Thursday, January 7, 2010

I do not have a boyfriend

On the first day of Danish language class, I learned the relationship statuses of my dozen or so classmates.

The purpose was to practice the letter æ. We learned the word kæreste, meaning boyfriend or girlfriend. Then we practiced saying:

Ja, jeg har en kæreste. (Yes, I have a boy/girlfriend.)
neg, jeg har ikke en kæreste. (No, I do not have a boy/friend.)

Combine this with expression for saying one's name and the expression "to miss", my teacher then proceeded to make us say the name of our boy/girlfriend and if they were missed. This was all very educational.

On a more serious note, I found it interesting that boyfriend and girlfriend are the same word in Danish: kæreste. I wonder if this has any implications for gender roles in Danish society. But it is perhaps too much speculation because husband and wife are two different words, if Google Translate is to be trusted.


Julia Smith said...

Weird! My friend was just telling me how in her Italian class, the question du jour for practice was whether or not they had been in love in their lives. Yes, each individual had to go around and say whether or not they'd been in love. Rather personal, no?

Anonymous said...

hi, chen! interesting blog! just stumbled upon it from seeing a link on facebook. hope you enjoy denmark.

on a side note, in swahili the words for boyfriend and girlfriend are the same also, as are the pronouns for he/she and him/her (while husband and wife are different words). i was also curious to see if that had any effect on gender relations, but at least in the case of east africa, nothing significant. let me know what you find out for denmark!

-Matt Harris

CYW said...

Yikes, asking about being in love is certainly more intimate than relationship status.

Today some people in my class were embarrassed because our teacher asked who smoked and how many cigarettes they smoke each day.

Thanks for reading Matt!

empraptor said...

Are boyfriend and girlfriend different words in Chinese?

I think they are both referred to by one word in Korean. Though there are separate words for friend-who-is-a-woman and friend-who-is-a-man.