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The charts below show the way in which the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) represents Danish pronunciations in resource articles. For a guide to adding IPA characters to resource articles, see {{IPA-da}} and Resource: Manual of Style/Pronunciation § Entering IPA characters.

Transcriptions in articles are primarily based on the "distinct form" set out in Brink et al. (1991). Stress, stød, and vowel length are frequently lost in actual running speech.

See Danish phonology for a more thorough look at the sounds of the language.


IPA Examples English approximation
? tak ['tsk] art
?: rane [':n?] father
? ånd ['?n?] somewhat like off
? normal [n?'ml] off
?: kort ['k:t] dog
æ kat ['k?æt] bat
æ: græde ['k?æ:ð?] bad
e? bed ['pe?ð] ('garden plot') bit
e?: mene ['me?:n?] bid
e ven ['ven], frisk ['f?esk] bait
e: mæle ['me:l?] bade
? bær ['p] bet
?: gade ['k?:ð?] bed
i tisse ['ts?is?] beat
i: mile ['mi:l?] bead
o foto ['foto] story, but short
o: kone ['k?o:n?] story
? ost ['?st] ('cheese') somewhat like growth
?: måle ['m?:l?] somewhat like grow
ø nød ['nøð?] somewhat like hurt
ø: løber ['lø:p?] ('runner') somewhat like herd
oe bønne ['poen?] somewhat like hurt
oe: høne ['hoe:n?] somewhat like herd
? tør ['ts] ('dry') somewhat like but
?: røre [':?] somewhat like bud
u ud ['uð?] moot
u: hule ['hu:l?] mood
y tyk ['ts?yk] somewhat like refute
y: synlig ['sy:nli] somewhat like feud
? hoppe ['h?p?] focus
? løber ['lø:p?] ('runner') coda
ð? malet ['m?:lð?][1] the book (pronounced quickly)
l? gammel ['k?ml?][1] bottle
m? København [k?øpm?'h?w?n][1] rhythm
n? vinden ['ve?n?n?] ('the wind')[1] sudden
ryggen ['?oek][1] Washington
IPA Examples English approximations
? sjat ['?æt] sheep
ð øde ['ø:ð?] bathe
f fod ['foð?] fan
h hat ['hæt] heart
j jord ['jo], mig ['m?j] yawn
k god ['koð?] scar
k? kone ['k?o:n?] car
l lykke ['løk?] lake
m mod ['moð?] man
n node ['no:ð?] nap
? lang ['l] ring
p bog ['p?w?] spot
p? pol ['p?o?l] pot
? rød ['?oeð?] French parler
s sod ['soð?] soon
t dåb ['tp] start
ts? tak ['tsk] tart
t? tjener ['t?e:n?] chin
v våd ['v?ð?] very
w hav ['h?w] ('ocean') cow
er ['] near
IPA Example Description
'  ? husmor ['hus?mo] Stress[2]
? hun hund Stød[3]

Comparison of transcription schemes

Transcriptions of Danish in linguistic and lexicographic literature deviate from the standard IPA in many aspects in order to dispense with diacritics and to maintain resemblance to the Dania transcription, which was influential in the development of Danish linguistics and maintains resemblance to Danish orthography. The conventions of this guide, on the other hand, seek adherence to standard IPA usage as much as possible, so that readers who are already familiar with the standard IPA would not have to look up or remember the value of each symbol in the Danish tradition.


  1. ^ a b c d e /?ð, ?l, ?n/ become syllabic consonants [ð?, l?, m?, n?, ] in a process known as schwa-assimilation ([m?, ] are variants of /?n/, assimilated to the place of the preceding consonant). The process also often affects /?/ after a long vowel or /ð, j, l, n, v/, but these types of assimilation are not as ubiquitous as, and are more contextually constrained than, the aforementioned combinations (Basbøll 2005:293ff), so they are not reflected in transcription.
  2. ^ In Standard Copenhagen Danish, a stressed syllable has a lower pitch than the following unstressed syllable, which then has a high-falling pitch.
  3. ^ Stød, which is realized most often as creaky voice (found in English as the vocal fry register; ⟨⟩ in standard IPA), can only occur after a long vowel or a sequence of a short vowel and [ð, j, l, m, n, ?, w, ] in a stressed syllable. Phonologically long vowels with stød are shorter in realization, so they are transcribed as short in this guide (cf. pæn /'p?:?n/ ['p?e?n] 'nice', pen /'p?n?/ ['p?en?] 'pen').
  4. ^ Basbøll (2005).
  5. ^ a b c d Though indistinguishable in some fonts, ⟨?⟩ for [?] is the italic Greek alpha, not the Latin alpha, ⟨?⟩, which represents [æ] in Dania.
  6. ^ a b å⟩ for [?] is oblique in print, but here shown in normal type because its italic form is indistinguishable from ⟨⟩, which represents [?], in most serif fonts.
  7. ^ On, ⟨år⟩ represents [?:] when stressed and [?] when unstressed.
  8. ^ a b c d e f Grønnum describes the speech of younger speakers than do other sources. This key follows the latter, which describe varieties where [æ:, oe, oe:, u, u:] can follow [?] and [e:] can precede [?].
  9. ^ a b In print, the rightward hook in ⟨?⟩ extends directly from the stem of ⟨i⟩ (somewhat like ⟨⟩ but shorter).


  • Basbøll, Hans (2005). The Phonology of Danish. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-203-97876-5.
  • Brink, Lars; Lund, Jørn; Heger, Steffen; Jørgensen, J. Normann (1991). Den Store Danske Udtaleordbog. Copenhagen: Munksgaard. ISBN 87-16-06649-9.
  • Grønnum, Nina (2005). Fonetik og fonologi: almen og dansk (3rd ed.). Copenhagen: Akademisk Forlag. ISBN 87-500-3865-6.
  • Molbæk Hansen, Peter (1990). Udtaleordbog. Copenhagen: Gyldendal. ISBN 978-87-02-05895-6.

External links

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