Danish Basic Phrases: 60 Essential Words to Learn (2023)

Planning a trip to Denmark? Danish basic phrases are useful to get under your belt. Arriving prepared with some essential words means you’ll be able to communicate, navigate, and organize your trip easier.

Nordic countries are known for their many bilingual speakers, and English is spoken widely across Denmark. But, whether you face language barriers or not, learning basic phrases for the country you are visiting is respectful practice. Plus, learning Danish is a valuable skill! Language learning improves memory, problem-solving, communication, and creative capacity.

There is no better way to immerse yourself in Denmark’s culture than through language. And, even if you only remember a few words, you open yourself up to more meaningful interactions with the people you meet. A linguistic effort is always appreciated. To help you get started, we’ve compiled all the best Danish basic phrases.

Table of Contents

What language is spoken in Denmark?

Danish Basic Phrases: 60 Essential Words to Learn (1)

Denmark’s official is the Northern Germanic language, Danish.

Danish is spoken byover five million peoplein Denmark and also has speakers inIceland, the Faroe Islands, and Greenland.

While Danish is an East Scandinavian language, it began evolving into a language in its own right back in AD 1000. There are some similarities between Norwegian, Swedish, and Danish – a Norwegian-speaking individual could even hold a conversation with a Danish-speaking individual. However, the three are separate languages with their own rules, pronunciations, and idioms.

The basics of pronouncing Danish words

At first glance, English speakers might think the Danish alphabet is the same. While there are many overlaps, especially in written Danish, there are variations and different pronunciations per letter. Plus, while English has 26 letters in its alphabet, Danish has 29. Apart from the 26 same letters, you’ll notice æ, ø, and å at the end of the Danish alphabet.

To help you verbalize these letters it is best to revise pronunciation – many aren’t pronounced the way you’d expect! You can see the most commonly confused letter pronunciations in the table below:

åÆØZWJC
Danish pronunciationoayirsvyk

While many letters are pronounced the same as English (like a, b, g, and k), you can see many letters above that could surprise you! You’ll be well-prepared to avoid any confusion with a little revision beforehand.

The most common and important phrases in Danish

Danish Basic Phrases: 60 Essential Words to Learn (2)

Since English is quite a strong backup language while traveling, we suggest focusing on learning Danish greetings first. These are easier to remember and regularly practice but also demonstrate immediate effort and respect.

These are a few of the most useful Danish basic phrases to greet someone with:

Hej(high): Hello and goodbye. You can also use hej hej – which is extra fun to say.

Goddag(gu day): Good day.

God morgen(gor morn): Good morning.

Godnat(gu neht): Good night.

After you’ve learned Danish greetings, these phrases will be useful to add to your vocabulary.

Ja(yeah): Yes.

(Video) 60 Danish Words for Everyday Life - Basic Vocabulary #3

Nej(nigh): No.

Tak(tahk): Thank you.

Undskyld(oonskool): Excuse me.

Det var så lidt(de war sa lid): You’re welcome.

Jeg hedder(yie heathar): My name is…

Hvor er(vor air deh):Where is…

Hvordan har du det(vor dahn hah du deh): How are you?

Godt, tak(godt tahk): Good, thanks.

Taler du engelsk(tayler doo engelsk):Do you speak English?

Best Danish phrases to sound like a local

Danish Basic Phrases: 60 Essential Words to Learn (3)

Speaking like a local is a common aim and epitome of success when learning a new language. Luckily, once you’ve nailed a few of these idioms and slang words, you’ll feel well on your way.

There is always a difference between a textbook and a spoken version of a language. So, get ahead of the game and begin practicing slang before arriving in Denmark – limiting the local phrases you have to learn while traveling.

This stage of learning Danish should be fun, too, as there are some crazy phrases in the language that should give you a laugh.

At gå agurk (at go agwurk):To go cucumbers! This phrase might sound strange, but it is actually very similar to the English term going bananas.

Ugler i mosen (oogler e mosen):‘There are owls in the bog’ means that something is suspicious or wrong.

