Knowing when to use the proper article before a noun in Danish("en" and "et") has to be one of the biggest challenges of learning Danish. Native Danish speakers can easily differentiate between foreigners and immigrants, and those who skipped elementary school or their Danish language classes, by their incorrect or correct usage of the articles "en" and "et", as there is hardly any way of logically deducting when to use which one of the two. When to use "et" or "en" is something you simply have to know by heart, somewhat similar to way that you have to know the gender of a noun in French and German.
Further explanation: All nouns in Danish get the article (the) "embedded" at the end(suffix) of the noun when it is in its definitive form.
So the definite sentence "the man" in English, would translate into "manden" in Danish. The indefinite sentence "a man" translates into "en mand".
However, there are exceptions to this rule: some nouns end on "et" instead of "en" in their definite and indefinite forms.
An example of this would be the (definite) sentence "the house", which translates into "huset" in Danish. The indefinite sentence "a house" translates into "et hus" in Danish. An easy way to figure out what when to use "en" or "et" is to simply look at the last letter of the noun; if it ends on a "t", like "bordet"(the table), you would say "et bord"(a table). And vice versa, if the noun ends on a "n", like "spanden"(the bucket), the appropriate article would be "en spand"(a bucket).
75% or more of Danish nouns follow the before mentioned rule.
Another hurdle you have to get over with Danish, is the muddled nature of pronunciation: When speaking Danish, often the ending of a sentence or word is "swallowed" by the speaker, making it hard for a non-native speaker to make out the word ending and the usage of "en" and "et".
I hope this helps!
There is a little bit of logic to the "en/et" system. If something is inanimate it's more likely to have neuter "et," and if it's living it's more likely to have common "en". 75% of nouns have "en," so if in doubt just use that. Dutch has a gender system like this too.
You are welcome! I am in the process of learning other languages and (general) grammar myself, and writing this answer also helped me in my own understanding.
"Kvinde" and "kvinden" sound the same to me... Is it the audio or do I have to check my ears?
At the end of the word, you should be able to hear a soft "en." Perhaps you could turn your volume louder.
i don't understand why "I am a woman" is an acceptable response considering the lack of an article, can someone enlighten me?
The definite article is a suffix in Danish:
A woman - en kvinde
The woman - kvinden
This is something that many people struggle with, but is very useful to learn as soon as possible.
As ioad wrote, the article is the ending of the noun.
a woman = EN kvinde the woman = kvindEN
a man = EN mand the man = mandEN
an apple = ET æble the apple = æblET
The use of the article 'en/et' in danish does not have the same rules as in English where you in general use 'a', but uses 'an' if the noun starts with a vowel-sounding letter. In danish I am quite sure there isn't these rules, it is simply something you have to know. Same as in German where you just have to know if the noun is male, female or neutral.
I hope it helps
Some people say that "kvind" and "kvinden" sound the same. But i realised that "kvinden" has a soft "en" at the end you barely hear. I found out you can pronounce this by trying to say "en" with your mouth closed. I hope it helps!
in danish and swedish we dont say THE man we put EN at the end of the words. like the swedish word: mannen. one man: en man. THE man: mannEN
Can anyone help me with the pronunciation of kvinde? It's like the "K " and the "V " are pronounced somehow together like a single letter!
Is there an easy way to get the audio on. Settings says it's on. Volume high. What am ok do I g wrong?