Let’s learn some Danish!

So I’ve been in Copenhagen for a month already! Yesterday I went to a lecture at Copenhagen University; the class is a course in Danish culture. Yesterday’s lecture was about mythology and legends. It was pretty interesting! I am not enrolled in the class so it felt kind of funny to sit there, but it was a large lecture class and so people probably thought I was enrolled. The lecture hall was very stylish, by the way. If I go again I’ll try to take some pictures. It’s true that the Danish people seem to love well-designed and stylish buildings. At least,  it seems true from what I’ve seen so far in Copenhagen!

Well, on to the purpose of this entry. Here are some Danish words I’ve picked up from my first month of living in Copenhagen. It is far easier for me to read them than to pronounce them, though. I can get by with speaking English, but it is fun to try to understand the local language.

First, a little about Danish:

  • The Danish alphabet – the Danish alphabet uses the same 26 letters that the English language does, plus 3 vowels that do not occur in English. These vowels are represented by Æ (with lowercase æ); Ø (with lowercase ø); and Å (lowercase å). They come at the end of the alphabet, after “Z”, in the order I’ve presented them.
  • So, “æ” is pronounced close to “e” in English word “best”
  • “ø” is pronounced close to the “i” sound in the English word “bird”
  • “å” is prounounced like “o” in “coke” or “often.”

Some Danish words I picked up this past month (note – many of these words look similar to English but are pronounced totally different):

  • Days of the week (in order): mandag, tirsdag, onsdag, torsdag, fredag, lørdag & søndag.
    • I’ve noticed that days of the week are not capitalized when used within a sentence.
  • dag = day
  • i dag = today
  • og = and
  • med = with
    • I’ve even seen “m/grøntsager” meaning “with vegetables”, the same way we would write “w/vegetables” in English!
  • mod = against
  • tryk = push (I’ve seen it on doors)
  • udgang = exit
  • adgang = entrance
  • grøntsager = vegetables
  • kort = card
  • næste = next
  • til = to (as in “going to some location”) or can also mean “until”
  • klokken = “at …. o’clock”; for example, the time for my kitchen’s weekly dinner is written on the board as Kl.19:00, meaning 7:00 p.m.
  • åben = open
  • på = on; at; in
  • parkering = parking
  • øl = beer
  • løg = onion
  • have = garden
  • hvidløg = garlic
  • vask = washing
  • vaskeri = laundry
  • varm = hot or warm
  • lufthavn = airport
  • luft = air or sky
  • frugt = fruit

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