The Definite and Indefinite Articles of Danish
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The Definite and Indefinite
Articles of Danish

Speakers of most European languages are perplexed when confronted by the practices in Danish and the other Scandinavian languages of the definiteness of a noun being indicated by an article as a suffix. In most of the European language definite/indefiniteness of a noun is indicated by two different article words which precede the noun. Although the Scandinavian practice is novel it is not complicated. The rule is the article word preceding the noun standindefiniteness; the same article word as a suffix stands for definiteness. In Danish the article word depends upon the gender of the noun. For nouns of the common gender the article word is en; for words of the neutral gender the article word is et. For example, en fod a foot, foden the foot and et kort a map, kortet the map.

Most nouns which are the names of beings are of the common gender, but grammatical gender is to a degree arbitrary

There are slight modifications of the rule for the definite article depending upon the last sound in the noun word. If the noun ends in an unstressed e then it is dropped and the article word added. If the noun ends in a stressed e then it is maintained and the article added.

If the noun ends with a stressed e followed by a consonant then the consonant is doubled and article added for the definite article..

If a noun is preceded by an adjective then definiteness is indicated in an entirely different manner. The definite suffix is not added to the noun. Instead the adjective is preceded by den for the singular common gender, by det for the singular neuter gender and de for the plural of either gender. Example: the dog is hunden, but the blue dog is den blå hund.


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