I have a question about the definite form of Danish plural. I have just learnt that you say "piger" (with an "r") and "drenge" (without an "r") and wonder if there are any rules for when to have an "r" in the plural form?
Actually, I was first confused by the definite forms pigerne (with "r") and drengene (without "r"). But I guess that -ne is just the normal ending to the original indefinite forms?
I compare to Swedish, where piger(ne) = flickor(na) and drenge(ne) = pojkar(na).
My grammar book gives the following data:
- 75% of the nouns have this ending in plural
- the most prodcutive at the moment: most new words get this ending
- if the noun ends in -e, the plural adds 'r' (en lampe, lamper or et tæppe, tæpper)
- multi-syllable words usually have (e)r ending (en måned, måneder or et redskab, redskaber)
if the noun ends in -else, - hed, -(n)ing or -ion, it is always an en-word and its plural is (e)r
15% of the nouns get -e in plural (en stol, stole or et hus, huse)
- 10% have the same form in singular and plural (en mus, mus or et glas, glas)
Thanks, RikSha! Not exactly a rule, but definitely a hint. And "dreng" is a single syllable word just like "stol" and "hus" above, so the -e ending makes more sense to me now.
Thank you! There is probably no easy rule, but then it is good to know which is the most common plural ending. If I don't know, I know what to guess at least.
There is really no way to know it. If you're just guessing, then go for -(e)r.
The word, mennesker, is a little tricky, because one could both say menneskene and menneskerne (without and with r). I am sure they are other tricky words too, but I can't really find any right now.