Det blæser en halv pelican (de blayser en halv pelican): ‘It blows half a pelican’ means it is very windy and is often used as an exclamation.

Det er ingen ko på isen (de air ing ko po isen): ‘There is no cow on the ice’ is a phrase meaning no problem.

Klap lige hasten (klap lee hesten):‘Pat the horse’ is used as a phrase to tell someone to relax.

Syg (syg):Like sick is used to exclaim that something is good or cool in English, ‘syg’ is the equivalent in Danish.

Hvad så (vad so):What’s up? This slang phrase is used as a greeting.

Sejt (sackt):Cool! Instead of using sick, you could use cool to emphasize your enthusiasm and admiration of a person, situation, activity, or place.

(Video) 150 Basic Danish Phrases (Improved 2021 version) #part 1

Best Danish phrases to help you get around, travel, and sightsee

Wanting to take a practical approach to learning Danish words? Learning basic Danish phrases to help you get around, travel, and go sightseeing is a great idea. We’ve found plenty for you to learn or make a note of before you travel to Denmark.

These phrases are most useful when asking for directions:

Hvor er (vor air deh):Where is…

Venstre (benstra):Left

Højre (hoy-ra):Right

Op:Up

Ned:Down

Øst (ust):East

Vest (west):West

Nord (no-ah):North

Syd (sue):South

Udenfor/idenfor:Outside/inside

Overfor:Opposite

Mod:Toward

Lige ud (lee u):Straight ahead

These phrases are the most useful when navigating transport:

Bus (boos):Bus

Tog (toe):Train

Fly (flu):Plane

Bil (beel):Car

(Video) Learn Danish while you sleep ♫ 5 hours 👍 1000 Basic Words and Phrases

Sporvogn (spor-von):Tram

Banegård (bane-o-go):Train station

Lufthavn (lufthown):Airport

Billet (beel-et):Ticket

Perron:Platform

At stemple (et stempler):To validate

Best Danish phrases for food

Danish Basic Phrases: 60 Essential Words to Learn (4)

Food in Denmark is delicious! Make sure to sample lots of Danish pastries, hot dogs, and oysters – freshly harvested along Denmark’s coast.

Those with dietary requirements should find plenty of options and alternatives. Vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian, gluten-free, and dairy-free diets are all easily catered to. However, it is also worth learning the Danish translation for your requirements to avoid confusion.

Here are a common few translations:

Vegetarisk (vaygar tar isk):Vegetarian

Vegansk (vegain-sk):Vegan

Pescatarian:Pescatarian

Mælke intolerant (milke intolerant):Dairy intolerant

Gluten intolerant:Gluten intolerant

Of course, it is useful to learn the meals of the day. We’ve listed the meal names alongside their pronunciations below:

Morgenmad (morn mell):Breakfast

Mellemmåltid (mellem maltwo):Snack

Frokost (fro kust):Lunch

Eftermiddagste (efter mid-e ste):Afternoon tea

Middag (mee da):Dinner

(Video) 100 Basic Danish words! Beginner’s vocabulary.

Dessert (de-sssert):Dessert

While for ordering in a restaurant, here are some helpful Danish basic phrases:

Jeg ville gerne bastille morgenmad (Yie vill gairn best eel morn mell):I’d like to order breakfast

Jeg ville gerne bastille middag (Yie vill garin best eel mee da):I’d like to order dinner

Kan jeg have (kai yah ha):Can I please have

Kan jeh få regningen tak (kai yah foe rye ning e tak):Can I have the bill please

Other great Danish language resources

Feeling prepared? Or perhaps you want a little extra help learning some Danish before your trip.

If you would like some more help, congratulations! Practice makes perfect, and consistently seeking new resources and information is the best way to improve with languages. Well done on taking the next step.

To help you on your way, we can recommend some additional helpful language resources to improve your Danish.

Duolingo

Duolingois a great way to learn Danish for those who enjoy learning kinetically and through games. You can download the Duolingo app on your phone and access free sessions from anywhere in the world. The best thing about Duolingo is that you can learn Danish on the bus, in bed, or even while waiting at the airport.

