So, I’m sorry to keep posting about how to understand the Danes, but I just find it all so interesting!
Thanks to hey you, AU!, I found my way onto the website of Kay Xander Mellish, an American who has lived in Copenhagen for the past 12 or so years and who writes about their culture from an expat perspective.
One of the first stories I read, of course, has to do with Danish manners. Read the full story here – and believe me, Brian and I will be taking notes – but I thought this part was particularly interesting given our conversation on here about Danish manners and formalities:
There is no word for “please” in Danish. Polite children are taught to say, “Må jeg bede om…” when requesting something, which translates to “May I beg for…”
You can also ask politely if people would “be sweet” and do things you would like them to do. When requesting that, say, your upstairs neighbor remove his giant oak dining table from the hallway where you bang your shins on it every day, you can say, “Vil du ikke være sød og…” or “Would you not be sweet and…”. Putting anything in the negative form makes it more polite in Danish.
Kay – if I’m being properly Danish and only using first names – also has a website about how to live in Denmark called, appropriately, How to Live in Denmark, with articles and podcasts. Check it out. I know I will be.