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Lesson Transcript

Gina: Hello and welcome back to DanishClass101.com. This is Absolute Beginner season 1, lesson 4 - It's Never Too Late to Apologize in Danish. I’m Gina.
Anna: Hej, I’m Anna.
Gina: In this lesson, you’ll learn how to apologize in Danish.
Anna: That’s right! Being able to say you're sorry in a new language is very important.
Gina: So let’s get to it!
Anna: The conversation takes place at a music venue and is between Emma and a stranger.
Gina: The speakers don’t know each other, but they're still speaking standard Danish.
Emma: Undskyld, må jeg komme forbi?
Stranger: Åh, undskyld. Står jeg i vejen?
Emma: Det gør ikke noget. Tak.
Emma: Excuse me, may I pass?
Stranger: Oh, sorry. Am I in the way?
Emma: That's alright. Thanks.
Gina: Anna, tell us more about when to apologize in Denmark.
Anna: Danes usually apologize when accidentally bumping into people or stepping on someone’s toes and the like.
Gina: I think that’s a very universal rule.
Anna: Just like it is to apologize for being late or not showing up when expected.
Gina: I don’t think that’s necessary in all cultures.
Anna: You’re right about that, but it’s very normal for Danes to apologize for being late.
Gina: Any other situations we should know about?
Anna: Yes, for example, when you’re having dinner with people you want to make a good impression on and you accidentally burp, apologizing shows good manners.
Gina: It sounds… Kind of strict.
Anna: Well, people won’t make a big deal about it, if you don’t apologize. It depends on who you're with.
Gina: Phew, excellent!
Gina: Let’s take a closer look at the usage of some of the words and phrases from this lesson.
Anna: First we have the interjection åh.
Gina: As you can probably guess, this means “oh.”
Anna: And it's used in the same way in Danish as "oh” is in English.
Gina: So it’s to express an exclamation?
Anna: Exactly. Danes often use åh in connection with the interjection ja, which means “yes," or the interjection nej, which means “no.”
Gina: Which gives us the phrases…
Anna: Åh, ja and Åh, nej.
Gina: (laughs), let’s have the next phrase.
Anna: I vejen.
Gina: This phrase means “in the way.”
Anna: Yes, but it can be used not only in terms of something or someone being in the way.
Gina: Right! It can also mean “wrong,” right?
Anna: That’s right! When i vejen is part of the phrase Hvad er der i vejen? or Er der noget i vejen?, it means “wrong.”
Gina: So how would you ask “What’s wrong?”
Anna: Hvad er der i vejen?
Gina: And “Is something wrong?”
Anna: Er der noget i vejen?
Gina: Great! What’s the next phrase?
Anna: Det gør ikke noget.
Gina: This phrase usually means “That’s alright” or “It’s alright,” but it can also mean “It doesn’t matter.”
Anna: It is composed of the pronoun det, which means “it,” gør, the present tense of the verb “to do” or “to make,” the adverb ikke, which means “not” or “no,” and the pronoun noget, which means “some,” “any,” “something,” or “anything.”
Gina: So the phrase literally means “It doesn’t something” or “It doesn’t anything,” which is completely nonsense in English.
Anna: Yes, and that’s why we say “It doesn’t matter” instead.
Gina: I see. Okay, now onto the grammar.
Gina: In this lesson, you’ll learn how to say “sorry.”
Anna: In Danish, “sorry” is undskyld.
Gina: The interjection is used in the same way as “sorry” is in English, so it's very straightforward to learn.
Anna: Undskyld is sometimes followed by the pronoun mig, which means “me.” This gives us the phrase Undskyld mig.
Gina: Which means “Excuse me” or “Pardon me.”
Anna: Danes often leave out mig and only say Undskyld, though.
Gina: Even if they mean to say “Excuse me”?
Anna: Yes. For example, when you want to pass someone, or if you want to get someone’s attention, you only need to say Undskyld.
Gina: So when should you use the version with mig?
Anna: Danes usually use that phrase when they want to apologize or excuse themselves, before making a statement that might not be received well by everyone who is present.
Gina: You mean during a discussion or something like that?
Anna: Yes, some say Undskyld mig before cutting into a conversation or discussion in order to get themselves heard and share their opinion.
Gina: You can also use it if you have to leave the table during a meal.
Anna: That’s right.
Gina: Can you tell us a bit about undskyld as a verb?
Anna: Sure. Now, we know that undskyld is an interjection, but as you'll learn, the verb undskylde, which means “to apologize,” “excuse,” or “forgive,” resembles the interjection quite a lot.
Gina: We basically just added an -e to the word.
Anna: But this doesn’t mean that you can turn any interjection into a verb by adding an -e in Danish.
Gina: That’s right, it only works for this one. Let’s have an example with the verb version.
Anna: By saying Det må du undskylde, you are kind of emphasizing how sorry you truly are.
Gina: The phrase literally means something like “That you must excuse,” but it's equivalent to “Sorry about that” or “Please excuse/forgive that.”
Anna: It's composed of the pronoun det, which means “it” or “that,” må the present tense of the verb “may” or “must,” the pronoun du, which means “you,” and the verb undskylde in infinitive form.
Gina: And if you want to specify your apology, you can say…
Anna: Jeg undskylder… followed by whatever you are sorry about.


