'Atombryllup', 'eddermame', 'fantomredning', 'dimsedut' and … 'walk-in-closet'? An odd collection of words indeed, but actually it is a small sample of the 212 new words that were adopted into the Danish language by the language committee Dansk Sprognævn in 2014.
And according to Pia Jarvad, a senior researcher at Dansk Sprognævn, 15 percent of the words approved last year hail from the English language because Danes are good at taking English words and making them part of their daily language.
”We still inflect English words in Danish and we mix them with our own words, such as 'hårspray' and 'touchskærm',” Jarvad told Metroxpress newspaper. ”English is an important part of our language – it is not a threat.”
Crap at word creation
Torben Juel Jensen, a lecturer at the LANCHART language change centre at the University of Copenhagen, contended that it is normal for the Danes to adopt foreign words when it comes to technological and cultural things.
That contention is backed up by many of the new words adopted by the Danes last year, including 'screenshot', 'selfie' and 'touchscreen'.
He also said that the Danes weren't as prolific at creating new words from scratch as they are in the English-language speaking nations. In fact, in late December last year, the word of the year in Denmark for 2014 was revealed to be the English word 'MobilePay'.
Words that the Danes did manage to generate themselves included a few interesting ones, such as 'jesussandal' (jesus sandal), 'spaghettigudstjeneste' (short worship ceremony for children followed by a meal together), 'regnbuefamilie' (rainbow family – family in which parents are gay) and 'drikkebror' (drinking brother).
The new word list (here in its entirety) also included other international words, though to be fair, they were mostly food-orientated, such as 'cassoulet', 'pappadam', 'raita' and 'samosa'.
Here are some of the words that come from English: