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Lesson Transcript

INTRODUCTION
Anna: Hi everyone, I’m Anna.
Becky: And I’m Becky, and welcome to DanishClass101.com! This is Pronunciation Series, lesson 1, The Pronunciation of Consonants in Danish.
Anna: In this lesson we’re going to start with the basics and slowly work our way up!

Lesson focus

Becky: That’s right. And the focus of this lesson is Danish consonants.
Anna: Becky, do you know how many letters there are in the Danish alphabet? And how many of them are consonants?
Becky: We covered this in the All About series, didn’t we! hmm… Let’s see. The Danish alphabet consists of 29 letters, of which 20 are single consonants. But there are also 3 compound consonants that are derived from them.
Anna: Yes, that’s right!
Becky: The 20 single consonants and 3 compound consonants together create 23 distinct consonant sounds in Danish.
Anna: Ok, and we won’t keep you waiting any longer. Let’s jump right into the pronunciation of each consonant.
Becky: Great. Why don’t we start with those consonants that we already know from the English alphabet?
Anna: All right. Let’s look at these consonants first. They are b c d f g h j k l m n p q r s t v w x and z.
Becky: Because most consonants in Danish are pronounced in a similar way to English, we’re going to focus on the ones that differ in pronunciation. The most important thing to understand is that consonants will often have different pronunciations depending on whether they occur at the beginning or end of a syllable.
Anna: Let’s start with d. When starting a syllable, d is voiceless in Danish. For example der the Danish word for “there” and møde “meet”. When ending a syllable, d represents the sound “eth,” which is taken from the Old English letter by the same name.
Becky: “eth”?
Anna: Another example is “rød” which means “red”, the color.
Becky: The next one is g or “g”, which is also pronounced differently whether it’s at the beginning or end of a syllable. G also has different combination rules with vowels in a word.
Anna: The Danish g is a velar stop consonant at the beginning of the consonant, but at the end of the consonant g is opened and becomes an alveolo-palatal vocoid after front vowels and a labial vocoid after back vowels.
Becky: That sounds a bit complicated. Can you give us some examples?
Anna: Sure. With g as a velar stop consonant, we have “gade” which means “street.” With g after front vowels, we have “teglsten” meaning “brick” or “tile.” Finally with g after back vowels, we have “magre” meaning “lean” or “meager.”
Becky: Another consonant we want to mention is the Danish
Anna: j
Becky: or “J”. It is mainly pronounced as the English “y” in the word “you” both at the beginning and end of syllables.
Anna: Yes, when j is not the initial or final letter of a word, it often occurs after the letters “h,” “s,” and “t.” But no matter what, j is always pronounced the same. Unless it occurs in a loan word like “job” or “juice.”
Becky: Next up is the Danish...
Anna: K or “K”, it is either pronounced like the English “k” at the beginning of a syllable or like the “g” at the end of a syllable.
Becky: Could you give us an example?
Anna: Sure! For example, the “k” in the word “dansk” meaning “Danish” is pronounced like “g.”
Becky: Our next Danish consonant is the letter
Anna: P or “p”. It’s either pronounced like the English “p” in “parsley” at the beginning of a syllable or like a “b” at the end of the syllable. For example, the “p” in the word “dampende” meaning “steaming” is pronounced like a “b.”
Becky: Great! Next we have the Danish.
Anna: R or “r”. The Danish r is pronounced like an uvular trill or uvular approximant. At the beginning of a syllable it is pronounced like the German “r” in the word “reisen” meaning “(to) travel.” At the end of the syllable, r is pronounced like the “r” in the Danish word “svirpende” meaning “flicking.”
Becky: Only two more consonants to go. Our next Danish letter is
Anna: T or “t”. At the beginning of a syllable, it is pronounced like the English letter “t” in the word “tea.” And at the end of a syllable, t is pronounced like a “d.”
Becky: Can you give us an example?
Anna: Sure. For example, the letter “t” in the word “smelte” meaning “melt” is pronounced like a “d.”
Becky: Ok, and finally, we have the Danish consonant.
Anna: V or “v” , when said at the beginning of a word, is pronounced like the second “v” in the word “velvet.” At the end of the syllable, v is pronounced like the “v” in the Danish word “farve” meaning “color.”
Becky: Alright, that’s all the information about single consonants. Please refer to the accompanying lesson notes to review all the single consonants in Danish.
Anna: Now, let’s continue with the 3 compound consonants.
Becky: First, we’ll look at...
Anna: ch. This one is easy. Ch is pronounced like the “ch” in the word “champagne.” Ch is also pronounced like the “ch” in the English word “chicken” when used in English loan words.
Becky: Can you give us some examples?
Anna: Sure. For example, “charmerende” which means “charming.” And “chips” meaning “(potato) chips."
