Why is Danish spelling and pronunciation different?

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Giselberga
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Why is Danish spelling and pronunciation different?

Postby Giselberga » 2018-04-10, 9:55

Danish is unique language
Danish spelling and pronunciation is different such as English

Example
Hej
rødgrød med fløde

Why is Danish spelling and pronunciation different?

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Massimiliano B
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Re: Why is Danish spelling and pronunciation different?

Postby Massimiliano B » 2018-04-10, 10:18

Because the pronunciation changes during the centuries, while the writing system does not change. When the writing system is to far from the pronunciation, then there can be a spelling reform - this happened in Sweden, for instance.

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Re: Why is Danish spelling and pronunciation different?

Postby linguoboy » 2018-04-10, 15:37

Massimiliano B wrote:Because the pronunciation changes during the centuries, while the writing system does not change. When the writing system is to far from the pronunciation, then there can be a spelling reform - this happened in Sweden, for instance.

It's not true to say "the writing system does not change". It typically doesn't change as much, but smaller modifications are happening all the time.

But there are more limitations to change on a writing system than on the spoken system. Sounds can shift around a lot, but as long as the distinctions between them stay more-or-less the same, you can keep using the same symbols. That's how English was able to have a massive vowel shift without having to overhaul its orthography.
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Re: Why is Danish spelling and pronunciation different?

Postby Massimiliano B » 2018-04-10, 21:07

linguoboy wrote:
Massimiliano B wrote:Because the pronunciation changes during the centuries, while the writing system does not change. When the writing system is to far from the pronunciation, then there can be a spelling reform - this happened in Sweden, for instance.

It's not true to say "the writing system does not change". It typically doesn't change as much, but smaller modifications are happening all the time.


I've written in summary what you have written

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Re: Why is Danish spelling and pronunciation different?

Postby linguoboy » 2018-04-10, 21:26

Massimiliano B wrote:
linguoboy wrote:
Massimiliano B wrote:Because the pronunciation changes during the centuries, while the writing system does not change. When the writing system is to far from the pronunciation, then there can be a spelling reform - this happened in Sweden, for instance.

It's not true to say "the writing system does not change". It typically doesn't change as much, but smaller modifications are happening all the time.

I've written in summary what you have written

I disagree. Your "summary" makes it sound like writing systems only change as the result of "spelling reforms". These are actually a very recent phenomenon (since the notion of a standardised spelling is--for most languages--a very recent phenomenon). English has notably never been "reformed", but it doesn't follow from that that its spelling has nōƿiht ȝeƿended siþþan þē ealdan daȝas.
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Re: Why is Danish spelling and pronunciation different?

Postby Massimiliano B » 2018-04-10, 22:52

I just gave a short answer...and the subject of my sentence was "writing system". It is not affected by the "smaller modifications": they do not involve the writing system, but only little parts of it. I was talking of the entire writing system. In order to involve the entire writing system, it takes a long time. If you take 200 or 300 years, the writing system does not change, but only little modifications intervene. When the distance of the writing system from the pronunciation is too big, a spelling reform is needed. This is what I meant. Basta così...ho già passato ore e ore a scrivere lunghi messaggi su questo sito... non ne ho più voglia.

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Re: Why is Danish spelling and pronunciation different?

Postby Woods » 2018-10-12, 12:45

For one thing I agree - Danish keeps its spelling and authenticity despite the evolution of the spoken language (just like English does). Hopefully this will continue, in spite of the fact that most of the young Danes do not give a shit about their language. Also the spoken and the written languages are already so much apart, that at this point no modification would make much sense. I mean, what would you suggest - write mätariælë instead of materiale? Just like with French - do you think anyone would go and try to do a reform just because they can't handle a very slight variation between what's written and what's pronounced, when you have ten different ways to write /ɛ/ and ten different ways to write /o/, plus a ton of consonants and endings that just stay there even though nobody has pronounced them for centuries? Nope. It's not like Swedish where pronunciation matches writing so closely that people get annoyed at the slightest discrepancy and want to write "mej" and "dom" instead of "mig" and "de/dem."

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Re: Why is Danish spelling and pronunciation different?

Postby Evenfall » 2018-12-13, 21:52

The pronunciation drove me nuts when I started learning Danish. Even nowadays I'd say that my written Danish is quite okay, but I'm really struggeling with speaking Danish because I'm pronuncing half of the words wrong.

