Danish I Tutorial: Basic Phrases, Vocabulary and Grammar

Written by and mp3s recorded by Anders


1. Basic Phrases


God morgen Hej / Goddag
Goodmorning Hello / Good day
   
God aften  Godnat
Good Evening Good Night
   
Farvel Bede om / Vær sød (depending on the context)
Goodbye Please
   
(Mange) Tak Det var så lidt / Selv tak
Thank you (very much) Don't mention it / You're welcome
   
Ja/Nej Herre (Hr.) / Fru / Frøken (Frk.)
Yes/No Mister / Misses / Miss
   
Hvordan går det? Hvordan har du det?
How are you? How are you? (How are you feeling?)
   
Godt / Fint Ikke så godt
Good / Fine Not so good
   
Hvad hedder du? Jeg hedder…
What's your name? I am called…
   
Mit navn er… Hyggeligt at møde dig!
My name is… Pleased to meet you!
 
Velkommen
Welcome
   
Hvor er du fra? Jeg er fra… 
Where are you from? I'm from…
   
Hvor bor du? Jeg bor i…
Where do you live? I live in… 
   
Hvor gammel er du? Jeg er __ år (gammel)
How old are you? I am __ years old
   
Taler du dansk? Jeg taler (ikke) engelsk
Do you speak Danish? I don't speak English
 
svensk, norsk, fransk, italiensk, spansk, tysk, hollandsk, russisk, japansk
Swedish, Norwegian, French, Italian, Spanish, German, Dutch, Russian, Japanese
   
Ja, en lille smule Nej, slet ikke
Yes, a little bit No, not at all
   
Jeg forstår (ikke) Jeg ved det (ikke)
I (don't) understand I (don't) know
   
Undskyld  Ha' det godt!
Excuse me / Pardon me Take care!
   
Vi ses senere / snart Hej / Hej hej
See you later / soon Hi / Bye
   
Jeg elsker dig Jeg savner dig
I love you I miss you

 


2. Pronunciation

c s after e, i, y
c k after a, u, o
d d at the beginning of a word, soft l or th after a vowel, silent if following or followed by a consonant
g g at the beginning of a word, i after an e, prolongs preceding vowel sound if followed by e, silent at the end of a word
ng ng
h h, silent before a consonant
j y
r r at the beginning of a word,
v v at the beginning of a word, u after a vowel, w after a consonant 
w v
z s


3. Alphabet

a ay k ko u ooh
b bey l el v vey
c cey m em x eks
d dey n en y ew
e ey o oh z set
f ef p pey æ eh
g gey q koo ø er
h ho r air å o  
i ee s ess
j yolh t tey


4. Nouns & Cases

Nouns in Danish have two genders, common and neuter, which adjectives must agree with when modifying nouns. These genders are signified by the indefinite articles: en and et. In the vocabulary lists, a noun followed by (n) means that it is a neuter noun and it takes the indefinite article et. The majority of nouns in Danish are common gender, so they take the indefinite article en.

The only case of nouns that is used in Danish is the genitive (showing possession), and it is easily formed by adding an -s to the noun. This is comparable to adding -'s in English to show possession. However, if the noun already ends in -s, then you add nothing (unlike English where we add -' or -'s). Anders bok = Anders's book


5. Articles & Demonstratives

There are two indefinite articles (corresponding to a and an) in Danish: en and et. En is used with most of the nouns (words denoting people almost always use en), but you will just have to learn which article goes with which noun. The definite article (the) is not a separate word like in most other languages. It is simply a form of the indefinite article attached to the end of the noun. Note that en words ending in a vowel retain that vowel and add an -n instead of adding -en. And et words ending in -e just add a -t.

En words (common) Et words (neuter)
Indefinite Definite Indefinite Definite
en banan a banana  bananen the banana et bord a table bordet the table
en stol a chair stolen the chair et køkken a kitchen køkkenet the kitchen
en gade a street gaden the street et æble an apple æblet the apple

 

This, that, these and those are expressed in Danish by using denne (EN words), dette (ET words) or disse (plural). The noun is always in the indefinite form after these demonstratives, except for when these / disse (plural) is used, in which case an er is added (unless the words already ends in an r) after the indefinite demonstrative. (This banana = denne banan, That table = dette bord, These streets = disse gader / These apples = disse æbler)

 


6. Subject & Object Pronouns

Subject & Object Pronouns
jeg  I mig me
du you (singular) dig you
han he ham him
hun she hende her
den it (with en words) den it
det it (with et words) det it
man  one en one
vi we os us
I you (plural) jer you
de they dem them

Man can be translated as one, we, they or the people in general.  When referring to nouns as it, you use den for en nouns, and det for ett nouns. Formerly, du was the informal you and De was the formal, but these distinctions are rarely used anymore.


7. To Be & to Have

The present and past tenses of verbs in Danish are very simple to conjugate. All the forms are the same for each personal pronoun. The infinitive of the verb to be is være, and the conjugated present tense form is er and the past tense is var. The infinitive of the verb to have is have, and the conjugated present tense form is har and the past tense is havde.

at være - to be
at have - to have
I am jeg er I was jeg var I have jag har I had jeg havde
you are du er  you were du var you have du har you had du havde
he is han er he was han var he has han har he had han havde
she is hun er she was hun var she has hon har she had hun havde
it is den er it was den var it has den har it had den havde
it is det er it was det var it has det har it had det havde
one is man er  one was man var one has man har one had man havde
we are vi er we were vi var we have vi har we had vi havde
you are De er you were De var you have ni har you had De havde
they are de er they were de var they have de har they had de havde

 

To form the future tense of verbs, just add vil before the infinitive. Jeg vil være= I will be; hun vil have = she will have; etc. However, the present tense can often be used with adverbs of time to indicate the future. The word skal can also be used in place of vil, but this implies a promise rather than a general future condition.


