Danish churches (Lutheran) are a fascinating refit of pre-Reformation churches. The images might have largely gone, but in their place are endless texts from the Bible. But at Jesuskirken, in Valby, Copenhagen, one enters the church and encounters these:

Apart from the surpise at finding out that Tacitus and Suetonius wrote in Danish, these texts are the two external references to earliest Christianity. But I can’t help wondering why a church needs needs external evidence for such a thing. Is not the Bible, if not faith itself, enough?

Date: Monday 25 October 2010

Time: 6:00-8:00 pm

Place: Kælderbaren, Det Teologiske Fakultet, Købmagergade 44-46 (Copenhagen) – that is, the student bar, which every theology faculty or department should have.

Talks: a short one by me, a reponse by Geert Hallbäck and an autograph from the translator (CP)

Feature: discount versions of this Danish bestseller

Subsequent interesting activity: drinks out on the town (Copenhagen)

(A few weeks before this, there is a book launch in Sofia for the Bulgarian translation of Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door – more info soon for those of you who will happen to be in Bulgaria, 26 Sept-2 Oct.)

Every language I know has them: the same word with wildly divergent meanings, so much so that lexica list them as I, II, III … But I always wonder at the connections between these words, especially in light of what might be called the semantic cluster. For example, in Danish, kort means map, card and short. Why short? Or nød means necessity (cognate with ‘need’), emergency and nut (cognate again). But why nut? Or rather, to ask the lateral question: why necessity and emergency, for they are by no means primary meanings?

This one from the official and comprehensive English-Danish dictionary, the Gyldendals Røde Ordbøger

Corroboree: Australian. 1. dans; fest (dance; party). 2 a) fest hvor det går livligt til (party where things are very lively); ≈ kannibalfest b) ballade (trouble).

A blast from the 19th century? This edition of the dictionary, the 6th, comes from 1998; the original was first published in 1964.

Colonialism rules!

The definition at http://www.indigenousaustralia.info:

The word corroboree was first used by early European invaders to describe Aboriginal ceremonies that involved singing and dancing. Corroboree was the English version of the Aboriginal word Caribberie.

Once again from those anal Danes: Du ligner en røv der er træt af at skide.

Translated: You look like an arse that’s tired of shitting.

It really is one of the great pleasures of learning a new language, the reason in fact that I keep on doing it. Here’s a favourite saying from Danish:

Hvis jeg slapper mere af, så skider jeg i bukserne

Rough translation: if I was any more relaxed, I’d shit in my pants.