Learn Danish numbers

You might already know the Danish numbers after having practiced them in class repeatedly. Yet, you probably continue to mix up all the numbers from 50 to 90 and repeating your own phone number still makes you want to cry. We know the struggle and sympathise.

This is not (only) a blogpost for new Danish language learners. Even if you already speak Danish fairly well, you can still benefit from a refresher course when it comes to large amounts and ordinal numbers and dates (first ... second ... etc.).

A few Danish numbers

Here's the typical kind of numbers you'll meet in your everyday life in Denmark. Listen to the pronunciation below. We'll try to help you figure out the Danish numbers by providing tips and tricks as well as pronunciation for the different types of numbers below:

97 - syvoghalvfems [seven and ninety]

3. plads - tredje plads [3rd place]

1984 - nittenhundredefireogfirs [nineteen hundred four and eighty]

 kr. 55,50 - femoghalvtreds en halv [five and fifty one half]

giphy

Counting from 1 to 100

When it comes to learning the Danish numbers from 1 to 49 there's nothing to do, but learning them by heart. Luckily, the numbers from 1 to 20 sound pretty similar to the English numbers.

After that, all you have to do, is learn the tens first and then adding the units is a piece of cake! Just remember, Danes say the numbers backwards compared to English:  syv-og-tredive [seven-and-thirty] = 37.

Counting sheep in Danish

The Danish numbers from 50 to 90

The tricky parts comes, when the numbers exceed 49 because 50, 60, 70, 80 and 90 can be a real bitch to tell apart.

There are a few important things to know when learning the Danish numbers after 49: Counting above 49 in Danish language is based on the Vigesimal system (base-20) like French.

Basically, Danes are notoriously lazy when it comes to pronunciation. Taking the base-20 system into account 'tres' is actually short for 'tre snese' [three scores] which is three times twenty = 60. Maybe you can guess what the numbers 'firs' and '(halv)fems' represent now.

Next step is to remember that in Danish 'half three', 'half four' and 'half five' actually is 2,5, 3,5 and 4,5 respectively. Danish language learners have the same challenge when learning to say the time in Danish:

When a Dane says 'klokken er halv fire' [the time is half four] this actually means the time is 3.30. 

When it comes to the tens after 49, you need to multiply the number with twenty. See the formular below:

50 - halvtreds [half threes] = 2,5 x 20

60 - tres = 3 (tre) x 20

70 - halvfjerds [half fourth] = 3,5 x 20

80 - firs =  4 (fire) x 20

90 - halvfems [half five/fifth] = 4,5 x 20

The last important thing to remember is that Danes say the numbers backwards compared to English. This gets SUPER frustrating when writing down phone numbers:

Ni-og-halvtreds [nine-and-half-threes] = 59.

The Danish numbers might take some time getting used to, but as soon as you have the above five numbers memorized, you can count to a hundred in Danish.

If you need a place to practise the Danish numbers from 1 to 99, we highly recommend Absalons weekly bingo evenings.

Very large Danish numbers

And for all you Uncle Scrooge fans out there, here are some of the larger numbers in Danish:

1.000 – et tusind / tusinder

5.000 – femtusinde

100.000 – hundredetusinde / hundredetusinder

1.000.000 – en million / millioner

1.000.000.000 – en milliard / milliarder

7.200.537.099 – syv-milliarder tohundrede-millioner femhundredesyvogtredivetusinde og nioghalvfems

When saying a large number, always begin with the largest number first. We cheated and had help converting the above number to text.

Danish ordinal numbers and dates

The ordinal numbers are used for dates and to tell the position of something compared to something / someone else in a series, such as first, second and third.

Ordinal numbers can also used as adjectives, nouns, and pronouns.

To indicate that a Danish number is ordinal, you just put a full stop after the number. Here are the ordinal numbers in Danish from 1 to 31:

A few examples of ordinal numbers in Danish:

Den 31. december er nytårsaften [The 31st of December is New Years Eve]

Hun kom på en 1. plads [She took 1st place]

Det var en 3. grads forbrænding [It was a 3rd degree burn]

Fractions in Danish

Last but definitely not least, we’ll give you a few examples of how to pronounce the most common fractions in Danish. Speak the top number as a cardinal number, followed by the ordinal number + "dele:":

1/2 – en halvdel / en halv 

1  1/2 – halvanden / én og en halv

1/3 – en tredjedel

 1/4 – en fjerdedel

2/3 – to tredjedele

3/4 – tre fjerdedele

1/5 – en femtedel

1/6 – en sjettedel

3/8  - tre ottendedele

5/16 – fem sekstendedele

Back to you …

That was the most common use of Danish numbers from us to you ♥ Did we miss any numbers of importance? Or is there anything else you would like us to write about? Let us know in the comments.

Comments

Join the discussion

  • Karen-Margrete

    Jeg følger lige op på Kristoffers kommentar om, at tres ikke er en forkortelse af 3 snese. Det er helt korrekt, at de pågældende tal er matematiske udregninger: Tallet 50 er regnstykket: halvtredjesindetyve: 2,5 x 20. ‘sinde er ‘gange’, som vi kender det fra ‘Har du nogen sinde været i NY?’
    Når man ser hele regnestykket, giver det også god mening, at der er ‘d’ i 50, men ikke i 60.

  • Heleen

    Som ikke-dansker er jeg vild met tallet 117, som betegnelse for (alt for) ‘mange’.

  • Kristoffer

    60 kommer ikke af 3 snese men af tre sinde 20 altså 3×20 lige som 50 kommer af halvtredje sinde 20 altså 2,5×20 😉

  • Sofie schelde

    Hmm to learn the Danish Numbers the best ting must be to jump ’10-20-30′ in the efter at summer. You’ll get the order and pronunciation – and not the least the rhythm of the ‘halvtreds, treds, halvfjerds, firs, halvfems.’ Of course this is best done with your grandma at hand – but with some love and affection a substitute should do… most important is of course the excitement of getting ‘all under’ at 100..! 🤗🤗🌊

  • Charlotte

    Hvad med fyrretyvinde, halvtredssindstyvende etc.😆😣😁🤣

    1. Charlotte

      *fyrretyvende

  • Frederikke

    Den 31. december er nytårsaften [The 24th of December is New Years Eve] 🙂

    1. Københavns Sprogcenter

      Hahaha … Tak for dit falkeblik. Det gik lidt stærkt med at få bloggen klar i tide 😀

      Bedste hilsner
      Camilla, Kbh Sprogcenter

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