"It is a book."
Translation:Det er en bok.
Could you explain the difference in scenario between "It is a book" and "It hears something"? The answer for "It hears something" is "Den hører noe" but it seems like in that scenario we're still pointing the "something" out. Is it because the thing that's occurring in that sentence is the "thing" is hearing something, as opposed to, in this sentence that "thing" is a book?
Does all that make sense?
I think its because if one were to say It hears something the it has probably been mentioned before whereas it is a book the book is just being mentioned & identified in the sentence. It might also have to do w/ It IS something vs It hears SOMETHING & although english is my first language Im not good w/ its rules & whatnot. But I suppose if youre writing something and saying it hears something and the it hasnt been talked of before den might work
When we introduce a new noun using a pronoun, we default to the neuter form.
This is because the noun is still considered an "unknown" at that point, so the pronoun has nothing to base its gender on; it's more of a placeholder, present to provide the sentence with a subject.
I'll give it a try... In this sentence "det" functions as an "empty" subject - because sentences in Norwegian (and English) must have a subject/"person" doing the "action" described by the verb - as in "It is raining" the "it" is really nothing, but needs to be there to make a grammatical sentence. In Norwegian, this "it" is always "det". To use "den" you need to know that there is a "something" you're referring to that is a masculine or feminine noun.
Thus: "Det regner" = It is raining, But: "Den regner" = It is calculating... (Sorry, couldn't help using a word with a double meaning;)
Det er en bok = There is a book Den er en bok = That thing we're talking about is a book
Sorry, bad explanation! Let's try again... "Den er en bok" is a very unusual statement in Norwegian. You'd have to create a situation where someone asks something like "Is it this thing or that thing that is a book?" and then you can reply "Den er en bok (ikke den)" meaning "this one is a book (not that one)". Any other situation would require you to use "det" as an empty subject, as described above.
What trudeam writes, I agree with. To add my bit: There would be no sense in saying "Den er en bok" as the fact that it is a book is already known, implied in the choice of "den" instead of "det". But you can say, referring to the book, "Den er tung", as a description of the book. But if somebody comes in and sees a package on the table and asks what's in the package, the answer by the person who knows can be "Det er en bok" for the sake of the one who doesn't know and is asking.