Couldn't "det" be translated also to "this"? If it means "that" and "it" then I suppose we could also translate it to "this". In many cases "this" sounds better that "that" or "it" and I use it instinctively, and I I've lost a couple of hearts on that so far ;) Is there a reason why "det" is not translated to "this"?
"This" is more accurately translated as "dette". The difference being that when you are saying this/dette you are being more specific. You might talk about parrots and say "it is a colorful bird", but if you were standing in front of a parrot you might say "this is a colorful bird"/"dette er en farverig fugl. Having said that i think that "this" should be acceptable.
The Danish language has two genders for its nouns, the fælleskøn or "common gender", and the intetkøn or "neuter". The difference between those is what they do with articles and adjectives in their surroundings. For instance, bil - car is a common gender noun, whose characteristic letter is 'n':
- en bil - a car
- bilen - the car
- en rød bil - a red car
- Den bil er rød. - That car is red.
Let's do the same for æble - apple, which is a neutral noun. The characteristic letter for that is 't':
- et æble - an apple
- æblet - the apple
- et rødt æble - the red apple
- Det æble er rødt. - That apple is red.
I hope you can see the difference. :)