Posted in Denmark, Language

Hopping Mad – A Danish Kangaroo Story

Not everything can be translated, not in the correct way it seems.

I’ve used at least 4 years within the Danish School System. One year to learn Danish, and 3 more to attain a vocation at Business College.

During my 3 year course of learning, I had 3 main subjects and a number of minor ones. There was Danish, English and German, with Danish being the most important.

I think, I must have given my teachers grey hairs, by being the person that I was/am.

I thought that using grammatically correct Danish would be correct, no matter what the subject matter was. I wrote and defended my position, but in the end my teachers would just shake their heads, and wonder why they were blessed with my presence at that school.

It was kind of like writing blogs, just with one reader with a red marker, and the possibility of receiving “likes”, but less likely to do so.

Once I chose to write a story about a Danish man who raised kangaroos in Africa. The setting was right, plus there being a dormant volcano ready to erupt, a love triangle, and a number of play on words, which would show my command of the Danish language.

My teacher disagreed.

  • You can’t say those things in Danish.

Why not?

I used grammatically correct Danish with accepted forms of speech. I was an expert at placing commas near subordinate clauses, and the subject matter was entertaining at best.

  • You can’t say, “The kangaroo was hopping mad”. That term is not found in Danish

That was strange. I just took the verb and added ing (in Danish verb + ende), which would create the progressive form, “hoppende”.

  • No, no, no

The red marker came out, and proceeded to underline, cross out and make a terrible mess of my nice little story.

I found out that translating things from my thoughts in English through Danish were not necessarily those things that worked for everyone else.

Misinterpreting things, as it were

Too bad, it wasn’t the only time in life that I had done that……

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Author:

American living in Denmark.

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