Danish for Foreigners: A Prologue

Apr. 26 - Just two more shopping days left until Saddam Hussein's birthday!

I did a lot of writing on the blog (for search engine purposes, that's Greg Nagan's expatriate American in Denmark with a pregnant wife blog) over the weekend, including a little more about my adventures in Studieskolen.

This promises to be an interesting week of classes. For one thing, we're getting closer to our exams (if you pass, you advance to the next level; if you fail, you have to repeat the current level and chug a liter of aqvavit). For another, we're beginning to gel as a group and there've been increasing efforts to organize some kind of social outing. A weekend gathering at a beach in Amager just fell through at the last minute; a pub night this week is being contemplated.

Regular readers don't need to be told how much I enjoy my pints—or, I should say, my "wee drams"—but I'm hoping we don't have a pub night this particular week. I've already got a pub thing going on Tuesday night, Thursday is poker night, and Friday is the big release party for Hitman: Contracts. I'd like to have something left of my liver by the time Molli Malou makes her appearance in August.

(That's the name we're toying with right now: Molli Malou, followed by both our last names. The Malou part was recommended by Troniu the Romanian. He suggested it in a comment over on the blog when he saw we were zeroing in on "M" names. Malou is apparently a concatenation of "Marie Louise" and appears in the list of government-approved Danish names. But never mind all that. Just try saying "Molli Malou" out loud a couple of times. It's catchy. We wouldn't actually call her Molli Malou. In day-to-day life she'd just be plain old Molli—until she pisses us off, when it'll be, "Molli Malou, you go straight to your room right now!")

In any case, the days ahead with the Studieskolen crowd promise to be rich in bloggish material. After some consideration I believe I've found a way around the problem of writing about my peers without risking their privacy or my hide: I'm going to lie. Not always—just enough to disfigure reality until it's no longer grounds for litigation.

Most of these men and women are in their late twenties or early-to-mid thirties. I may well be the oldest in the class. Most of them have, like myself, been lured to Denmark by wily Danish lovers. Most of them have expressed considerable frustration with the Danish tongue on at least one occassion—though only France went so far as to malign Denmark in its entirety. (I don't think anyone expected him to have anything good to say about any location without an Arrondisement number, just as some New Yorkers refuse to acknowledge that there are parts of America west of the Hudson.)

I should mention what a pleasure it is to observe the way everyone lives up to the global stereotype of their national character. (God knows what American stereotypes I'm fulfilling—certainly I'm the biggest guy in the room and probably the most ridiculous—but any damage I'm doing to our national character is hopefully being offset by the presence of two other Americans.) That's not to say that Ireland always shows up drunk, Italy breaks into spontaneous arias, or Japan shames us with his efficiency; merely that nobody violates expectations too significantly.

The first casualty of the class appears to have been France, who hasn't shown up since embroiling himself in a philosophical kerfuffle with our teacher several weeks ago. He had some very specific ideas about the way in which Danish ought to be taught. Our teacher had the presumption to contradict him. I doubt we'll be seeing him again.

Consider this your introduction to Danish for Foreigners, which will hopefully provide enough material in the coming weeks to justify today's introduction.

* * *

Speaking of introductions, we've begun sharing music with our daughter. We tried to get her dancing with some Disco and Motown Saturday night, but received little reward for our efforts—efforts that involved the DMG laying prostate on the couch while I suspended a speaker six inches over her belly. The Bean did, however, respond enthusiastically to a Mozart symphony last night. I hope she's not going to be some kind of musical snob. The Literature insists that any apparent musical preferences are merely coincidental: that babies in the womb react not to musical styles, but merely musical volume. Fine. Just to be safe, I'll start exposing her to selected volumes of Exile on Main Street.

Historical Notes

On April 26, 1923, the Duke of York married Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon in Westminster Abbey. That's British royalty. Count Basie died on April 26, 1984; Duke Ellington was born on April 29, 1899; Ella Fitzgerald, the “First Lady of Song,” was born on April 25, 1918. That's American royalty.

Leonardo da Vinci was born on April 26, 1452. Mr. da Vinci was one of the great minds of the Renaissance. Sadly, he is best known for having painted the “Mona Lisa” (in Italian, “La Joconde,”), in which he accurately and exquisitely captured the unmistakable smile of a dignified woman who’s just farted.

Dagens Ord

Today's word is gravid, meaning pregnant. That's an important word for us right now, given the gravidy of our situation.

Holidays and Birthdays

It's Union Day in Tanzania.

Today is the birthday of Bobby Rydell (1942), Duane Eddy (1938), Carol Burnett (1933), I.M. Pei (1917), and John James Audubon (1785).

Happy Monday!

© 2004, The Moron's Almanac™

[close window]
[Daily Briefing Archive]