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Re: Why is Danish spelling and pronunciation different?

Postby schnaz » 2020-12-02, 10:26

I was happy to learn that: regarding the Great Vowel Shift which Linguoboy mentioned,; turns out it was a Dane who first got fired up about this vowel shift thing.
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Re: Why is Danish spelling and pronunciation different?

Postby AvisVolans » 2020-12-07, 19:32

The biggest problem with danish pronunciation is the "d". Either it's pronounced [d] or [ð] or it isn't pronounced at all. Another problem is that the IPA alphabet is very inaccurate with the [ð]. In danish it's more a approximant than a fricative. That's why it sounds like an [l] for many people.

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Re: Why is Danish spelling and pronunciation different?

Postby linguoboy » 2020-12-07, 22:01

AvisVolans wrote:The biggest problem with danish pronunciation is the "d". Either it's pronounced [d] or [ð] or it isn't pronounced at all. Another problem is that the IPA alphabet is very inaccurate with the [ð]. In danish it's more a approximant than a fricative. That's why it sounds like an [l] for many people.

That's not really the fault of the IPA. In narrow transcriptions, the approximant quality can be clearly shown with the use of a lowering diacritic, i.e. [ð̞]. But it's not like 1 in 100 people even know enough phonetics to understand what this means.
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Re: Why is Danish spelling and pronunciation different?

Postby AvisVolans » 2020-12-08, 19:22

linguoboy wrote:
AvisVolans wrote:The biggest problem with danish pronunciation is the "d". Either it's pronounced [d] or [ð] or it isn't pronounced at all. Another problem is that the IPA alphabet is very inaccurate with the [ð]. In danish it's more a approximant than a fricative. That's why it sounds like an [l] for many people.

That's not really the fault of the IPA. In narrow transcriptions, the approximant quality can be clearly shown with the use of a lowering diacritic, i.e. [ð̞]. But it's not like 1 in 100 people even know enough phonetics to understand what this means.


Well, you're right. IPA diacritics are complicated!
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Re: Why is Danish spelling and pronunciation different?

Postby Woods » 2020-12-12, 13:00

AvisVolans wrote:The biggest problem with danish pronunciation is the "d". Either it's pronounced [d] or [ð] or it isn't pronounced at all.

What is so problematic about it? If it's at the end of a syllable, it's most likely a soft d (which vaguely corresponds to the voiced th /ð/sound in English). If it's initial, it's d. Actually the t is usually pronounced almost the same way as d (both hard and soft). It's assimilated to the previous consonant if it's l, n or r. Capisci?


AvisVolans wrote:In Danish it's more a approximant than a fricative. That's why it sounds like an [l] for many people.

That's because it's made pretty close in the mouth to where l is. Actually, it sounded like l to me in the beginning too. But once you get used to it, it's quite different.


linguoboy wrote:That's not really the fault of the IPA. In narrow transcriptions, the approximant quality can be clearly shown with the use of a lowering diacritic, i.e. [ð̞]. But it's not like 1 in 100 people even know enough phonetics to understand what this means.

Have you got any suggestions where I should read a good summary of phonetics - with all the terms beyond "fricative," "alveolar" and so forth - I'm pretty illiterate in this regard. Sometimes when you explain a certain sound to me using the scientific name it, I don't grasp anything; the graphemes are even more obscure to me. But this stuff will be good to know especially when reading the introductory chapters of grammars of unfamiliar languages :)

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Re: Why is Danish spelling and pronunciation different?

Postby AvisVolans » 2020-12-12, 15:22

Woods wrote:Have you got any suggestions where I should read a good summary of phonetics - with all the terms beyond "fricative," "alveolar" and so forth - I'm pretty illiterate in this regard. Sometimes when you explain a certain sound to me using the scientific name it, I don't grasp anything; the graphemes are even more obscure to me. But this stuff will be good to know especially when reading the introductory chapters of grammars of unfamiliar languages :)


https://web.stanford.edu/~jurafsky/slp3/27.pdf

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internati ... c_Alphabet

I hope that helps! :)
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Re: Why is Danish spelling and pronunciation different?

Postby Johanna » 2021-01-13, 4:40

AvisVolans wrote:The biggest problem with danish pronunciation is the "d". Either it's pronounced [d] or [ð] or it isn't pronounced at all.

As for when it's "not pronounced at all", it often indicates stød, like in the words mand and ind.
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