I noticed pretty quickly that in Danish, words aren't pronounced the way they are spelled (at least not in English). Other than flat out memorizing all the pronunciations, does anyone have any tips/ are there any pronunciation rules that we don't have in English (like how in Spanish, the "h" is silent)? Also, the equivalent of "the" is tacked onto the ends of nouns, but I can barely tell the difference between a word with or without "the" on the end when it is spoken. Does anyone have any tips on hearing this as well? Thank you!
Uh, I'm sure there are some tips already floating around, but I'll try and give some tips :) Mind that I am not a native (or even advanced) speaker, but those are just some things I noticed while I was in denmark or listening to danish music or things like that.
Most difficult part is the d. In the beginning of a word, it's a always a hard d, just like in english. This also goes for compound words: "dag" (day) starts with a hard d, so the d in "lørdag" (saturday) is hard as well. If it's in the middle of a word, it's soft and that's rather hard to learn. It's somewhere between th and l. A friend once said to me "try to speak like you have a hot potato in your mouth".
The letter å is pronounced like the a in "small".
The letter v often sounds like a u, especially before consonants, I think. "navn" (name) is pronounced [naun]. If it is in the beginning of a word, it always sounds like it would in english (as in Vermont, for example).
The letter g is often blurred to a j- or i-sound or falls completely silent. (Except it's the first letter of the word)
The letter a has two different pronounciations; the word "Danmark" is a perfect example. The first a sounds almost like an e, the second one sounds really flat, like in the word "garden".
The letter s is always (?) sharp, as in "snake"; not soft like in "bruise".
The ending -en is so hard to hear because it gets blurred into the word. Say "vinen" really fast fifteen times and you'll see why it is generally pronounced [vin'n] instead of [vinen]. same goes for kvinden [kvin'n].
If you have trouble hearing the difference in the lections, use the slow audio until you get used to the sound of the regular one.
There is of course way more one could explain but I think I'll leave it at that for now :)