Copenhagen Business School
Danish, a Scandinavian (North Germanic) language, is spoken by about 5.5 million people in Denmark and by minorities in Schleswig (Northern Germany). It is also used as a second language in Greenland and the Faroe Islands. In its phonology, Danish is like the other Scandinavian languages a two accent language, the two word tones of Swedish and Norwegian correspond to presence and absence of a glottal catch (the so called stød). A rather simple consonantal system is supplemented by an extraordinary rich array of vowels. The morphology is like that of the other Scandinavian languages relatively simple: no inflection for case, no inflection for person in the verb, and only two verb tenses, present and preterite, but contrary to both English and German there is an inflectional passive.
This morphological simplicity is however compensated for syntactically by an extended use of prepositions in the transitivity system, and a heavy reliance on prosody, and especially morpheme and word order, both within the phrase and within the clause, so that Danish grammarians tend to view the topology as an independent semiotic level and indeed the basic organisational principle of Danish syntax. Major focuses will therefore be on topics such as transitivity and word order.
Michael Herslund, dr.phil., Professor of French Linguistics, Faculty of Modern Languages, Copenhagen Business School.
ISBN 9783895863967. Languages of the World/Materials 382. 128pp. 2002.