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Top Danish Idioms

We’ve never been a fan of the English (and Danish) proverb you cannot have your cake and eat it. This seems a cruel and frankly bewildering prospect, and so, when we think of Danish, our first thought is of a Danish pastry. A many-layered flaky treat filled with all manner of fruit, chocolate and custard combinations that if not carefully consumed will result in a cascade of crumbs.

pecanPhoto via Wikipedia / Wikipedia

But we’re not here to talk about pastries. Disappointing that that is. Because as the Danish would say, the fat sow knows not what the hungry sow suffers. In other words, it’s past elevenses and we want our coffee and our cake.

The One With All The Vowels

No, the Danish we are thinking of refers to the beautiful North Germanic language spoken by around 6 million people heralding mostly from Denmark. Danish has a large amount of vowel sounds numbering around 30, and its alphabet consists of the regular 26 letters plus three extra ones in the shape of vowels: æ, ø and å.

Danish is alleged to be one of the more difficult languages to learn, largely due to it being so unpronounceable for non-natives. If you’re feeling brave, try wrapping your teeth around this one: speciallægepraksisplanlægningsstabiliseringsperiode – provided by the Danish tourism website no less. Apparently it translates as ‘specialist practice planning stabilization period’, which is a phrase we plan on using as much as possible now that we have it available to us. Frankly we’re not sure how we’ve lived without it up until now.

What Makes A Country Happy?

With a language so diverse, it is a natural assumption (for us) that the idioms must be glorious. It would be most disappointing to find out that the opposite was true.

As luck would have it, Danish idioms include some gems. We’d like to think that the liberal use of idioms is a contributing factor to Denmark being one of the happiest places to live in the world, but then we love all things language and assume (expect) you do too. The Danish say that the key to happiness is actually this: a deaf husband and a blind wife will always make a happy couple. We’re not sure that’s entirely true (or fair). But we still like their idioms and proverbs, even if we don’t agree.


Being spoilt for choice like we had been given free reign at a Danish pastry buffet, we have selected some of our favourites to whet your appetite, so to speak. Velbekomme! (bon appetit)

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Tak for kaffeSince you weren’t providing us with coffee, take this exclamation to mean ‘oh my god’. As in ‘oh my god, how good are Danish idioms?!’

Now. Age may wrinkle the face, but a lack of enthusiasm wrinkles the soul. Which is our way of saying, courtesy of the Danes, that if these delightful samples from the Danish language have not piqued your interest in learning more, well. You can make up your own mind. But you know what’s in store for you.

Or instead, why not contact us and see what courses we have on offer for you?