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  5. "Pigen ønsker sig en hest."

"Pigen ønsker sig en hest."

Translation:The girl is wishing for a horse.

August 27, 2014



Can someone please explain to me why ønsker sometimes means want and sometimes means desire? Like "jeg ønsker et svar" means "I want an answer" but this sentence means "she desires a horse"? Is it when it is used with the reflexive pronoun it becomes desire? What is the nuance between them? Why can I not say "she wants a horse"?


The most literal translation of ønske is to wish. With the added reflexive, it means to wish to own or have something physical -- often for birthday or christmas. So in this sentence, we get the girl wishes (to have) a horse (for christmas/her birthday). You can indeed say she wants a horse (hun vil have en hest) but it sounds a bit rough, like a demand: she demands to have a horse.

Without the reflexive, it is a polite but insisting way of saying you wish to have something non-physical, as in jeg ønsker et svar senest i morgen meaning something like I want to have an answer tomorrow at the latest.

The line between these two is very thin indeed, and people often add the reflexive onto the second use. Danes love their reflexive verbs! In most cases, you can simply strip it off and the meaning is exactly the same.

A third meaning comes with forming the conditional, where you express that you wish something were true: Jeg ville ønske at jeg var højere (I wish I were taller, literally I would wish that I were higher).

PS: If any Danes come a cross this and have a better definition, feel free to correct me!


Actually, as so often with other Germanic languages, it sounds like a colloquial form found in the Southern United States: "The girl wants herself a horse." Of course, in standard American English, we could say "the girl wants a horse for herself.


Yes people do that in Danish, too. You can make pretty much any verb reflexive, without changing the meaning:

  • Jeg løber en tur (I will go for a run, literally I run a trip) --> jeg løber mig en tur.


In English, though, it has come to be non-standard and even sounds comical ("I'm gonna run me a race" sounds like some sort of stereotypical hillbilly character in a cartoon). I think one reason why English speakers have such difficulties with reflexive verbs (and double negatives in the languages that have them), is that there is a stigma attached to those forms in our language.


Lol I read that in the accent of a sweet southern belle.


But if you say "she wishes herself a horse" (as this sentence does) it means she wants to BE one! Why is the reflexive necessary here?


You say that "hun vil have en hest" sounds demanding but would "hun vil gerne have en hest" sound like she wants to have a horse, not that she is demanding a horse. Are ønske and vil gerne have just two different ways of saying would like/wants/wishes for?


why is "is wishing" accepted but then "wish" not accepted?


Than it should be : 'The girl wishES (for) a horse"


'The girl wishes a horse' is not accepted


I skipped "for" and it was given wrong. is it necessary to say "wishing FOR something" I don't think it is "I wish something" sounds fine to me. is it wrong?


In English, I would say yes. "The girl wishes a horse" and "I wish something" sound like incomplete sentences. You either have to include "for", or add a verb to the sentence.

"The girl wishes a horse (would be given to her)."

"I wish something (would happen)"


This is broken for me, the app says I've typed in English regardless of any answer, came here to check if I had the right answer at least! Thanks guys


This literally says, "The girl wishes herself a horse," as though she wants to be one. How does one distinguish in Danish?


A bit late with an answer..
To keep the wish part -> "Pigen ønsker at være en hest." - The girl wishes to be a horse.
But this would be a more natural way to express it: "Pigen vil gerne være en hest." - The girl would like to be a horse.


Look in your backyard!


Why "The girl wishes to have a horse" is not correct?

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