Danish language

(redirected from Old Danish)
Also found in: Dictionary, Acronyms, Wikipedia.
Related to Old Danish: Old Dutch, Old Norwegian, Old Swedish, Old German

Danish language,

member of the North Germanic, or Scandinavian, group of the Germanic subfamily of the Indo-European family of languages. The official language of Denmark, it is spoken by over 5 million people, most of whom live in Denmark; however, there are some Danish speakers in Greenland, the Faeroe Islands, Iceland, and the United States. Like the other Scandinavian languages, Danish is derived from Old Norse, and by the first half of the 12th cent. it could be distinguished from the parent tongue (see Germanic languagesGermanic languages,
subfamily of the Indo-European family of languages, spoken by about 470 million people in many parts of the world, but chiefly in Europe and the Western Hemisphere.
..... Click the link for more information.
; NorseNorse,
another name for the North Germanic, or Scandinavian, group of the Germanic subfamily of the Indo-European family of languages (see Germanic languages). The modern Norse languages—Danish, Faeroese, Icelandic, Norwegian, and Swedish—all stem from an earlier
..... Click the link for more information.
). Between 1100 and 1800 a number of phonological changes took place in Danish, and the grammar became increasingly simple. The spelling and pronunciation of the language began to be standardized c.1700, and a modern standard Danish can be said to have existed since about 1800, although there are still a number of dialects. Danish grammar is comparatively simple. The noun is inflected only to show the possessive and plural forms and has but two genders, neuter and nonneuter (or common). The meaning of nouns that are otherwise the same can depend on gender. For example, when used in the nonneuter øre means "coin," whereas used in the neuter øre means "ear." Homonyms may also be differentiated in Danish by the use of a stød, or glottal stop, which is a sound that results from the closing and opening of the glottis to expel air. Verbs have no personal inflection. Although the vocabulary of Danish is substantially native, many words have been borrowed from other languages, notably from Low German in the 14th to 16th cent.; from High German, Latin, and French in the 16th to 19th cent.; and from English since the late 19th cent. Because of the large number of similar and identical words in Danish, Norwegian, and Swedish, a knowledge of any one of these languages makes it possible to understand the spoken and written forms of the other two. Since c.1100, Danish has used the Roman alphabet, to which three symbols representing three vowels, å (before 1948 written as aa, which still is used in some place and personal names), æ, and ø, have been added.


See L. F. A. Wimmer, A Short History of the Danish Language (1897); Danish grammars by E. Bredsdorff (1959) and E. Norlev and H. A. Koefoed (3d ed. 1968).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved. www.cc.columbia.edu/cu/cup/
References in periodicals archive ?
Two of the suspects and the other juvenile were apprehended on Friday for gang- raping the 51- year- old Danish woman .
At first sight the old castle and its moat seemed the perfect dramatic setting for Shakespeare's tragedy, but as the scenes went on it became evident that the old Danish tale would remain as foggy as a half-forgotten nightmare.
ISLAMABAD -- APHC leader and the Chairman Islamic Political Party (IPP), Mohammad Yousuf Naqash Tuesday led a party delegation to the residence of a 12-year old Danish Salman of Palpora, Noorbagh, in Srinagar who drowned in Jhelum after trying to save himself from the wrath of brutal occupational forces last week.
TWO DAYS after a 51- year- old Danish woman was robbed and gang- raped at knife- point near New Delhi Railway Station, the Delhi Police on Thursday arrested a third accused and detained another person for their alleged role in the crime.
Johansen, who rejoins his old Danish club in the summer, scored one spectacular goal and had a telling foot in the others, netted by Icelanders Bergsson and Gudjohnsen.
But Rieper knows the main stumbling block to Celtic's dreams of title glory is his old Danish pal Laudrup, and it is up to him to put the shackles on the Rangers hero.