Pronunciation guide

[a] underlined vowel means stress
[:] means a long vowel
( ) sound can be omitted

a []
as in cat
open as in far (without r)
kan [k'(n)] (can), mand [mn'] (man)
gammel [gaml] (old)                                 
b [b] as in English barn [ba'n] child, bo [bo'] (live)                 
c [s]
as in English before e/i
before other vowels
as in shine, written ch in Danish
citron [sitro'n] (lemon)                              
cacao [kko]
chokolade [shokol:]
d [d]
[ ]
as in day, in the beginning of a word
as th in they after a vowel
mute after l, n, r and before t, s
dreng [dr] (boy)                                  
gade [g:()] (street)
holdt [hlt] (stop), godt (gt) (good)
e [e]

closed e as French
open e as in let or as in French , in the end
and in a a diphthong
open as in far (without r) before g and j
leve [le:v] (live), mene [me:n] (mean)   
spise [sbi:s] (eat)
sjette [sy:d] (6th), halvfjers [halfyrs]  
jeg [yai] (I), meget [mait] (very), vej [vai']
f [f] as in English far [fa:] (farther)                                        
g [g]
[ ]
as in girl, in the beginning of a word
as in soon inside or in the end of a word
as ng in sing
as in live, after a wovel
sometines silent inside a word
give [gi:v] or [gi] (give)                           
brag [bra'u] (bang), drage [dra:u] (kite)  
synge [s] (sing), sang [sa] (song)        
jeg [yai] (I), ngle [nil] (key)                 
tag [t'] (roof), tage [t:] (roofs, take)     
h [h]
as in English, in the beginning of a word
mute in hv-words and before j
hat [hd] (hat)
hvem [vm'] (who), hvad [v()] (what)   
i [i]
as in feel
closed e as in inn or as French
Note: i is never pronounced [ai]
liv [liu'] (life), ville [vil] (would)               
vil [vel] (will (present tense))                      
as in English I am
j [y]
as in yes
after a vowel
ja [y] (yes), jeg [yai] (I)                          
vej [vai'] (way/road)
k [k] as in English can kan [k'(n)] (can)                                     
l [l] as in English (not American) like lille [lil] (small)                                       
m [m] as in English meet mor [moa] (mother)                                 
n [n]
as in English name
in ng in song, before k/g
ni [ni'] (nine)
sang [sa'] (song), anker [aka] (anchor)  
o [o]
closed almost as in november
sometimes open almost as in open
skole [sko:l()] (school)
bold [bl'd] (ball)                                      
p [p]
aspirated p as in British English Peter
inaspirated p as in American, after s
Peter [Pe'da]
spise [sbi:s] (eat)                                   
q [k] not common in Danish  
r [r]

almost as French r in rue:
1. in the beginning of a word
2. after a consonant
vocalic r in the end of a word
rejse [rais] (travel)                                 
krise [kri:s] (crisis)
gr [g'a] (goes), lber [l'ba] (runs)         
s [s] unvoiced as in English see,
voiced s never occurs in Danish
se [se'] (see), siger [si:a] (says)                 
t [t]
asperated t as in British English
unaspirated t as in American, after s
tage [t:] (take)                                     
stor [sdo'a] (big)
u [u]
as in soon, inside a word
open o almost as in open, before n
gul [gu'l] (yellow), guld [gul] (gold)            
ung ['] (young), Ungarn [ga:n]            
v [v]
always as in English very
a fast u-sound, in the end of a word
vi [vi'] (we), avis [vi's] (newspaper)         
blev [bleu'] (became), hav [hau] (sea)        
w [v] not common in Danish  
x [ks] not common in Danish  
y []

pronounced as [i] with rounded lips,
1. as German or
2. as French u in sur
specially in the beginning of a word
lyve [l:v] (lie), lys [l's] (light),               
lyst [l'sd] (lightned)

yngre [r] (younger), lyst [lst] (like)     
z [s] not common in Danish  
open e as in let
open a as in far (without r), after r
mlk [mlk] (milk)                                   
grde [gra'] (cry)

pronounced as [e] with rounded lips:
1. as German or
2. as in French heureaux
more open than , as in french cur
l [l] (beer), lgte [lgt] (lamp)              

gre [g:a] (do), ngle [nil] (key)          
[] open o as in open p [p'] (on), ben [:bn] (open)             
  ['] glottal stop  


Glottal stop

The glottal stop is very important and something special for Danish, as it is a sound not found in many languages. It is a phoneme that can give some words quite another meaning. It is not an unknown sound in English and is sometimes heard in energetic speech and particularly in "not" [n't] in London English. For foreigners the glottal stop may be difficult to use correctly, but never mind even Danes cannot always use it correctly particularly not if they are speaking one of our dialects.

The glottal stop only hits voiced sounds but both consonants and vowels but never a long vowel.
The glottal stop is indicated by a [']


Without glottal stop               With glottal stop

lber   [l:ba]  (a runner)        lber  [l'ba]   (runs)          
tager   [t:a]   (takes)           tag    [t']     (take!, roof)   
anden   [:nn]   (other)           anden  [n'n]    (the duck)      
boret   [bo:a]  (drilled)         bordet [bo'a]   (the table)     
bst    [bsd]   (best)            bst   [b'sd]   (fool)          
bnner  [bna]   (beans, prayers)  bnder [bn'a]   (farmers)       
hun     [hun]    (she)             hund   [hun']    (dog)           
mller  [mla]   (miller)          Mller [ml'a]   (Miller, name)  
skal    [sg(l)] (shall)           skal   [sg'l]   (shell)         
skrende[sgrn](cutting)         skrene[sg'rn](the gleams)    
sret   [sa]   (injured)         sret  [s'a]   (wound)         
tal     [tl]    (number)          tal    [t'l]    (speak!)        
ved     [ve]    (at, by)          ved    [ve']    (knows)         
ender   [na]    ((it) ends)       nder  [n'a]    (ducks)         

Notice: Danish vowels can be open or closed
           and they can be long or short



By surfing on the internet I have not been able to find a Danish grammar written in English, so I have decided to make a grammar for the internet world.
Danish is the oficial language in Denmark, the Faroe Islands and Greenland (together with greenlandic Eskimo) and normally Danish is also understood in Sweden and Norway. The Norwegian language "bokml" is based on Danish and therefore it is easy to read and understand for Danes. Danish is also understood by the Swedish-speaking people in Finland and by some people in Iceland.
Nowadays many local people at holiday resorts in the southern part of Europa and North Africa speak some Danish as they are either ex-emigrants or have worked for some time in Denmark. By the way Danish is also one of the official languages in the European Union (EU).

Language Tree

                          |       |------Islandic  
                          |       |------Faroe  
                          |       |------Norwegian (nynorsk)
                                  |------Norwegian (bokml)