8. Useful Words

sometimes nogle gange already allerede 
always altid perhaps måske
never aldrig both begge
often ofte some nogle
usually oftest/plejer again igen
now nu between imellem
and og a lot, many mange
but men of course selvfølgelig/naturligvis
or eller a little en lille smule
very meget not at all slet ikke
here her almost næsten
there der really? virkelig?
with med it is det er
each other hinanden there is/are der er


9. Question Words

who hvem whose hvis
what hvad which hvilken, hvilket, hvilke
why hvorfor where to hvor til
when hvornår where from hvor fra
where hvor how hvordan

 

Which has three different forms depending on the gender and number of the noun that follows it. Hvilken is used with en words, hvilket is used with et words and hvilke is used with plural words.


10. Cardinal & Ordinal Numbers

0 nul  
1 en 1st første
2 to 2nd anden
3 tre 3rd tredje
4 fire 4th fjerde
5 fem 5th femte
6 seks 6th sjette
7 syv 7th syvende
8 otte 8th ottende
9 nitten 9th niende
10 ti 10th tiende
11 elleve 11th elvte
12 tolv 12th tolvte
13 tretten 13th trettende
14 fjorten 14th fjortende
15 femten 15th femtende
16 sejsten 16th sejstende
17 sytten 17th syttende
18 atten 18th attende
19 nitten 19th nittende
20 tyve 20th tyvende
21 enogtyve 21st enogtyvende
22 toogtyve 22nd toogtyvende
30 tredive 30th tredivte
40 fyrre 40th fyrretyvende
50 halvtreds 50th halvtredsenstyvende
60 treds 60th tredsenstyvende
70 halvfjerds 70th halvfjerdsenstyvende
80 firs 80th firsenstyvende
90 halvfems 90th halvfemsenstyvende
100 hundrede 100th hundrededel
1,000 tusind 1,000th tusindedel
million million  
billion milliard  
trillion billion  


11. Days of the Week / ugens dage

Monday mandag
Tuesday tirsdag
Wednesday onsdag
Thursday torsdag
Friday fredag
Saturday lørdag
Sunday søndag
day dag
morning morgen
afternoon eftermiddag
evening aften
night nat
today i dag
tomorrow i morgen
day after tomorrow i over morgen
tonight i aften
yesterday i går
day before yesterday forgårs
last night i går aftes
week uge
weekend weekend
daily daglig
weekly ugentlig

To say "on" a certain day, use before the day.


12. Months of the Year / Årets mÅneder

 

January januar
February februar
March marts
April april
May maj
June juni
July juli
August august
September september
October oktober
November november
December december
month måned
year år
monthly månedlig
yearly årlig

To say "in" a certain month, use i before the month.


13. Seasons / Årstider

winter vinter in (the) winter om vinteren
spring forår in (the) spring om foråret
summer sommer in (the) summer om sommeren
fall efterår in (the) fall om efteråret


14. Directions

north nord northeast nordøst
south syd northwest nordvest
east øst southeast sydøst
west vest southwest sydvest
       
left venstre    
right højre    
straight ahead lige ud    


15. Colors

orange orange
pink pink, lyserød/lyserødt/lyserøde
purple lilla
blue blå/blåt
yellow gul/gult/gule
red rød/rødt/røde
black sort/sorte
brown brun/brunt/brune
gray grå/gråt
white hvid/hvidt/hvide
green grøn/grønt/grønne

 

Since colors are adjectives, most of them agree with the noun they describe. The first word is used with en words, the second with et words and the third with plural words. Some words remain the same for all three (such as lilla.)


16. Time / Tid

What time is it? Hvad er klokken?
It is 2 AM klokken er to om natten
6:20 tyve over seks
half past 3 halv fire
quarter past 4 kvart over fire
quarter to 5 kvart i fem
10 past 11 ti over elleve
20 to 7 tyve i syv
noon middag
midnight midnat
in the morning om morgenen
in the evening om aftenen
It's exactly... den er præcis
About/around 8. omkring otte
At 8. klokken otte
early tidlig/tidligt
late(r) senere

Sweden uses the 24 hour clock for official times such as train schedules.


17. Weather / Vejret

How's the weather today? hvordan er vejret i dag?
It's cold det er koldt
beautiful smukt
hot varmt
clear klart
icy iset
warm lunt
windy blæsende
cloudy skyet
hazy diset
muggy råt
humid fugtigt
foggy tåget
It's snowing det sner
It's raining det regner
It's freezing det er koldt


18. Family / Familie

Parents forældre
Mother mor
Father far
Son søn
Daughter datter
Brother bror
Sister søster
Grandfather Morfar (on mothers side) / Farfar (on fathers side)
Grandmother Mormor (on mothers side) / Farmor (on fathers side)
Grandson barnebarn
Granddaughter   barnebarn
Niece niece
Nephew nevø
Cousin fætter (m) / kusine (f)
Uncle onkel
Aunt tante/moster
Boy dreng
Girl pige
Child / Baby barn/baby
Adult voksen
Man mand
Woman kvinde
Friend (m) ven
Friend (f) veninde


19. To Know People & Facts

kende - to know people vide - to know facts
present (know, knows) kender ved
past (knew) kendte vidste
future (will know) vil kende vil vide

20. Plural Nouns

en nat - nætter night/nights en bonde - bønder farmer/farmers
en hånd - hænder hand/hands en ko - køer cow/cows
en tand - tænder tooth/teeth en fod - fødder foot/feet
en and - ænder duck/ducks en rod - rødder root/roots
en gås - gæs goose/geese en bog - bøger book/books
en tå - tæer toe/toes en mand - mænd man/men

 


 

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