Danish Numbers Made Easy: A Beginner’s Guide





Frederik is dedicated to helping foreigners living in Denmark get a good start. Whether you are a foreigner or working with them, you know how difficult it can be to find the correct information about your new home. Frederik is also from Denmark and now lives as an Expat in Thailand.

Numbers are an integral part of any language, and Danish is no exception. Whether you're planning a trip to Denmark, learning the language for personal or professional reasons, or simply interested in expanding your linguistic horizons, understanding numbers is crucial. They appear in everyday conversations, from discussing prices at a market to telling time, making them essential for basic communication.

In this guide, we will delve into the world of Danish numbers. Starting with the basics, we'll explore the pronunciation and usage of numbers from 1 to 100. The focus will be on ensuring that you, as a learner, can confidently pronounce each number and understand where and how to use them in real-life situations. We'll also touch upon ordinal numbers and their usage in the Danish language.

Key Takeaways

  • Numbers are essential for basic communication in Danish and in daily life.
  • The foundation of Danish numbers lies in learning 1-10 with correct pronunciation.
  • Numbers 11-20 in Danish build on the basics with unique pronunciation patterns.
  • Understanding and pronouncing numbers beyond 20 is crucial for everyday conversations.
  • Danish numbers are practical for telling time, shopping, and other daily activities.
  • Ordinal numbers in Danish are used for dates, rankings, and sequences.
  • Regular practice, engaging in real-life contexts, and using technological resources aid in mastering Danish numbers.

Basics of Danish Numbers

numbers in danish

The Danish numeral system is a fundamental building block for anyone beginning their journey in learning Danish. Grasping the basics of this system is key to effective communication in various everyday contexts. Let's start with the numbers 1 through 10, which form the foundation of counting in Danish.

Pronunciation Guide for Numbers 1-10

NumberDanish NumeralPronunciation (Phonetic)

These numbers form the cornerstone of the Danish counting system. While the pronunciation may seem straightforward, it's crucial to practice them to get the nuances right, especially with the unique sounds like the Danish 'r' and soft 'd'.

Counting in Danish: 11-20

Having covered the numbers 1 to 10, we now move into the slightly more complex territory of 11 to 20. This range introduces some new patterns and sounds that are characteristic of Danish, but with the foundation you've built so far, you're well-prepared to tackle these with confidence.

Pronunciation and Usage of Numbers 11-20

  • Elleve [Eh-leh-veh] - Three syllables; begins with 'eh', followed by a soft 'leh', and ends with 'veh'.
  • Tolv [Tol-v] - Sounds like 'toll' in English but with a 'v' at the end.
  • Tretten [Tre-t'n] - Like saying 'tre' (three) and then a soft 't'n', almost like 'ten' but softer.
  • Fjorten [Fyor-ten] - Begins with a 'fyor', similar to 'four' but with a rolling 'r', followed by 'ten'.
  • Femten [Fem-ten] - A straightforward combination of 'fem' (five) and 'ten'.
  • Seksten [Sex-ten] - Like saying 'seks' (six) and then 'ten'.
  • Sytten [See-ten] - Begins with 'see', similar to 'syv' (seven), followed by 'ten'.
  • Atten [Ah-ten] - Starts with 'ah', similar to 'otte' (eight), followed by 'ten'.
  • Nitten [Nee-ten] - Begins with 'nee', like 'ni' (nine), and ends with 'ten'.
  • Tyve [Too-veh] - A unique pronunciation, 'too' followed by 'veh'.

These numbers are used just like their English counterparts in various everyday contexts, from counting objects to discussing prices. One key thing to note is the pattern observed in numbers 13 through 19, where they essentially combine the single digit number with 'ten', much like in English.

Beyond 20: Large Numbers

As you become more comfortable with numbers up to 20, it's time to expand your horizon to larger numbers. Understanding and pronouncing numbers beyond 20 in Danish is crucial for various real-life situations, such as discussing prices, dates, or quantities.

How to Form Numbers 21-100 in Danish

Danish numbers from 21 onwards can be a bit challenging due to a unique formation system, but with a clear understanding, you can master them efficiently.

