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Confusion with The Tips & Notes page for Danish Lesson 1

Firstly I want to say; I have been trying to learn danish and duolingo helps a lot, but I noticed something when I was reading the Tips and notes page for lesson 1.

The page itself reads "Danish has two noun genders: Common (or n-words) and neuter (or t-words). Each of these have their own article for indefinite singular. Common words take en and neuter words take et."

But the page link they offer giving a more indepth look on the noun genders says opposite? it reads "Uncountable common things are usually t-words."

Is that not the opposite? Or is it going over my head and I'm just not understanding? lmfao thanks for your help (in advance lol) everyone!!

1 month ago

2 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/baerghest
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The problem is the word "common". In the first sentence, "common" means fælleskøn (en-words). This is a verbatim translation of the Danish word (fælles= shared, common). Here "common words" are not necessasarily frequent. They are "common" only in the sence of belonging to the "common" gender. In the second paragraph you quote, I think "common" means "ordinary". "Uncountable common things" include materials: the wood, the iron, the cloth, the enriched uraium (træet, jernet, klædet, det berigede uran). These are not fælleskøn, but the words may be common.They are uncountable in the sence that they do not have grammatical plurals. You would say some gold, more gold (noget guld, mere guld), rather than one, two three golds. Confusingly, in English words like "iron" and "wood" have both uncountable forms (for materials: this brigde is made of a lot of iron and a little wood) and countable forms, where "irons" can mean e.g. golf clubs (two different rions, a 3-iron and a 5-iron) and "woods" mean forrests.

Incicentally, there is very little rhyme or reason to gender in Danish. The simplest way may be to learn al four forms of each word as you learn the word (et æble, æblet, flere æbler, æblerne). This will also allow you to deal with irregular definites and irregular plurals (which are most common in words we use frequently).

1 month ago

https://www.duolingo.com/joel73391
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I think the link is using the term 'uncountable common things' to mean everyday nouns that you can't divide easily: you say two cups of tea/coffee/milk/beer, not two teas/coffee/milk/beer (I can only think of liquids as examples). Also the link is using the word common as an ordinary adjective, not the specific name of the Danish gender. I think of the first use of common as 'small c common' & second as 'Common with a capital C'. PS) Common gender in Danish is made of of the old Masculine & Feminine genders merged together, so if you have to guess the gender of a Danish noun the odds are it will be Common not Neuter.

1 month ago
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