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Danish words that just sound wrong in English

Emma Firth
Emma Firth - [email protected]
Danish words that just sound wrong in English
Spunk Bar on Istedgade in Copenhagen. Spunk is also a brand of liquorice in Denmark but has a different meaning in English. Photo: Emil Helms/Ritzau Scanpix

Danish is a difficult language to learn, but there are some words that can make you chuckle along the way. Here are ten examples which always make us smile.

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Fart

This is the word that keeps on giving. It means 'speed' and 'motion' and you'll see it most on the roads, with signs reminding you of the fartkontrol ('speed check').

You can look at a fartplan ('timetable') to book onto a bådfart ('boat trip') where the captain of the boat will wish you a behagelig overfart ('pleasant crossing').

To hurry up in Danish is to be in a fart and if you go in an old fashioned elevator in Denmark, you might see or hear the words i fart, telling you it's 'in motion'.

Kok

When your Danish dining companion tries to get the attention of the chefkok, they are just thanking the head chef for the food. Kok means cook or chef.

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Kant

It sounds like you're saying something rude in a cockney accent but in Danish, you're talking about the 'edge'. Rural, sometimes neglected parts of Denmark are referred to as udkantsdanmark, which sounds like a real slight on the locals but actually means 'peripheral' Denmark.

Fugt

Now say this with a northern accent. Meaning humidity or moisture, if you don't sufficiently air your home you might find yourself facing fugtproblemer (problems resulting from moisture).

Slut

They all lived happily ever after. Slut. You will hear this word a lot in Denmark and it means 'end'.

A slutspurt (literally translated as 'end sprint' or 'final sprint') is the end of sale in a store. If you sell your car you will receive a slutseddel, which is not a document containing adult content but a much more boring piece of paperwork which proves the vehicle has changed hands.

Seks

It means six. Nothing more.

Fåreskind

If a male friend asks you to have a look at their fåreskind, they want you to check out their new sheepskin. Some English-speakers struggle to suppress a smile when seeing fåreskindshandsker (sheepskin gloves).

Slags

Denmark has many slags of herring and liquorice. It means ‘type of’. It can also be a verb meaning to beat or to hit, and a fight or brawl can be termed a slagsmål, which is a good argument for peaceful conflict resolution.

Spunk

One of the slags of liquorice and wine gums is a brand called Spunk. It's also the name of a bar in Copenhagen, which is just a normal bar, just like this is normal liquorice. Nothing to see here.

Plopp

Ok, another food brand that makes us laugh. Enjoy a piece of Plopp while reading this article.

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