The Danish language is famously an overwhelming to pronounce, and notorious because that the mismatch in between the method it’s written and spoken. Society Trip division down some of the an essential phrases you’ll need on a trip to Denmark.

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Although Danish belongs to the North germanic language family – which also includes Swedish, Norwegian, Faroese and Icelandic, all of which sprout indigenous Old norse – the language spoken in Denmark is unique. Danish is talked by nearly 6 million human being in Denmark, and also by the Danish decimal in southerly Schleswig, in the Faroe Islands and in Greenland – the last two gift self-governing territories of the Kingdom of Denmark.

Danish has actually 27 different vowel sounds, and is distinctive for the usage of stød – a phonological phenomenon distinctive to Danish that defines a glottal consonant supplied in that is pronunciation. To more confuse anyone learning Danish, the written language has actually changed little since the 16th century, meaning there’s a huge difference between the language that is commonly spoken and the means in which the is written. Tourists to Denmark that attempt to gain to grips with the neighborhood language will certainly be greeted with kindness through the Danes, so don’t hesitate to ask for assist with pronounce the language’s plenty of sounds.

Whether the Danish hej (pronounced ‘hey’) originates from the swedish hej or the English ‘hi’ isn’t all that clear, but this simple word is conveniently simple to say. The unshened greeting is extensively used, especially among young world – no just among friends and family, but additionally to speak hello once entering, for example, a restaurant or a shop. The an ext formal version of hello in Danish is goddag, which way ‘good day’. This much more official variation is likewise widely used, and it’s no unlikely that a waiter, bus driver or bartender will greet customers with goddag as an expression of politeness. But, while historically the use of these 2 phrases depended on factors such as social status and also age, castle are currently used interchangeably. Most young people, though, merely go with the unshened hej.


If you want to speak goodbye in Denmark in a much less formal way than the suitable goodbye (which is farvel in Danish), just include another hej to hej. This, hej hej, is the unshened Danish phrase to usage for speak goodbye.

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

While the Danish yes, ja (pronounced ‘yeh’), might be a close relative of the English yes, this small yet crucial word originates from the Old norse and also Old English gea. Be mindful that the Danish j sound is various to that offered in English or also German, and also sounds an ext similar to the y in ‘Yamaha’.

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

Literally, det var så lidt way ‘that to be so little’. Somewhat poetic in meaning, it can additionally be tricky for visitors to pronounce. Words det (the English ‘that’) has actually no t sound at all. Phonetically, the word is just pronounced ‘de’, as in ‘deliberate’.

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

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

The last word, lidt (a little) derives indigenous the older Danish adjectives liden and lidet, which space no much longer in use today. Don’t let the dt sound confused you – if you aim for the English word ‘lid’, you space well on her way.

Vi ses literally way ‘we will check out one another’. And though the expression looks simple enough to read from the allude of view of an English speaker, it’s not straightforward. The ns in vi is nothing like the English i. Rather, it’s pronounced more like the English ee sound. However, don’t linger on the last vowel – this is a snappy tiny word that involves a rapid halt.

The second fifty percent of the phrase, ses, which originates from the Danish se, definition ‘to see’, is a bit simpler to pronounce. That originates native the Old vikings sjá and the Gothic saihwan, which merged to take the meaning of the word Danes now recognize as ‘noticing’ and also ‘seeing’.


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

Jeg (pronounced v a y sound, to rhyme with ‘pie’) originates native the Old norseman ek and the Old English ic with the Latin influence of ego, every one of which contribute to its meaning of ‘I’ in Danish. These roots merged to develop the old Danish creates of ‘I’, iak and æk, and the contemporary version, jeg, derives indigenous the former.

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

This is a an especially useful expression for visitors to Denmark, who are most likely to have to ask “Where is the museum/the station/the restaurant?” Danish has actually a whole plethora of words starting with hv, however in all such formations, the h is fully silent.

Many Danish words beginning with hv space interrogative words, used to questioning questions, and thus quite main to the language. Other crucial hv indigenous to recognize are hvem (who), hvad (what) and hvornår (when).

It’s the inevitable question when travelling. Girlfriend strike up a conversation with someone, and if you nothing ask first, the other human will: “Where room you from?” This is Hvor er du fra? in Danish. The correct answer come that question would it is in Jeg er fra… (I am from…). Jeg is pronounced together in the phrase Jeg hedder, and also er as it looks. Fra is a spoken from the throat fairly than whirled off the tongue as in the English from, and also 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 regularly by Danes as soon as they desire to suggest out that something is cool or great.

For those who’ve never heard of the Danish term hygge, this expression is supplied by dance in stimulate to explain a cosy evening, regularly spent with friends.


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

Må jeg bede om en øl? and also the an ext polite version of the same phrase, Jeg vil gerne bede om en øl, are the many commons expressions used in Danish to order a beer. In fact, just saying en øl is also fine, particularly in the late hrs when not even Danes bother using formalities.

Don’t worry about verbs transforming according to person and also number as they carry out in so plenty of languages, consisting of Spanish and English. In Danish, anyone eats or go or the town hall – ns or girlfriend 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 name are).

See more: Art Of Communication Is A Vital Asset In Promoting, What Communication Skills Are Vital

This article is one updated variation of a story originally developed by Aliki Seferou.

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