Moving up through the levels and unlocking outfits for your digital character is fun and disguises learning as a game. Plus, you get regular notifications to help remind you to keep your language ‘streak’.

Google Translate

When learning a new language, you are often struck by moments of wondering what the translation is for random words. Whether you are suddenly curious about the word sofa, basketball, or even a more practical term like bus timetable, Google Translate is good for immediate answers.

However, make sure to download Danish as a language in the Google Translateapp. Otherwise, you won’t be able to translate and check words when not connected to wi-fi. It is free and well worth the storage space.

Babbel

Like Duolingo, Babbel is an app that uses a game format to encourage language learners.

However, unlike Duolingo, users also have access to live lessons and podcasts. Babbel does charge a subscription fee, starting at $16.99 a month but reducing if you purchase a package with more months. For example, you can purchase a 12-month subscription for $7.83.

If you want to invest in learning Danish, Babbel has more resources, so it is a good app to purchase. It has more live learning opportunities than self-guided progress like Duolingo, so some may find it easier to stay motivated.

Good luck with your Danish language learning! We hope we’ve given you a taster of how interesting Danish can be and wish you all the best on your travels.

(Video) Learn Danish Phrases - 60

FAQs

How many words do you need to know to be fluent in Danish? ›

Intermediate Danish Vocabulary

Knowing the 5000 most used Danish words will allow you to be fluent in almost all situations. Your vocabulary will be similar to that of a native speaker, who completed high school.

How can I learn Danish fast? ›

Make sure you follow the following tips for learning Danish for the best results.
  1. Change Your Smartphone's Language. ...
  2. Use Your Personal Motivation for Danish. ...
  3. Make a Danish Learning Schedule. ...
  4. Learn Danish Writing, Reading, Listening and Speaking. ...
  5. Choose the Best Danish Resources. ...
  6. Build Danish Vocabulary From What You Know.

What is the hardest language to learn Danish? ›

Is Danish really as difficult as its reputation suggests? According to The Foreign Service Institute, the Danish language is a “category 1” in terms of the amount of time needed to learn it. It is not generally harder than languages like German, French or English.

How do you say pretty girl in Danish? ›

Similar translations for "pretty girl" in Danish
  1. nydelig.
  2. køn.

Can you learn Danish in 3 months? ›

For those wondering how long is takes to learn Danish, the FSI has an answer for that too. You need approximately 575-600 hours or 23-24 weeks of study to reach Danish fluency.

What makes Danish hard to learn? ›

For an English speaker, Danish has some familiar vocabulary, and grammar shouldn't be too big a challenge. But there are three extra vowels in the alphabet and about 40 vowel sounds, some strangely pronounced consonants and silent letters – not to mention confusing numbers. In addition there is a hiccup/abrupt stop.

Is it easier to learn Danish or Norwegian? ›

When it comes to Danish vs Norwegian, Norwegian is easier to understand. Their writing is the same, and there is not a lot of difference between vocabulary and grammar either. And for Swedish vs Norwegian, Norwegian wins again. It is a slight bit closer to English in terms of vocabulary and pronunciation.

How many hours a day do Danish work? ›

There are no statutory rules on the number of standard working hours in Denmark. As a general rule, working hours are mandated through a collective agreement (if any), or the employment contract. The majority of sectors have 37 hours weekly. Usual working hours are Monday to Friday, from 8 or 9 AM to 4 or 5 PM.

Which is harder Danish or Dutch? ›

Which is easier to learn: Danish or Dutch? In terms of vocabulary and spelling, Dutch is probably easier for native English speakers since they share many words with a similar pronunciation. The Dutch language borrows lots of words from the French, as does English – although, annoying, they are rarely the same words!

How can I teach myself Danish? ›

How can I learn Danish as a beginner?
  1. Take a language course at a language school. ...
  2. Live with native speakers. ...
  3. Flashcards. ...
  4. Listen to Danish podcasts. ...
  5. Download language learning apps. ...
  6. Read the news in Danish. ...
  7. Don't stress about the pronunciation.