21-29: These numbers are formed by stating the unit followed by 'ogtyve' (and twenty). For example:

  • 21: Enogtyve [En-og-too-veh] - 'En' (one) + 'og' (and) + 'tyve' (twenty).
  • 22: Toogtyve [Toh-og-too-veh] - 'To' (two) + 'og' + 'tyve'.

30, 40, 50, etc.: These tens are straightforward:

  • 30: Tredive [Tre-dee-veh] - Unique word for thirty.
  • 40: Fyrre [Fur-reh] - Different from 'fire' (four), with a distinct pronunciation.
  • 50: Halvtreds [Halv-tress] - This pattern continues with unique names for each ten.

31-39, 41-49, 51-59, etc.: Similar to 21-29, these are formed by stating the unit, then 'og', followed by the ten. For example:

  • 36: Seksogtredive [Sex-og-tre-dee-veh] - 'Seks' (six) + 'og' + 'tredive' (thirty).

100: The word for hundred is:

  • Hundrede [Hoon-dreh-deh] - It's often used in combination with other numbers, like 'to hundrede' (two hundred).

Pronunciation Tips for Larger Numbers

  • Practice the 'og' (and) connection: It's a key component in forming many numbers.
  • Pay attention to the unique sounds of Danish, like the soft 'd' in 'hundrede'.
  • Break down larger numbers into smaller parts, practice them separately, and then combine them.

Numbers in Everyday Use

Having a grasp on numbers in Danish is more than just counting; it's about using them effectively in daily life situations. This section highlights how Danish numbers are commonly used in various practical scenarios, such as telling time, shopping, and understanding dates.

Using Numbers in Dates and Time

Telling Time: Danish time-telling typically uses the 24-hour clock. For example, '15:00' is 'femten' (fifteen) and is pronounced as 'klokken femten' (clock fifteen).

Dates: Dates in Danish are expressed with ordinal numbers. For instance, the 1st of a month is 'første' and the 2nd is 'anden'.

Numbers in Shopping

Prices: When discussing prices, you'll often use numbers in hundreds and thousands. For example, 'tre hundrede kroner' (three hundred kroner) or 'to tusind kroner' (two thousand kroner).

Quantities: For buying items in quantities, you'll use basic numbers. For instance, 'to æbler' (two apples) or 'fem brød' (five breads).

Other Daily Activities Involving Numbers

At Restaurants: Ordering food or drinks often involves numbers. For example, 'to kopper kaffe' (two cups of coffee) or 'tre stykker kage' (three pieces of cake).

Transportation: When asking for tickets or discussing bus routes, numbers are essential. For instance, 'en billet til toget nummer fire' (a ticket for train number four).

Common Phrases Involving Numbers

"Hvor meget koster det?" (How much does it cost?): Useful when shopping.

"Hvad er klokken?" (What time is it?): Essential for knowing the time.

"Jeg vil gerne have to af disse." (I would like to have two of these.): Useful in shopping or ordering food.

Special Number Forms

In addition to the cardinal numbers (like one, two, three), Danish, like many languages, uses ordinal numbers (like first, second, third) to indicate order or sequence. These forms are commonly used in dates, rankings, and other sequences.

Usage and Pronunciation of Ordinal Numbers

First to Tenth:

  • Første [For-steh] - 'First' is used in contexts like dates (e.g., 'den første april').
  • Anden [An-den] - 'Second', often used in sequences (e.g., 'anden gang' for 'the second time').
  • Tredje [Tre-yeh] - 'Third'.
  • Fjerde [Fyehr-deh] - 'Fourth'.
  • Femte [Fem-teh] - 'Fifth'.
  • Sjette [Syet-teh] - 'Sixth'.
  • Syvende [See-ven-deh] - 'Seventh'.
  • Ottende [Ot-ten-deh] - 'Eighth'.
  • Niende [Nee-en-deh] - 'Ninth'.
  • Tiende [Tee-en-deh] - 'Tenth'.

Beyond Tenth:

From eleventh onwards, the formation is typically the cardinal number followed by '-ende' (e.g., 'elleve' becomes 'ellevte' for 'eleventh').

Special Cases and Applications

Dates: Ordinal numbers are frequently used in stating dates, like 'første maj' (first of May).

