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Danish drinking / du og De

Is there a custom in Denmark for transitioning between du and De? The question arose in the Russian forum - Russians call it пить на брудершавт /pit' na bruderschaft, indicating its German origins. (You do it by linking arms at the elbow and drinking from your mug.) The poster asked what the custom was called in Danish, so I'm doing the research. Or is the use of du so widespread that any customs assoiated with switching to it have died out?


December 28, 2016



As far as I know only the queen is addressed with "De", in all other cases "du" is commonly used.


After doing Russian for so long, it made me uneasy at first to hear reporters on the tv news addressing everybody as "du." Obviously, they weren't interviewing the queen, who I understand speaks a raft of languages herself. And all learned before Duolingo came along to make it easy.


The boss of MEARSK - would have fired you on the spot if you spoke "du" to him. - Just saying, in older and traditional institutions and settings, the reverence form "de" is still very much in use.


I am from Denmark and I never heard anyone use the formal you "De" in danish. That being said, in the old movies (from the 50ies I think) people would address each other in a formal way until they decided otherwise or performed a gesture similar to the German one, where you link your arm and drink from cups in your linked arm :) The custom is called "at drikke dus" : "At drikke"= to drink. "Dus" refers to that you can say "du" instead of "De". I hope it makes sense (:


It makes perfect sense, thank you.. Tusind tak, in fact.

I understand that when "1864" was being shown on tv, some of the younger viewers (like one of the characters in the film) were totally confused by an aged aristocrat's use of De. In English, it would be as though you had to call people "They" to be polite.


"De" as a formal titulation is still in use in the military as a tool of authority and class/level distinctions.

Also (as in french) when adressing older people 65+ they (especially upper class) will really appreciate your "politeness"(.dk = Høflighed) as a sign of you have good manners.

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