The Danish language is famously daunting to pronounce, and also notorious for the mismatch between the way it’s written and spoken. Culture Trip division down some of the crucial phrases you’ll need on a pilgrimage to Denmark.

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Although Danish belongs come the North germanic language family members – which likewise includes Swedish, Norwegian, Faroese and Icelandic, every one of which sprout from Old vikings – the language spoken in Denmark is unique. Danish is talked by virtually 6 million people in Denmark, and also by the Danish minority in southern Schleswig, in the Faroe Islands and also in Greenland – the last two gift self-governing areas of the Kingdom the Denmark.

Danish has actually 27 various vowel sounds, and also is distinctive for the use of stød – a acoustic phenomenon unique to Danish that explains a glottal consonant used in its pronunciation. To additional confuse anyone discovering Danish, the written language has changed small since the 16th century, an interpretation there’s a large difference between the language that is commonly talked and the way in which that is written. Travellers to Denmark who attempt to acquire to grips through the regional language will be greeted with kindness by the Danes, so don’t hesitate to ask for help with pronouncing the language’s countless sounds.

Whether the Danish hej (pronounced ‘hey’) originates native the sweden hej or the English ‘hi’ isn’t all that clear, however this basic word is conveniently simple to say. The not blocked greeting is extensively used, especially amongst young human being – no just among friends and family, but likewise to to speak hello as soon as entering, for example, a restaurant or a shop. The an ext formal variation of hello in Danish is goddag, which means ‘good day’. This an ext official version is also widely used, and it’s not unlikely that a waiter, bus driver or bartender will certainly greet customers through goddag as an expression of politeness. But, when historically the use of these 2 phrases depended on factors such as social status and also age, they are currently used interchangeably. Many young people, though, simply go through the informal hej.


If you desire to to speak goodbye in Denmark in a much less formal means than the proper goodbye (which is farvel in Danish), just include another hej to hej. This, hej hej, is the informal Danish phrase to usage for speak goodbye.

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

While the Danish yes, ja (pronounced ‘yeh’), can be a close loved one of the English yes, this small yet essential word originates from the Old norse and also Old English gea. Be conscious that the Danish j sound is various to that offered in English or also German, and sounds more similar come the y in ‘Yamaha’.

Its opposite, nej (naj), is just like the word used for ‘no’ in adjoining Sweden. However, it’s likewise speculated the Denmark’s nej derives native the Old norse néeigi, i m sorry literally means ‘not in anyone’s time’.

Literally, det var så lidt method ‘that was so little’. Somewhat poetic in meaning, it can also be tricky for tourists to pronounce. The word det (the English ‘that’) has actually no t sound in ~ all. Phonetically, words is just pronounced ‘de’, as in ‘deliberate’.

The next challenge, then, would be words var, which way ‘was’ or ‘were’. This deep sound, comparable to the German war (and with the exact same meaning), is pronounce in the throat rather than up in the mouth.

Then, yes sir the small funny-looking . Because that a vowel that is already foreign to most, that doesn’t assist that that phonetics room complicated, too. The Danish collection å is express differently depending on the context. In this example, it would be ‘sa’.

The last word, lidt (a little) derives from the older Danish adjective liden and also lidet, which space no much longer in use today. Nothing let the dt sound confuse you – if girlfriend aim because that the English indigenous ‘lid’, you space well on her way.

Vi ses literally way ‘we will check out one another’. And also though the phrase looks basic enough to check out from the allude of see of one English speaker, it’s no straightforward. The i in vi is nothing like the English i. Rather, it’s pronounced more like the English ee sound. However, nothing linger top top the final vowel – this is a snappy small word that comes to a fast halt.

The second fifty percent of the phrase, ses, which comes from the Danish se, meaning ‘to see’, is a bit less complicated to pronounce. It originates native the Old norse sjá and the Gothic saihwan, which merged to take it the definition of the word Danes now know as ‘noticing’ and also ‘seeing’.


The Danish word skål literally equates as ‘bowl’ and originates from a time once Danes would raise the bowl from which they drank as a method to salute one another. The word itself originates from the Old vikings skál and the German Schale. That pronounced to rhyme through ‘hole’. Provided the exceptional drinking behavior of Danes, you will soon familiarise yourself v this word when visiting Denmark.

Jeg (pronounced with a y sound, come rhyme through ‘pie’) originates indigenous the Old norse ek and the Old English ic v the Latin influence of ego, all of which contribute to its definition of ‘I’ in Danish. This roots combined to develop the old Danish develops of ‘I’, iak and also æk, and the modern-day version, jeg, derives indigenous the former.

The Danish hedder (pronounced favor a soft ‘heather’) is the identical of the leg English verb that being called or named. The dual d in hedder – like all other double d sound in Danish – sounds practically like the English th – the is, soft and also gentle.

This is a particularly useful expression for tourists to Denmark, that are most likely to need to ask “Where is the museum/the station/the restaurant?” Danish has a whole plethora the words beginning with hv, however in all such formations, the h is completely silent.

Many Danish words starting with hv are interrogative words, supplied to ask questions, and also thus quite main to the language. Other vital hv indigenous to know are hvem (who), hvad (what) and also hvornår (when).

It’s the inescapable question as soon as travelling. You strike up a conversation v someone, and if you don’t ask first, the other human will: “Where room you from?” This is Hvor er du fra? in Danish. The correct answer come that concern would be Jeg er fra… (I to be from…). Jeg is pronounced as in the expression Jeg hedder, and er together it looks. Fra is a spoken from the throat rather than whirled off the tongue together in the English from, and is of Old Norse and Gothic origin.

Fedt usually way ‘fat’ in Danish, but det er fedt or simply fedt is a slang phrase supplied quite frequently by Danes when they desire to point out the something is cool or great.

For those who’ve never heard that the Danish hatchet hygge, this expression is supplied by dance in bespeak to define a cosy evening, frequently spent through 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 more polite variation of the very same phrase, Jeg vil gerne bede om en øl, room the many commons expressions used in Danish come order a beer. In fact, simply saying en øl is likewise fine, particularly in the late hrs when not even Danes bother utilizing formalities.

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Don’t worry around verbs transforming according come person and number together they perform in so numerous languages, including Spanish and English. In Danish, whoever eats or walks or city hall – ns or friend or she or us – the verb continues to be the same. For example, jeg hedder (my surname is), hun hedder (her name is) or vi hedder (our name are).

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