Becky: Next we have…
Anna: Ng or “ng”, it is similar to the “ng” in English words like “morning.”
Becky: Let’s have a Danish example.
Anna: Well, the Danish word for “honey” is “honning.” The “ng” is pronounced exactly the same way as when it occurs in an English word.
Becky: Finally, we have.
Anna: SJ or “sj”, sj is a variation of the letter “c” and is pronounced like the “sh” in the English word “show.” One example is “sjov” which means “fun” in Danish.
Becky: Right. Are you still with us listeners?
Anna: Of course they are!
Becky: I sure hope so because we are going to move on to 9 Danish consonants, which are also referred to as stops.
Anna: The 9 stops can be divided into 3 groups.
Becky: The first group consists of the consonants “p”, “t” and “k”.
Anna: When p, t, and k are in the initial position before a full vowel, they are aspirated stops.
Becky: Aspirated stop…. what is that?
Anna: Aspiration is a small puff of air that is released when you say a sound. When used with a stop, like p, t, and k, it is produced after you make the sound.
Becky: Can you give us some examples?
Anna: Sure. For example, p is an aspirated stop in words like “passe” meaning “to look after” or “take care of” and “pose” which means “bag.”
Becky: Could you give an example of words containing “t” as an aspirated stop?
Anna: An example is the t in “tand” which means “tooth.” Another word is “til” which simply means “to.”
Becky: Great. How about words with “k” as an aspirated stop?
Anna: Examples with k could be the words “krikke” meaning “horse”, and “komme” which means “come.”
Becky: Great! Please note, in all other positions, p, t, and k are unaspirated stops and end up sounding like “b,” “d,” and “g.” This also happens when they come after -s and when they’re doubled.
Anna: Exactly! For example, in the words “spille” meaning “play” or “act” and “tæppe” which has a double p and means “carpet” or “blanket”, the “p” is pronounced like a “b.” “Stop” also contains an unaspirated “p” that is pronounced like a “b.”
Becky: Listen for the unaspirated p sound. It will sound a lot like a b…
Anna: “Spille,” “tæppe,” and “stop." Now, examples with t could be “støj” meaning “noise,” “rotte” which means “rat,” and “kat” which means “cat,” of course. The “t”’ sounds in these words are all unaspirated, and therefore sound a lot like “d”’s.
Becky: Listen for the unaspirated t. It will sound a somewhat like a d sound.
Anna: That’s right - “Støj,” “rotte,” and “kat,” but unaspirated.
Becky: Let’s move on to the next group of stops.
Anna: Yes, next we have b d and g. B is easy because it is pronounced like a “b” in any position in a word. D is either pronounced in a ‘hard,’ ‘soft’ or ‘silent’ way.
Becky: Can you give us an example of a ‘hard’ d?
Anna: Sure. D is pronounced hard when it is the initial letter of a word or when it occurs before a full vowel. For example, “dag” meaning “day” and “soldat” which means “soldier” in Danish.
Becky: D is soft when it occurs after a vowel and when doubled.
Anna: For example, “møde” meaning “meeting” and “sidde” which means “sit.”
Becky: BUT there are exceptions to this rule. And you can check them out in lesson notes, where we have listed these exceptions.
Becky: First, let’s move on to the ‘silent’ “d”.
Anna: The d is silent in the combinations of -ld, -nd, and -rd or “ld”, “nd” and “rd” respectively. For example, the word “ild” which means “fire” contains a silent “d.” Another example is “mand” which means “man.” Notice how you don’t pronounce the “d”’s? The “d” is also silent in the word “bord” which means “table.”
Becky: Finally, we have g.
Anna: When it occurs as the initial letter of a word, it is aspirated and pronounced like g in the Danish word “gammel” meaning “old.”
Becky: And also in the word for “street” which we covered earlier,
Anna: “gade.”
Anna: Right! But like d, g can also be silent. For example, the word “spurgte” which means “asked” contains a “g” after the first vowel, but it is silent. Another example is “uge” which means “week.” This word also contains a “g,” but it isn’t pronounced.
Becky: Words ending with an -ig or containing these combinations also belong to the category of words with silent “g”’s. For example...
Anna: “Heldig,” which means “lucky.” You wouldn’t know that there’s a “g” at the end, if you just heard the word, would you?
Becky: That’s right! You’d have to see it written down. And now for the final group of stops.
Anna: Yes, the last group consists of “m “n” and a sound often represented by the letters “ng” in English.
Becky: This group is easy because all three are voiced no matter their position in a word. Let’s wrap this up with a little information on Danish word-final consonants.
Anna: Unlike Swedish and Norwegian, Danish word-final consonants are voiced.
Becky: This is because all the Danish forms with word-final voiced consonants have intervocalic forms and the voicing occurs when the consonants are in an intervocalic position.
Anna: Generally, their sounds when functioning as a final consonant are the same as how they are pronounced as initial consonants.

