Danish: sp and st


Senior Member
Turkish, English

I'm curious how these 2 consonant combinations are pronounced.

Sometimes I hear speakers pronounce them as if they're like the ones in "star" and "spar",
however other times I hear them pronounce it like the German "Strafe" and "Spielen".

Is there a standard? Is it okay if I use either?
  • bicontinental

    Senior Member
    English (US), Danish, bilingual
    There are obviously variations in the pronunciation of words even among native speakers but in general, the sounds of the consonant combinations st-, sp-, first syllable, are fairly similar to the English sp/st first syllable. In other words, the st in stjerne is phonetically close to the st in star but different from the German Stern (which is more like /ʃt/) I wouldn’t use the German pronunciation of st/sp in Danish.

    You could make a list of st/sp words and listen to their pronunciation on forvo and ordnet.dk.



    Senior Member
    High German/Danish
    I'd even go as far as to say, I can't believe that the threadstarter has heard natives the st and sp the way the Germans do. Those are the sounds the Danes usually have a hard time getting right.


    Senior Member
    I'd say that /st/ is pronounced more like [sd] - that is with a less precise t-sound than in English, e.g. 'stemme' (= voice): [ˈsdεmə]
    And /sp/ like [sb], e.g 'spor' (= track) : [ˈsboˀɐ̯]

    You may find phonetic transcription of Danish words as well as the prononciation (sound file) on ordnet.dk
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