Danish: pronunciation of "her" and "der"

TheGist

Senior Member
Russian
Hej alle sammen,

Both 'her' and 'der' have two very distinct pronunciations. There's a more phonemic version with "-er" sound (εˀɐ̯ / eˀɐ̯), i.e.

[ˈhεˀɐ̯] and [ˈdεˀɐ̯]

and there's also a version with "-ar" sound (ɑ), i.e.

[ˈhɑ] and [dɑ]

Does it depend on the meaning / function of these words when you use one version instead of the other? If so, what are those meanings / functions?

For 'her' there's a note in Den Danske Ordbog:
sætningsindledende også [ˈhɑ]
What does it mean? Is the same true for 'der'?

Tusind tak!
 
  • Sepia

    Senior Member
    High German/Danish
    Hej alle sammen,

    Both 'her' and 'der' have two very distinct pronunciations. There's a more phonemic version with "-er" sound (εˀɐ̯ / eˀɐ̯), i.e.

    [ˈhεˀɐ̯] and [ˈdεˀɐ̯]

    and there's also a version with "-ar" sound (ɑ), i.e.

    [ˈhɑ] and [dɑ]

    Does it depend on the meaning / function of these words when you use one version instead of the other? If so, what are those meanings / functions?

    For 'her' there's a note in Den Danske Ordbog:

    What does it mean? Is the same true for 'der'?

    Tusind tak!

    Oh poor you. Somebody has really chosen to explain something quite simple in the next to most complicated way possible. So complicated that I was about to turn it down as absolute BS.

    But it is really quite simple: When a phrase begins with "her" or "der" you tend to put less emphasis on that word -to stress it less. When people - mainly in greater Copenhagen - stress that word less they tend pronunce it without the "r" at the end, and with a more open sound that makes the "e" sound more like an "a". That still does not mean that you have to do that. The exact meaning of the word is still clear because of the syntax.

    So if you say "There are lots of people in there" = "der er mange mennesker der inde" you can pronounce the two different "der" almoste the same way (first one stressed less but still with an "r" at the end), or you may use the open, more "a-like" pronounciation (and drop the "r") for the first one. That would make you more compatible with the population in Copenhagen. The meaning of the two "der" is identical with the two "there" in the English phrase.
     

    frugihoyi

    Senior Member
    English - USA, Portuguese - Brazil
    The way I learned it was that the more "emphasized" version of the words is used when you want to stress that it's actually here or there (as opposed to somewhere else I guess).
    For example: Er Peter her eller er han hjemme? Han er her (emphasized version to show that he is here as opposed to at home).

    What do you guys think?
     

    Sepia

    Senior Member
    High German/Danish
    True. There are actually three levels of the emphasis. The one I already mentioned, then the one that you mentioned and another one in between:
    Peter? Han er her - jeg saa ham for lidt siden. Just pointing out that he is around, not absent.
     
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