Monday, December 6, 2010

Danish Spelling

English and French are two languages whose spelling systems are not so phonetic. However, another language which belongs to this category is Danish. A number of Danish words are pronounced quite differently from the way they are spelt.

The word "vejr" means weather. The "ej" in Danish represents the diphthong in the word "my" but in this case the "ej" is pronounced like the vowel in "ten."

The word "tredive" means thirty. Here the "e" is pronounced like an "a" and the "i" is silent. The "d" is a voiced interdental fricative similar to the "th" in "the."

Another number is "seksten" which means sixteen. Here the "k" vocalizes so that the first syllable sounds similar to "sigh."

The word "peber" means pepper. Here the "b" vocalizes so that the first syllable has a diphthong. It is heard in the Spanish word "deuda" which means debt.

The word "kobber" means copper. Again the "b" vocalizes so that the first syllable is a "k" followed by a diphthong similar to the one in "no."

Another diphthong is found in "jeg," the Danish word for I. The diphthong is similar to the one found in "my." The "j" is a palatal glide.

The same diphthong is found in "mig," the Danish word for me. The diphthong is the same one as in jeg.

The word "daglig" means daily. The first syllable has no "g" but rather a diphthong as in the word "now."

The word "havde" means had. The "v" is silent and the "d" is a voiced interdental fricative.

Another verb is the word "sagde" which means said. The "g" and the "d" are both completely silent.

The examples illustrate that many Danish words are relatively unphonetic. Their pronunciations need to be learned apart from the rules of spelling. Though Danish is not such a phonetic language, it is nevertheless more phonetic than English.

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