What is the number 1 hardest language to learn? ›

Across multiple sources, Mandarin Chinese is the number one language listed as the most challenging to learn. The Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center puts Mandarin in Category IV, which is the list of the most difficult languages to learn for English speakers.

What is the top 3 hardest language to learn? ›

The Hardest Languages To Learn For English Speakers
  1. Mandarin Chinese. Interestingly, the hardest language to learn is also the most widely spoken native language in the world. ...
  2. Arabic. ...
  3. Polish. ...
  4. Russian. ...
  5. Turkish. ...
  6. Danish.
Feb 25, 2021

What country speaks the most Danish? ›

Danish is spoken by about 6 million people around the world. Most live in Denmark, but Danish is also an official language in Greenland and the Faroe Islands – both autonomous constituent countries under the Kingdom of Denmark – as well as in the northern parts of neighbouring Germany, where Danish has minority status.

What do Danes say after a sneeze? ›

List of responses in other languages
LanguageUsual responses and notes
DanishProsit
DutchGezondheid, or if the person has sneezed three times, (Drie keer) morgen mooi weer Less commonly: proost
EnglishGod bless you, Bless you, or Gesundheit
EsperantoSanon
88 more rows

What is the Danish chill word? ›

Hygge (/ˈh(j)uːɡə/, H(Y)OO-gə; Danish: [ˈhykə]; Norwegian: [ˈhŷɡːə]) is a word in Danish and Norwegian that describes a mood of coziness and "comfortable conviviality" with feelings of wellness and contentment.

What is a Danish famous saying? ›

Sail while the breeze blows, wind and tide wait for no man.” “Love is one-eyed, hate is blind.” “No one gets into trouble without their own help.”

What is Karen in Danish? ›

Karen is a Danish diminutive of Katherine, an English name derived from the Greek Aikaterine.

What is lol in Danish? ›

asg: Swedish abbreviation of the term asgarv, meaning intense laughter. g: Danish abbreviation of the word griner, which means "laughing" in Danish.

What does KBH mean in Danish? ›

Copenhagen (the capital city of Denmark)

What is the average Danish age? ›

42.2 years

Which is easier Danish or German? ›

Danish is ranked at Category 1, making it one of the easiest. German is the next level up. Linguists generalize that German can take up to a third as long to master when compared to Danish because of German's difficult grammatical structure.

Is Danish spoken fast? ›

Danish grammar is relatively easy, so why is Danish so hard to grasp? First, a high number of vowels makes it challenging to pronounce. Secondly, it is a fast-spoken, soft and monotonous language, which makes it difficult to understand.

What is a Danish breakfast? ›

Typical Danish breakfast is bread (white or rye bread) with cream or soft cheese, sausage, cured cold meat or jam with coffee or tea. Among popular breakfast dishes are also cereals and porridge.

What is a fun fact about Danish language? ›

5 Interesting Danish Language Facts

The Danish language is derived from Old Norse. Originally the same language as Swedish, Old Danish evolved into Medieval Danish in the 12th century. In 1550, the orthographic choices of Christiern Pedersen for translating the Bible into Danish set the writing standards for Danish.

Can a foreigner buy a house in Denmark? ›

To be able to purchase property in Denmark you are required to have either a permanent residence in Denmark or have lived in Denmark for a consecutive period of five years. The permission is obtained from the Danish Ministry of Justice.

What is the most useful Scandinavian language to learn? ›

SWEDISH. Swedish is the most popular Nordic and Scandinavian language on our list. It is spoken by approximately 10.5 million people around the world, in countries such as Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Ukraine, and other Scandinavian countries like Denmark and Norway.

What is the easiest Scandinavian country to move to? ›

The best Scandinavian country to live in: Iceland and Finland. When it comes to deciding which Scandinavian country is easiest to immigrate to, you might also look at Iceland and Finland. These countries aren't always classed as “Scandinavian”, but they often fall into the Nordic category.