Gina: Well, that’s all for this lesson. Remember to check out the lesson notes and practice apologizing. Thanks for listening, everyone, and we’ll see you next time.
Anna: Vi ses!


Please to leave a comment.
😄 😞 😳 😁 😒 😎 😠 😆 😅 😜 😉 😭 😇 😴 😮 😈 ❤️️ 👍

DanishClass101.com Verified
Wednesday at 06:30 PM
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Hello Listeners! How do you say "sorry" in Danish?

DanishClass101.com Verified
Friday at 11:20 PM
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Hi Tor.

Thanks for your question.

The difference is that with "Beklager", one doesn't necessarily take responsibility for anything, which is the case with "Undskyld". So one can say "Jeg beklager" (I'm sorry) when it's about an external event that one is not involved in, but in such a case "Jeg undskylder" (I apologize) would be incorrect. In that way, "beklager" is also milder than "undskyld", cause one doesn't take explicit responsibility.

I hope that helped to clarify the matter. Otherwise, don't hesitate to ask again.

Best regards


Team DanishClass101.com

Monday at 02:28 PM
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When would one use "beklager" vs "undskyd"

DanishClass101.com Verified
Sunday at 05:41 AM
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Hej tommysco,

We are sorry if you perceived that "spamming." 😞 Anyway, we are happy that our emails worked and you are back! 👍😉

Let us know if you have any questions.

Kind regards,


Team DanishClass101.com

Thursday at 06:26 AM
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thanks for spamming my email box. at least when i felt the urgent need to improve my danish, i remembered u.

DanishClass101.com Verified
Tuesday at 05:26 AM
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Hej Diana.

Det har du helt ret i. Det er undskyld. 😄👍

Tak for din kommentar.


Team DanishClasses101.com

Thursday at 01:29 AM
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Undskyld, det er undskyld

Hej hej

Thursday at 01:28 AM
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Hej hej

Team DanishClass101.com
Wednesday at 05:04 AM
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Hej Bhavya

Thank you for posting.

In this example, "så" means "saw" because it is the past tense form of the verb "se."

Hope this cleared things up and that you will continue to enjoy learning Danish with us.

If you have any other questions please let us know.

Thank you!


Team DanishClass101.com

Friday at 01:41 AM
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Hej Amalie. Under the example given for noget, så is used as the verb "saw". But, isn't is the translation for so in English?

Mange tak.

Team DanishClass101.com
Friday at 03:20 PM
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Hi Tomisin,

Thank you for commenting.

You are welcome.

If you have any other questions, please let us know.

Thank you!


Team DanishClass101.com