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 5 first vowels are pronounced similar to most European languages the rest are similar to the nordic languages the Danish y is also reminiscent of how it was pronounced in Classical Latin and has not changed since it was adopted along the rest of the alphabet.
- Long a is pronounced as some English speakers say long a or short a in rat .
- Long e is pronounced as some English speakers say ee,it is identical to Standard German ee in nee and similar to e/é in Standard French et / écoute
- Long i might be confused with the Danish Long e or English ee.This sound does not occur in some English dialects,however some might pronounce their long-e/ee as this sound, it's similar to the French qui and identical to German in biete
- Long o is pronounced nearly identical to the way some english speakers say oo in took just longer,it is identical to Standard German oo in boot and to ô in French côté
- Long u is pronounced as in the way many english speakers say the oo in boot.It is identical to the ou in standard French nous or oe in Standard Dutch toe
- Long y is pronounced as the i above but rounded. This sound does not occur in the dialect of most English speakers, it's similar to the Standard French u in tu or Standard German ü in rübe.
- Long æ is pronounced as in every or 2) as in any or end but longer.
- Long ø is pronounced like Danish Long e mentioned above but rounded.
- Long å is pronounced 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.The vowel quality in the short vowels takes a darker sound than the long versions so as short e is said with the same quality as long æ but said short.
Konsonanter ~ Consonants
b, f, h, k, l, m, n, p, s and t are pronounced more or less as in English.
- t is said practically identical to Standard English at the beginning of words but when found in between vowels or at the end it might become a soft t somewhat like the the and in other places like a voiceless d in dinner.
- d is silent if found after an n, as in hende. If doubled in the middle of a word, as in hedder or found at the end as in hed, it is pronounced somewhat 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 at most word beginnings ,after vowels it takes either a semi-vowel quality or lengthens the vowel before . Some might pronounce it as dg as in G.E (Global English) edge if the word of foreign origin has it, for example: teenagere however many might say it as G.E dy(di in Dionne) or an English y sound ,in such words.
- v is usually pronounced somewhere in between a w and a v at word beginnings ,after vowels it takes the semi-vowel quality of w sound in the G.E cow or (in some speakers) as a rounded G.E y only when following e,ø, i, y and æ.
- 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,ø 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 somewhere in between a standard english w and v.
- 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