Outro

Anna: All right. That’s all about Danish consonants.
Becky: Yeah, the first step is the hardest, but you’ll gradually master Danish pronunciation by studying this series with us!
Anna: So keep practicing!
Becky: And we’ll see you next time! Bye!
Anna: Vi ses!

13 Comments

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DanishClass101.com Verified
Tuesday at 06:30 PM
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Which Danish consonant is the most difficult to pronounce for you?

DanishClass101.com Verified
Monday at 04:56 PM
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Hello Nicolas.


I understand that it is hard to understand. If you scowl down in the comments. There is an answer to Nathan with examples that you can have a look at. How the letter "g" can be used differently according if it is in the beginning in the word, in the middle or in the end. How you pronounce it.


Cheers,


Linda

Team DanishClass101.com

Nicholas Jones
Sunday at 07:03 PM
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'Let’s wrap this up with a little information on Danish word-final consonants.


Anna:

Unlike Swedish and Norwegian, Danish word-final consonants are voiced.


Becky:

This is because all the Danish forms with word-final voiced consonants have intervocalic forms and the voicing occurs when the consonants are in an intervocalic position.


Anna:

Generally, their sounds when functioning as a final consonant are the same as how they are pronounced as initial consonants.'


Really need some examples here! No idea what it means 😅

Team DanishClass101.com
Monday at 06:40 PM
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Hi Ross,


Thank you for your comment.


If you click on "Download PDFs," 4 options will appear.

The second option is called "Lesson transcript," which is the one you want.


Hope you will continue to enjoy learning Danish with us.

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


Thank you!


Amalie

Team DanishClass101.com

Ross
Sunday at 08:53 PM
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Hi, is there a way I can get a script of this audio so I can read it while they're saying it?

Team DanishClass101.com
Tuesday at 04:38 PM
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Hi SHeng,


Thank you for commenting.


Don't lose faith! There are a lot of wordlists to listen to and practice with in other lessons. If you keep the lesson notes from this lesson next to you while listening to the wordlists (and dialogues), you may be able to recognize the pronunciations of the different letters faster.

