Learn Danish for Eurovision – Episode 1

Are you going to Copenhagen in May for the Eurovision Song Contest? Don’t miss out on EuroVisionary’s language course as we give you a basic introduction to Danish. In this first chapter we teach you the numbers, which might be a bit confusing to some. 

Let it be said right away, yes the Scandinavian languages are very similar, but as a Dane I often hear Swedes and Norwegians complaining that they just don’t understand our numbers. I admit that they are a bit confusing, but with a bit of practice and background information they – and you – should be able to get the hang of it.

In the video above you will be taught the numbers and how they are pronounced, but here we will provide you with a bit more background information.

The standard numbers 1-10 with the article

1: En/ et (Den første = The first)

2: To (Den anden = The second)

3. Tre (Den tredje = The third)

4. Fire (Den fjerde = The fourth)

5. Fem (Den femte = The fifth)

6. Seks (Den sjette = The sixth)

7. Syv (Den syvende = The seventh)

8. Otte (Den ottende = The eight)

9. Ni (Den niende = The ninth)

10. Ti (Den tiende = The tenth)

The numbers 11 – 20 and the 10 count is explained in the video, as well as how you add the standard numbers to the 10 count in order to for example make the numbers 21 or 87.

The difficult ones:  

The really difficult numbers are 50, 60, 70, 80 and 90. In Danish they are called: halvtreds, tres, halvfjerds, firs and halvfems.

Tres (60) is actually short for Tredsindstyve. Sinde is an old word, not used anymore, which meant to multiple. Tyve is 20. In other words, it actually writes "3 times 20". The same thing with Firs (80), which can be split up to write "4 times 20".

It is a little bit more tricky with the halv-numbers: 50, 70 and 90, but again it is related to old words and numbers not used anymore. 50 is short of Halvtredsindstyve, 70 is Halvfjerdsindstyve and 90 is Halvfemsindstyve. Sinde og tyve we already established to mean "times 20".

In the old number system we calculated with numbers like halvanden, halvtredje, halvfjerede, halvfemte, which means the ground number minus a half. An example: Halvanden = 2 (den anden = The second) minus ½. So halvanden is 1½, halvtredje is 2½, halvfjerde is 3½ and halvfemte is 4½. Today only the word halvanden is still used. 

So halvtreds actually splits up to 2½ times 20. In the same way 70 splits up to 3½ times 20 and 90 to 4½ times 20.


If you have any questions to the lessons about numbers please leave a comment. We will then adress it in a later episode or reply to you directly in the comments. Otherwise stay tuned to EuroVisionary as we will continue our language course: Learn Danish for Eurovision.

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