Say hello, learn some basic phrases -
and start practicing your pronunciation
As a point of departure, let’s listen to a casual Danish conversation and break down some of the key phrases you’ll need to get started. What do you say when you meet a Dane, how do you interact and how do you say goodbye? Don’t think too much about what’s being said, just listen a few times:
Tamara: Hvordan går det?
Kristian: Det går godt, hvad med dig?
Undskyld, hvad er det nu, du hedder?
Kristian: Jeg hedder Kristian.
Tamara: Ja, det er også rigtigt
Kristian: Er det dit første dansekursus?
Tamara: Nej, jeg har gået på 14 kurser.
Kristian: Hvor kommer du fra?
Tamara: Jeg er fra Brasilien. Hvad med dig?
Kristian: Jeg er fra Slagelse.
Tamara: Nå, jeg bliver nødt til at smutte nu.
Kristian: Det var hyggeligt at møde dig,
Tamara: Tak, i lige måde
Kristian: Vi ses!
Kristian: Hej, hej!
This informal greeting is widely used. Not only among young people, friends and family, but it is also common to say “hej” when you enter, for example, a restaurant, a shop or even if you show up for a job interview. A more formal version of hello in Danish is “goddag”, which literally means ‘good day’. This more official version is unlikely used by a waiter or salesperson who wants to greet customers with a touch of politeness. But, while historically the use of these two phrases, “hej” and “goddag”, have depended on factors such as social status and age, they are now used interchangeably. Most (young) people, though, simply go with the informal hej and it is valid in more or less every situation.
“God morgen” (good morning) and “god aften” (good evening) are both formal and informal greetings we use depending on what time it is. God morgen is roughly before 10-11am and ”god aften” after 6 pm. As you can tell, the two words are very similar to the words in English (and in German and the other Scandinavian languages for that matter).