I do see how it would be beneficial for Danish learners to have a recorded list of all the words used in the notes already in the pronunciation series.


We appreciate your feedback and will consider it for potential updates in the future.

Hope you will continue learning Danish with us. Don't give up!


If you have any questions, please let us know.


Thank you!


Amalie

Team DanishClass101.com

SHeng
Friday at 12:29 AM
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So now day 5 and start to learn pronunciation...


I found this lesson difficult and now I think I am starting to lose faith... Maybe to have a list of words recorded which is shown in the notes can help me better....

Team DanishClass101.com
Tuesday at 04:42 AM
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Hi Erica,


Thank you so much for giving us some feedback on this lesson.


Yes, there is quite a lot crammed into one lesson, which can be somewhat unfortunate, but since it usually does not take more than 5 pronunciation lessons to cover most of the basics in many of the languages we offer, the Pronunciation series does not go beyond that number.


Not explaining “alveolo-palatal vocoid” and “labial vocoid” in detail when writing this lesson, det tager jeg på min kappe. ("I'' take the blame for that.")


Perhaps in the future, there will be a second season in the Pronunciation series.

I'm sure many of our listeners would appreciate that.


As always, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask.

We'll do our best to answer them.


Mange tak!


Amalie

Team DanishClass101.com

Erica
Friday at 05:11 AM
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Thanks for the lesson! I get confused when some of these sounds come together. For example, what happens to a "d" when there is one at the end of a syllable right next to one at the beginning of a syllable? ("Med dig")


This lesson is packed with lots of information! I would love to see a couple of supplemental things added. For example, it would be cool if there was an audio track that include pronunciations of the words listed in the notes. Also, there's a lot of care taken to explain "aspirated stop," but the lesson blows right past "alveolo-palatal vocoid" and "labial vocoid." If that sort of really technical language is going to be introduced, it would be cool to make it a little clearer. I know this is already a relatively long lesson, but I think there's a lot being covered here. It might be cool to break it up into a couple of parts and slow down some of the explanations, especially at the beginning. I could, for example, see a pronunciation lesson that was just "consonants that are different in Danish than in English," rather than trying to cram it all into "consonants."


I hope that is helpful feedback! It's good to see the stuff explained in this lesson. It helps clarify things I have started to pick up or wonder about from hearing Danish.


Mange tak!

Team DanishClass101.com
Tuesday at 01:09 AM
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Hej Nathan!


Rart at møde dig!


Thank you for your comment.


There are several ways of pronouncing the letter 'g' in Danish. It can be hard as [g], soft as [j] or [w], create a diphthong when following a vowel, or be silent and not pronounced at all.


Here are 5 tips:

1. 'G' is most often hard when it is in the beginning of a word, fx "gå" ("walk") or "glad" ("happy"). The double consonant 'gg' is also hard.

2. 'G' is most often pronounced as [j] or [w] when it follows a long vowel in the middle or in the final position of a word, fx "bage" ("bake") or "drage" ("dragon"). When following the letter 'æ' as a long vowel it is often pronounced hard though, fx "æg" ("egg") or "væg" ("wall").

3. 'G' is most often silent when it follows the vowels 'i' and 'u', fx "lige" ("straight") or "ugle" ("owl").

4. 'G' is most often pronounced as [ɕ] in words of foreign origin, fx "gelé" ("jelly") or "arrangere" ("arrange").

5. 'G' is most often pronounced as [dj] in word of English origin, fx "gin."


Hope this was helpful. If you have any other questions, please let us know.


Mange tak!


Amalie

Team DanishClass101.com

Nathan
Tuesday at 03:55 AM
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Hej! Jeg er Nathan fra Belgien! :smile:


I have a little problem with the letter g. I do not understand how I have to pronounce it! :laughing:


Can you help me? Are there any tips? :grin:


På forhånd tak! :smile: