to make it into an æ.
In my native Dutch we don't have special characters but always write the additional vowel sounds with two letters. We do have the risk of mispronouncing if such a combination is formed across two syllables, but then again, maybe thinking in terms of syllables and actually pronouncing is a typically Dutch thing ;-p.
You are correct. "ae" is only used to represent "æ" if you are writing on a keyboard that doesn't have Danish letters.
"Pastaen" is pronounced something like [ˈpasdaˀən], it has absolutely nothing to do with "æ".
It isn't hard to type Danish letters. All you have to do is go to Control Panel, add new keyboard, pick English - International, select the keyboard on the little icon that appears on your homebar and then push RightAlt and the Z button for æ, RightAlt and the W button for å, and RightAlt and the L button for ø.