Ranking and Order: They are also used in contexts of ranking or sequences, such as 'anden plads' (second place) or 'tredje række' (third row).

Ordinal numbers in Danish follow a fairly consistent pattern, making them relatively straightforward to learn after mastering the cardinal numbers. As with other aspects of the language, practice and repetition are key to becoming comfortable with these forms. Their usage in everyday life, especially in contexts like dates and ordering events, is vital for anyone looking to gain proficiency in Danish.

Danish Numbers in Practical Scenarios

The true test of understanding numbers in a new language is using them in practical, everyday situations. This section provides example scenarios that you might encounter in Denmark, showcasing how to apply your knowledge of Danish numbers in real-life contexts.

Ordering Food at a Restaurant

  • Situation: You're at a Danish restaurant and want to order two coffees and three sandwiches.
  • Danish Phrase: "Jeg vil gerne have to kopper kaffe og tre sandwiches, tak." (I would like to have two cups of coffee and three sandwiches, please.)
  • Key Numbers: 'To' (two) and 'tre' (three).

Shopping for Groceries

  • Situation: You're buying apples and bread at a grocery store. You need five apples and two loaves of bread.
  • Danish Phrase: "Jeg vil gerne have fem æbler og to brød." (I would like to have five apples and two loaves of bread.)
  • Key Numbers: 'Fem' (five) and 'to' (two).

Asking for Directions

  • Situation: You're asking for directions to bus number 4.
  • Danish Phrase: "Hvor er bus nummer fire?" (Where is bus number four?)
  • Key Number: 'Fire' (four).

Making a Hotel Reservation

  • Situation: You want to book a room for three nights at a hotel.
  • Danish Phrase: "Jeg vil gerne reservere et værelse i tre nætter." (I would like to reserve a room for three nights.)
  • Key Number: 'Tre' (three).

At the Train Station

  • Situation: You're at the train station and need to know when train number 21 leaves.
  • Danish Phrase: "Hvornår afgår toget nummer enogtyve?" (When does train number twenty-one leave?)
  • Key Number: 'Enogtyve' (twenty-one).

These scenarios illustrate how numbers are not just theoretical concepts but are actively used in everyday communication in Denmark. By practicing numbers in such practical contexts, you can significantly improve your proficiency and confidence in using Danish in real-life situations. The more you practice, the more naturally these numbers will come to you in conversations.

Related: New to Denmark: Complete English Guide (2024)

Tips for Memorizing and Practicing Numbers

Memorizing and effectively using numbers in a new language can be challenging. However, with the right strategies, you can improve your recall and fluency. Here are some tips specifically designed to help you master Danish numbers.

Repetition and Consistent Practice

  • Daily Practice: Regularly practice counting in Danish, starting from 1 to 100, and then backwards. Consistency is key to retention.
  • Use Flashcards: Create flashcards with numbers on one side and their Danish equivalent on the other. Test yourself regularly.

Engage in Real-Life Practice

  • Label Everyday Items: Label objects around your home with their Danish number names. This will help you associate numbers with common items.
  • Practice in Context: Use numbers in daily activities. For example, when cooking, count ingredients in Danish or when shopping, try to calculate prices using Danish numbers.

Use Technology and Resources

  • Language Apps: Utilize language learning apps that focus on Danish, many of which have specific exercises for numbers.
  • Watch Danish Media: Listening to Danish songs, watching movies, or TV shows can expose you to numbers in natural contexts.

Incorporate Numbers into Language Exchanges

  • Language Exchange Partners: If you have a language exchange partner or tutor, practice numbers in your conversations. Ask them to correct your pronunciation.
  • Join Danish Learning Groups: Online forums or local groups can be great platforms to practice numbers and get feedback.

Set Realistic Goals

  • Small, Achievable Targets: Set daily or weekly goals for mastering a set of numbers. Gradually increase the range as you become more comfortable.
  • Reward Your Progress: Celebrate small achievements in your learning journey to stay motivated.

ABOUT Frederik

Frederik is dedicated to helping foreigners living in Denmark get a good start. Whether you are a foreigner or working with them, you know how difficult it can be to find the correct information about your new home. Frederik is also from Denmark and now lives as an Expat in Thailand.

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