Alfabetet ~ The Alphabet
Vokaler ~ Vowels
There are nine vowels in the Danish/Norwegian alphabet, a, e, i, o, u, y, æ, ø and å. For people who only speak English they are often not pronounced quite the way you would expect.
The five first vowels are pronounced as in most European languages other than English.
- a is pronounced almost as the English a
- i is pronounced as ee in bee or the e in Reba.
- y is pronounced as ee in bee but with rounded lips. This sound does not occur in English, but it's similar to the French tu or German ü.
- æ is pronounced 1) as in hat or 2) as in any or end.
- ø is pronounced as in earn or hurt.
- å is pronounced 1) as awe and or or 2) sort of like as in no or low.
It is important to distinguish between long and short vowels. A short vowel is often indicated by doubling the consonant after it.
For instance skulle with a short u means should, but at skule means to stare. Pile means darts, but pille means pill.
Konsonanter ~ Consonants
b, f, h, k, l, m, n, p, s, t and v are pronounced more or less as in English.
- d is silent if found after an n, as in hende. If doubled in the middle of a word, as in hedder, it is pronounced as th in the English the or tether. The d can also take on the sound of a hard d, "at dykke" (meaning, "to dive" where the d's are pronounced the same).
- g is usually pronounced as in guess. Sometimes pronounced as a soft g if the word is of foreign origin, for example: teenagere
- j is pronounced as the y in yes.
c, q, w, x and z are mainly used in foreign words.
- c is pronounced as s when it comes before e, i, y and æ, and as k in all other cases. (Exception: Cypern (meaning Cyprus) is pronounced with a k sound))
- q is pronounced as k.
- w is pronounced as v (never as English w.)
- x is pronounced as s if it is the first letter in a word and is pronounced as ks if it is not.
- z is pronounced as s.
- r is pronounced almost as French/German r but more "smoothe", without the vibrating sound.
Note that Danish does not have the voiced z-sound, so Danish s, x and z are never pronounced as in English is, example or zoo.
Eksempler ~ Examples:
xylofon (x pronounced like s)
fox (x pronounced like ks)
- Wikipedia article about Danish phonology