Useful Danish Phrases

useful-danish-phrases

Learning a few useful danish phrases or words can go a long way to making your stay or visit in Denmark more enjoyable. Since Danish is not an easy language to master, you can easily get discouraged. I have gathered some common words and phrases below to help you get a handle on some Danish. The more you hear the words being spoken by Danes and also the more you try to pronounce the phrases, the easier it will become.

One of the experiences that always gave us trouble was at the store, when the cashier would say "på beløbet" (read explanation below) and we kept wondering want she said. We always said "ja", but really did not know what it meant. The reason is that Danes often leave out syllables when saying Danish words or run them together so it can be hard to figure out what they are saying.

Note: Some of the words and phrases have an asterisk next to them. Those phrases are explained in more detail below, so you will know when they are most commonly used and why.

Now here are some common Danish phrases and words you will hear in daily conversations in Denmark.


Common Danish Phrases and Words

English

Good day

Good morning

Good afternoon

Good evening

Goodnight

Goodbye

Hello / Hi

Yes

No

Please

Here you go (this often used as an invitation to do something like sitting down, join us, please take this, etc.)

Thank you / Thank you very much

1000 thanks / thanks for ..

Response to thank you.*

Welcome

You're welcome (when someone says "tak" to you, you can respond with "selv tak")

Sorry /Excuse Me (unfortunately, this is not used as much as it should be)

Do you speak English?

I don't understand

I don't understand Danish.

Will you speak a little slower.

These last 4 Danish phrases will probably be the most important ones you will be using when visiting Denmark, because after saying them, the Danes will proudly show you their grasp of the English language. And most speak it better than some natives.

Can you write it down.

How do you say ... in Danish?

What is your name?

My name is ...

How are you?

I'm fine, thanks. And you?

Where are you from?

Can I help you?

Can you help me?

Sorry (for a mistake or error)

I have no idea.

Don't fret /worry

Hurry up

Where is the main train station?

...a post office?

...the police?

...tourist office?

...the bus?

...the train?

Good luck

Cheers (toasting)

See you later.

Have a good day

Bon voyage

Get better (to someone who is ill)

I am feeling ill / sick.

Have a good meal (bon appetit)*

I love you

Happy Birthday

Congratulations

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Have a nice vacation

Have a nice weekend.*

Enjoy your evening (said to coworkers when they go home)

Bless you*

On account.*

Do you want a receipt?*

Danish

Goddag

God morgen

God eftermiddag

God aften

God nat

Farvel

Hej

Ja

Nej

Være så venlig

Værsgo (this often used as an invitation to do something like sitting down, join us, please take this, etc.)

Tak / Mange tak

Tusind Tak / Tak for ..

Det var så lidt. (that was so little)*

Velkommen

Selv tak (when someone says "tak" to you, you can respond with "selv tak")

Undskyld / Undskyld mig (unfortunately, this is not used as much as it should be)

Taler du engelsk?

Jeg forstår ikke. / Det forstår jeg ikke.

Jeg forstår ikke dansk

Vil du tale lidt langsommere?

These last 4 Danish phrases will probably be the most important ones you will be using when visiting Denmark, because after saying them, the Danes will proudly show you their grasp of the English language. And most speak it better than some natives.

Kan du skrive det ned.

Hvordan siger du ... på dansk?

Hvad hedder du?

Mit navn er ... / Jeg hedder ...

Hvordan har du det?

Fint, tak. Hvad med dig?

Hvor kommer du fra?

Kan jeg hjælpe dig?

Kan du hjælpe mig?

Jeg beklager.

Jeg har ingen anelse!

Bare rolig

Skynd dig

Hvor er hovedbanegården?

... et posthus?

... politiet?

... turist bureau?

... bussen?

... toget?

Held og lykke!

Skål

På gensyn.

Fortsat god dag

God rejse!

God bedring

Jeg føler mig dårlig.

Velbekomme*

Jeg elsker dig

Tillykke med fødselsdagen

Tillykke!

Glædelig jul og godt nytår

God ferie.

God weekend*

God arbejdslyst ( literally means "job satisfaction ") see comment below.

Prosit*

Pa beløbet*

Vil du have bonen med?*

More Useful Danish Phrases

Here are a couple more Danish phrases and some clarification of some of the unusual phrases mentioned above, so you will know when you might hear them or want to use them.

When you go shopping and pay with a credit card or Dan Kort, the cashier will ask you.

Pa beløbet?, which means do you just want the amount you bought for charged on your card or do you want cash back. This is usually only done if shopping with a DanKort, but have seen it done when someone presents a credit card.

If you just want to charge your purchases, you answer by saying "på beløbet". If you want cash back. You say much you want back. "Fem hundred." That would give you 500 kroner in cash back. There is no additional charge for this service, but of course your DanKort will be charged an extra 500 kroner or whatever amount you asked for.

Along the line of shopping phrases, you will also hear Vil du have bonen med?, which means would you like the printed receipt with you. Just answer Ja or Nej, depending on what you want.

The next Danish phrase is one you will hear whenever someone is eating and another person walks in or by. They will say "velbekomme", which is the same as saying "bon apetite" in French. It just means enjoy your meal.

People say "velbekomme" when they enter break rooms, the office cafeteria or come across friends eating out. It is a cute tradition, but it can often get on your nerves. Because you naturally have to say something back like "tak" or "mange tak".

When you are trying to enjoy a break, you are constantly interrupted by "velbekomme". Hard to read the paper or have a conversation. And of course you are expected to say "velbekomme", when you enter the room where someone is eating.

When you leave work, the Danes also have a few phrases that they love to use. Tak for i dag!, (Thank you for a nice time together) or God arbejdslyst, which means job satisfaction and in this context it means enjoy yourself. Which is why it's said when people leave the work place for the day and there are still coworkers there working or to someone that has to get back to work or do some chores etc. It's said in a way to keep the person left behind at work with their spirits up.  Sometimes in a little bit of a teasing sarcastic way. If you know the person really well and know that the person really hates what they have to do. (thanks to Kristina from Baltimore for the clarification)

Godt weekend means good weekend and is a common thing to say on Friday afternoon when heading home for the weekend.

Prosit (bless you) is for when someone sneezes.

At work or when someone does something for you or vice versa, you will hear Det var så lidt in repsonse to tak. It means "Don't mention it" or literally "it was so little". It would seem natural to say "you're welcome" or velbekomme, but that is not the case. And my all time favorite is Tak for sidst, which means thanks for the last time. People say this to other people they met at a party or an event. Even if they did not throw the event. If they were just there, you greet them with Tak for sidst, when you first meet again after the event. This can be hilarious when you come back from an office party and several hundred people meet up. All you hear is Tak for sidst, Tak for sidst, Tak for sidst ... a cacophony of noise. Even if the event was 6 months ago, it is the same greeting.

Below you can listen to some actual Danish phrases being spoken in a classroom teaching environment. See how much you can understand.

Hope this helps you integrate a little better into Danish society and at least you will know what to say in response to those who say Pa beløbet? (has thrown many expats for a loop) Continue your learning by checking out more danish phrases and vocabulary here.

One of the nice things about using google translate now, is that there is a function where you can hear someone say the danish phrases or words that has been translated. Just look for the speaker icon and click it - that should help a lot of people.

Lorna emailed me a while back and said they learned a lot of Danish phrases from reading the Danish adverts on the site. When they could not understand something, they used google translate. This also came in handy when trying to shop and read the various leaflets.

If you found this page helpful, please give a google+ and or a facebook like at the top of the screen, so others can also find this information. Thank you.


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