How long does it take to learn Danish fluently? ›

Germanic languages
LanguageTime needed to reach fluency
Danishabout 575 hours or 23 weeks
Dutchabout 575 hours or 23 weeks
Norwegianabout 575 hours or 23 weeks
Swedishabout 575 hours or 23 weeks
1 more row
Jan 5, 2023

What is the 24 rule in Denmark? ›

It is meant to cut down forced marriages and family reunification immigration. Age – Non-resident spouses can be united and thus cohabit with their spouse living in Denmark only when both parties have reached the age of 24 years.

What is the average Danish income? ›

The average employee in Denmark earns DKK 45,481 per month before taxes. The amount includes pension and is calculated by the so-called standardised hourly earnings translated to a full-time monthly salary. In 2021, Danes had an average (median) net worth of DKK 749,519 after subtracting liabilities from assets.

How many meals a day in Denmark? ›

The typical meal pattern in Denmark consists of three main meals and two to three in-between-meals. Breakfast is typically based on the intake of bread or breakfast cereals and dairy products. The intake of fruits, vegetables, fish, meat, and cakes are seldom consumed at breakfast.

What are people from Denmark called? ›

The people of Denmark are known as Danes. They are Nordic Scandinavians, many of which are blond, blue-eyed, and tall. In the southern part of the country, some people have German ancestry. Danes have one of the highest standards of living in the world.

Are you Danish if you're from Denmark? ›

The people of Denmark are called Danes. Things that are from Denmark are called Danish. Dutch has nothing to do with Denmark. And please do not use Danish as a noun.

Can Swedes and Danes understand each other? ›

Mutual intelligibility

Generally, speakers of the three largest Scandinavian languages (Danish, Norwegian and Swedish) can read each other's languages without great difficulty. The primary obstacles to mutual comprehension are differences in pronunciation.

What is your name in Danish? ›

hvad hedder du?

Can you live in Denmark without knowing Danish? ›

You can work, live and study in Denmark without learning Danish. I know a number of British, American and French people that have lived here years without learning the language. There are companies who use English as their first language, and a few who will allow you to work in a Danish speaking office without Danish.

Do Danish children learn to speak later? ›

Compared to Norwegian children, who are learning a very similar language, Danish kids on average know 30% fewer words at 15 months and take nearly two years longer to learn the past tense.

What is the sweetest language in the world? ›

According to a UNESCO survey, Bengali has been classified as the sweetest language in the world. As a language, Bengali is widely spoken all over India, including Assam and the Andaman & Nicobar Islands. The sweetest language in the world is also recognized in the Constitution of India.

What is the number 1 easiest language? ›

1. Norwegian. This may come as a surprise, but we have ranked Norwegian as the easiest language to learn for English speakers. Norwegian is a member of the Germanic family of languages — just like English!

What is the most understood language in the world? ›

1. English (1,452 million speakers) According to Ethnologue, English is the most-spoken language in the world including native and non-native speakers.

What is the oldest language in the world? ›

Sumerian can be considered the first language in the world, according to Mondly. The oldest proof of written Sumerian was found on the Kish tablet in today's Iraq, dating back to approximately 3500 BC.

What is the easiest second language to learn? ›

We've used data from the Foreign Service Institute (FSI) to rank them from the easier to the somewhat more challenging.
  • Frisian. ...
  • Dutch. ...
  • Norwegian. ...
  • Spanish. ...
  • Portuguese. ...
  • Italian. ...
  • French. ...
  • Swedish.
Oct 24, 2021

Can you learn a language while sleeping? ›

A new study suggests some language learning can take place during sleep. Researchers from Switzerland's University of Bern say they discovered people were able to learn new language words during deep levels of sleep. Results of the study recently appeared in the publication Current Biology.

Is Danish harder than Norwegian? ›

When it comes to Danish vs Norwegian, Norwegian is easier to understand. Their writing is the same, and there's not a lot of difference between vocabulary and grammar either. And for Swedish vs Norwegian, Norwegian wins again. It's a slight bit closer to English in terms of vocabulary and pronunciation.

