Danes mourn the removal of 3,581 words from their dictionary
According to the Danish Language Council, some 3,581 words were removed from the Danish spelling dictionary between 1986 and 2012.
Media industry magazine Journalisten published a list of deleted words after Søren Espersen of Dansk Folkeparti raised concerns with Culture Minister Ane Halsboe-Jørgensen.
Although it is common practice for the Danish Language Council to remove words it deems fallen into disuse, Espersen – himself a trained journalist – is said to be frustrated that so many Danish words have been removed.
“I just wonder why so many Danish words should be removed and why the Danish Language Council should decide that,” Espersen said.
What do you call a quarrelsome guest?
Some examples include: “accoucheur”, which has been replaced by the more common “obstetrician”; “sybaristic” meaning “sumptuous”; “pudsenmager” which means “comedian”; and ‘skændegæst’ meaning ‘quarrelsome guest’.
For Espersen, it is a cultural and historical loss. “It’s not that there’s no space because the dictionary has been digitized,” he says.
Ida Tophøj Buur, Ritzau journalist and self-proclaimed “language nerd,” agrees: “The scale of the deletions is a shame. The language will lose some nuance and ultimately it will be more difficult for young Danes to read older texts.
You can see the full list of deleted words here.