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Lesson Transcript

Anna: Hi everyone, my name is Anna.
Becky: And I’m Becky! Welcome back to DanishClass101.com! This is Pronunciation, Lesson 5: Common Danish Pronunciation Mistakes. Anna, it’s already the last lesson in our Pronunciation series!
Anna: That’s right! You’ve come such a long way, listeners. In this lesson, we’re going to teach you another important aspect of Danish pronunciation.

Lesson focus

Becky: In this lesson, we’ll be going over the top five pronunciation mistakes in Danish. So what’s our first one?
Anna: You should pay attention to the uvular trill. Danish is often mistaken with German or Dutch because of the common uvular trill pronunciation of the letter "r," unlike Swedish and Norwegian.
Becky: In other words, it is articulated with the tip of the tongue against the back of the throat. In syllable coda, "r" is normally pronounced ɐ̯ and forms a diphthong with a preceding tautosyllabic vowel.
Anna: Yeah, that’s right. I’ll give you some examples now. The "r" is articulated with the tip of the tongue against the back of the throat in words like "rød" meaning "red," "rejse" meaning "travel," "bedrag" meaning "deception," "begrunde" meaning "state the reason for," "praktisk" meaning "practical," "strofe" meaning "stanza," "vaskeri" meaning "laundry," and "krydderi" meaning "spice."
Becky: What about when it’s at the end of a syllable?
Anna: "R" is pronounced ɐ̯ in words like "stor" which means "big" and "næring" meaning "nourishment."
Becky: Now, the second common mistake is...
Anna: The silent letters. As we’ve learned in a previous lesson, Danish has letters in words that cannot be heard when speaking. To make things harder, there is no single rule for remembering them and when to add them or not add them, which can change the meaning of the word completely.
Becky: Silent letters can occur at the beginning, the middle, and at the end of a word, and also indicate stress and stød. In other words, we definitely recommend that you have a good look at the examples of words with silent letters in the lesson notes. You just might be able to see a pattern and make your own rules of thumb.
Anna: Right. But be careful when you make these! And always be on the look out for exceptions. In any case, as a basic example, "h" is always silent before the letters "j" and "v."
Becky: Now let’s continue with the third common mistake. This one is related to the stress and the stød.
Anna: Because there are so many variables to consider for positioning the stress, it is tempting to just take a chance and pronounce a word the way you think it is supposed to be.
Becky: Once you’ve become more adjusted to listening to Danish, it might actually be the best way to go about it, but if you still feel a little uncertain and have a hard time with the stress, it is a good idea to keep a dictionary close by. Likewise, the stød also presents major challenges, because its presence is more or less unpredictable. If we haven’t already said it, the stød is one of those things that just has to be learned.
Anna: Yes. The stød may accompany syllables with a long vowel or syllables that end with a voiced consonant. But check out the third lesson in this series for some general rules or guidelines for positioning the stød.
Becky: Ok, our next common mistake relates to the diphthongs in Danish. Even though there are only two kinds, there are still many sounds to remember.
Anna: That’s true. Diphthongs vary according to whether they have "i" or "u" as their second component.
Becky: The sound of a Danish diphthong is created by first pronouncing the first and the second vowel separately, then gradually increasing the speed until you can hear them combined in one sound. Check out the lesson notes for the second lesson in this series for the complete list of the Danish diphthongs. Now, to the final most common mistake.
Anna: Learners of Danish at the beginner level often have trouble with the 9 Danish stops. Danish pronunciation is difficult mainly because of the many different pronunciations of several letters. When the pronunciation of words is incorrect, misunderstandings can easily occur.
Becky: Among the 9 stops, "d" is by far the most difficult because it varies the most, and therefore causes the most problems.
Anna: Right. "D" can be pronounced ‘hard,’ ‘soft,’ or ‘silent.’
Becky: Check out the lesson notes for the first lesson in this series for examples.
Anna: And remember to keep practicing!
Becky: We can’t stress this enough. Listening and repeating is the quickest way to get these stops down.


Becky: Well, that’s it for this lesson, and for this series.
Anna: We hope we’ve given you a good introduction to Danish pronunciation!
Becky: And that you’ve enjoyed it as well! Make sure to leave us a post on the lesson page if you have any questions or comments.
Anna: We’re happy to help!
Becky: Thanks for listening, everyone, and we’ll see you in another series! Goodbye!
Anna: Farvel!


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DanishClass101.com Verified
Tuesday at 06:30 PM
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Hello Listeners! Which do you think is the most common pronunciation mistake you do?

DanishClass101.com Verified
Sunday at 05:38 AM
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Hej Felicia,

😄😄 Thank you for posting. We hope you are enjoying studying Danish with us!

Kind regards,


Team DanishClass101.com

Monday at 11:22 PM
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I had the same question. Placing the tip of the tongue against the back of the throat would require serious gymnastics, not to mention choke you LOL

DanishClass101.com Verified
Monday at 04:51 PM
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Hi Greg,

Sorry about the confusion. When you pronounce "r" you use the root of the tongue against the back of your throat. Not the tip of the tongue. The tip of the tongue is in the middle of the mouth not touching anything. You are making the "r" sound with the root of your tongue by moving the root of the tongue forward while you say the r-sound.



Team DanishClasses101.com

Saturday at 04:32 PM
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In the notes, for the r sounds, you states "the Danish r is actually articulated with the root of the tongue against the back of the throat.", but in the transcript you state "tip" of the tongue. please clarify.