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Tale, Snakke, Fortælle?

How do you use these? From what I've understood from wikipedia,

tale- talk [for an extended period], declaim, make a speech,

snakke- talk [briefly], chit-chat, chatter, babble,

fortælle - tell, report, narrate, inform, monologue,

Which one of these should I use primarily, as a hella beginner?

1 year ago


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In class right now, so I'll expand on these later, but quickly:

Tale: Usually one-sided talking. Speaking.

  • Jeg taler om problemet: I talk about the problem (I am talking about it to others).
  • Jeg taler til dig: I am talking to you (I am doing all the talking).
  • BUT, jeg taler med dig: I am having a conversation with you (no difference from jeg snakker med dig).
  • Jeg taler dansk: I speak Danish.

Snakke: Converse with, have a conversation with.

  • Jeg snakker om problemet: I'm discussing the problem (with other people), or informal babbling.
  • Jeg snakker med dig.

Fortælle: To tell someone something.

  • Jeg fortæller dig om mit problem: I am telling you about my problem.

There isn't one you should "use primarily" as a beginner, because they all mean different things/are used in different contexts (there aren't any hard and fast rules, these are the general guidelines).

Edit: Updated/expanded on.

Reply11 year ago


Don't forget at sige (noget) til (nogen), which means to tell someone something, usually simple. At fortælle om (noget) means to narrate or tell a story.

Reply1 year ago


It's a bit difficult, as there is not one you can use as a catch-all, however even native danes mix up tale and snakke, where tale is more formal and snakke is more casual (generally). I think in most cases you can get away with saying "snakke", however you have to use fortælle if you are telling a story, none of the others would work.

Reply1 year ago

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You from Denmark? Arielkangaroo I am...

Reply1 year ago