What is the best way to learn Danish? ›

The best way to learn Danish quickly is to create a consistent study routine. Studying a little bit every day, or at least a few times a week, is the most effective way to learn and retain a language. You can also use a variety of study methods and resources to help you learn.

Is Danish language easy? ›

The US Foreign Service Institute (FSI) is ranked Danish as a Category I language. Which means that it's one of the easiest languages to learn for English native speakers.

What is a hard to pronounce Danish word? ›

Rødovre & Hvidovre. Of the many many MANY difficult Danish words to pronounce that were mentioned, Rødovre get's the first prize as being the most mentioned and Hvidovre as the runner up.

What are Danish words? ›

Danish Greetings and Basic Expressions
  • Goddag. - Good day.
  • Hej. - Hello.
  • Farvel. - Goodbye.
  • Ja. - Yes.
  • Nej. - No.
  • Tak. - Thank you.
  • Undskyld. - Excuse me.
  • Hvad hedder du? - What's your name?
Nov 17, 2019

Is D pronounced L in Danish? ›

In the phrase, the ds are pronounced like an English dark 'l' but with the tip of the tongue behind the bottom teeth instead of the upper teeth. In fact, this soft 'd' doesn't sound much at all like 'd', but it's a common sound when 'd' is not in the beginning of a word or syllable.

Is J silent in Danish? ›

It is mainly pronounced as the English “y” in the word “you” both at the beginning and end of syllables. Anna: Yes, when j is not the initial or final letter of a word, it often occurs after the letters “h,” “s,” and “t.” But no matter what, j is always pronounced the same.

Which is harder Dutch or Danish? ›

Which is easier to learn: Danish or Dutch? In terms of vocabulary and spelling, Dutch is probably easier for native English speakers since they share many words with a similar pronunciation. The Dutch language borrows lots of words from the French, as does English – although, annoying, they are rarely the same words!

What language is Danish closest to? ›

Both Danish and English belong to the Germanic language family. If we view this like a simplified family tree, we could say that Danish, Norwegian and Swedish are 'siblings', and that English, Dutch and German (who can be perceived as each other's 'siblings') are their cousins.

What makes Danish so hard to learn? ›

As Bohn's example suggests, the overabundance of vowels is the main hurdle facing foreigners struggling to learn the language. Because Danish has at least 24 different vowel sounds. In contrast, Arabic has just three. And not only are there are a lot of vowel sounds to keep track of.

What is the top 1 hardest word to pronounce? ›

The Most Difficult English Word To Pronounce
  • Rural.
  • Otorhinolaryngologist.
  • Colonel.
  • Penguin.
  • Sixth.
  • Isthmus.
  • Anemone.
  • Squirrel.
Oct 26, 2018

What is the word no Danish? ›

Ja (yes) and nej (no) are one of the common words used in Danish to declare yes and no.

What is the longest Danish word ever? ›

Nevertheless, the constructed word speciallægepraksisplanlægningsstabiliseringsperiode – which means "a period of stabilising the planning of a specialist doctor's practice" – was cited in 1993 by the Danish version of the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest word in the Danish language at 51 letters long.

What is Danish slang for cool? ›

Fedt – Cool ( It is used concerning a thing or a situation.

What is the Danish comfort word? ›

What is hygge? Hard to explain and even harder to pronounce, the Danish word "hygge" (pronounced "hoo-gah") has exploded in popularity around the world. It translates roughly to "cosiness," but it means so much more than that.

Videos

1. 20 Danish Words for Everyday Life - Basic Vocabulary #1
(Learn Danish with DanishClass101.com)
2. Danish for Beginners | 500 Popular Words & Phrases
(Education World)
3. Learn Danish Verbs #6!
(Danish Mastery)
4. Danish 100 important sentences - Popular Phrases - Quick Lesson
(Education World)
5. 100 Danish Words for Everyday Life - Basic Vocabulary #5
(Learn Danish with DanishClass101.com)
6. 300 Words Every Danish Beginner Must Know
(Learn Danish with DanishClass101.com)

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