The Danish language is famously an overwhelming to pronounce, and also notorious for the mismatch in between the means it’s written and also spoken. Culture Trip breaks down few of the crucial phrases you’ll need on a expedition to Denmark.

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Although Danish belongs to the North germanic language family – which likewise includes Swedish, Norwegian, Faroese and also Icelandic, all of which sprout indigenous Old vikings – the language talked in Denmark is unique. Danish is spoken by nearly 6 million civilization in Denmark, and by the Danish minority in southern Schleswig, in the Faroe Islands and also in Greenland – the latter two being self-governing areas of the Kingdom the Denmark.

Danish has actually 27 various vowel sounds, and is distinctive for the use of stød – a phonological phenomenon distinctive to Danish that defines a glottal consonant offered in that is pronunciation. To more confuse anyone learning Danish, the created language has changed tiny since the 16th century, meaning there’s a large difference between the language the is commonly talked and the means in which it is written. Visitors to Denmark that attempt to get to grips with the regional language will certainly be greeted with kindness through the Danes, so don’t hesitate to ask for help with pronouncing the language’s numerous sounds.

Whether the Danish hej (pronounced ‘hey’) originates from the sweden hej or the English ‘hi’ no all that clear, however this straightforward word is conveniently straightforward to say. The informal greeting is commonly used, especially amongst young people – not just among friends and family, but additionally to to speak hello as soon as entering, for example, a restaurant or a shop. The more formal variation of hello in Danish is goddag, which method ‘good day’. This more official version is additionally widely used, and it’s no unlikely that a waiter, bus driver or bartender will certainly greet customers through goddag as an expression that politeness. But, while historically the use of these 2 phrases relied on factors such as social status and also age, castle are now used interchangeably. Most young people, though, merely go with the informal hej.


If you desire to say goodbye in Denmark in a much less formal way than the appropriate goodbye (which is farvel in Danish), just include another hej to hej. This, hej hej, is the unshened Danish phrase to use for saying goodbye.

Though the Danish expression of gratitude originates from the funny-looking Old Norse word þökk and also the Old English þanc, tak (tag) is much more straightforward. Phonetically, the k is pronounced an ext like a g, but the short and also sharp indigenous is basic for non-Danish speaker to wrap their heads round.

While the Danish yes, ja (pronounced ‘yeh’), might be a close loved one of the English yes, this tiny yet vital word originates native the Old norse and also Old English gea. Be mindful that the Danish j sound is different to that used in English or even German, and sounds much more similar to the y in ‘Yamaha’.

Its opposite, nej (naj), is similar to the word provided for ‘no’ in neighbouring Sweden. However, it’s additionally speculated that Denmark’s nej derives indigenous the Old norse néeigi, i beg your pardon literally means ‘not in anyone’s time’.

Literally, det var så lidt means ‘that was so little’. Rather poetic in meaning, the can also be tricky for visitors to pronounce. The word det (the English ‘that’) has no t sound at all. Phonetically, words is merely pronounced ‘de’, as in ‘deliberate’.

The following challenge, then, would certainly be words var, which means ‘was’ or ‘were’. This deep sound, similar to the German war (and through the exact same meaning), is pronounce in the throat fairly than up in the mouth.

Then, there’s the tiny funny-looking . Because that a collection that is already foreign to most, the doesn’t help that that phonetics are complicated, too. The Danish collection å is pronounced differently depending upon the context. In this example, it would certainly be ‘sa’.

The critical word, lidt (a little) derives indigenous the older Danish adjectives liden and lidet, which room no much longer in use today. Nothing let the dt sound confused you – if girlfriend aim for the English indigenous ‘lid’, you room well on her way.

Vi ses literally means ‘we will view one another’. And though the expression looks basic enough to read from the allude of see of an English speaker, it’s not straightforward. The ns in vi is nothing favor the English i. Rather, it’s pronounced much more like the English ee sound. However, nothing linger on the final vowel – this is a snappy little word that concerns a rapid halt.

The second half of the phrase, ses, which originates from the Danish se, definition ‘to see’, is a bit much easier to pronounce. The originates indigenous the Old vikings sjá and the Gothic saihwan, which linked to take the an interpretation of the word Danes now know as ‘noticing’ and also ‘seeing’.


The Danish indigenous skål literally converts as ‘bowl’ and also originates indigenous a time when Danes would certainly raise the bowl from which they drank together a means to salute one another. Words itself originates indigenous the Old vikings skál and the German Schale. The pronounced to rhyme through ‘hole’. Provided the impressive drinking actions of Danes, you will shortly familiarise yourself v this word when visiting Denmark.

Jeg (pronounced with a y sound, to rhyme with ‘pie’) originates native the Old norseman ek and the Old English ic through the Latin affect of ego, all of which contribute to its an interpretation of ‘I’ in Danish. This roots an unified to develop the old Danish creates of ‘I’, iak and æk, and the modern-day version, jeg, derives native the former.

The Danish hedder (pronounced prefer a soft ‘heather’) is the identical of the transitive English verb of being referred to as or named. The double d in hedder – favor all other double d sounds in Danish – sounds practically like the English th – the is, soft and gentle.

This is a particularly useful expression for tourists to Denmark, that are likely to should ask “Where is the museum/the station/the restaurant?” Danish has a entirety plethora that words starting with hv, but in every such formations, the h is completely silent.

Many Danish words starting with hv room interrogative words, offered to ask questions, and thus quite central to the language. Other necessary hv native to know are hvem (who), hvad (what) and hvornår (when).

It’s the inevitable question once travelling. Girlfriend strike up a conversation v someone, and also if you nothing ask first, the other person will: “Where are you from?” This is Hvor er du fra? in Danish. The correct answer come that inquiry would be Jeg er fra… (I to be from…). Jeg is pronounced together in the expression Jeg hedder, and also er together it looks. Fra is a spoken from the throat rather than whirled turn off the tongue as in the English from, and is that Old Norse and Gothic origin.

Fedt usually method ‘fat’ in Danish, yet det er fedt or just fedt is a slang phrase provided quite often by Danes as soon as they want to suggest out the something is cool or great.

For those who’ve never ever heard that the Danish ax hygge, this expression is provided by to dance in bespeak to define a cosy evening, frequently spent v friends.


Må jeg bede om en øl?/Jeg vil gerne bede om en øl (Could I have actually a beer?/I would like to have actually a beer)

Må jeg bede om en øl? and also the an ext polite variation of the same phrase, Jeg vil gerne bede om en øl, space the many commons expressions supplied in Danish come order a beer. In fact, simply saying en øl is additionally fine, especially in the late hrs when not even Danes bother utilizing formalities.

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Don’t worry around verbs an altering according come person and number together they do in so plenty of languages, including Spanish and English. In Danish, everyone eats or walks or watches – ns or you or she or we – the verb continues to be the same. For example, jeg hedder (my name is), hun hedder (her surname is) or vi hedder (our names are).

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