Danish Language Blog

When is your birthday? Posted by on Nov 23, 2018 in Uncategorized

(Free image from Pixabay; no copyright.)

Asking about somebody’s fødselsdag [FOSLsdaay] (birthday) might not be the first thing you do. Still, when the topic does pop up, it’s good to be prepared! 🙂 Otherwise, the knowledge of how to say datoer (dates) could come handy when planning … dates.

Hvornår har du fødselsdag?
Or, if you’re talking to ”you guys”:
Hvornår har I fødselsdag?

As you probably know, there are tolv måneder [toll MAWnethor] (twelve months), also in Denmark! (Even if the dark season sometimes does feel like one single, neverending month of cold and rain!) The names are quite similar to the English ones, except that they don’t start with a capital letter (unless at the beginning of a new sentence!)

januar [YANooar]
februar, marts
april [aprEEL]
maj [maai]
juni [YOOnee]
juli [YOOlee]
august [aooGUST]
september, oktober, november, december

Jeg har fødselsdag den 6. januar/den 3. august/den 21. november! [”I’ve got birthday” Jan. 6th, Aug. 3rd, Nov. 21st]

As you can see, writing dates in Danish is pærelet (easy-peasy) – even easier than in English! 🙂 In order to pronounce them, however, we need ordenstallene (the cardinal numbers) from 1 to 31. Since we’re talking about specific dates (”the 6th of January” rather than ”a 6th of January”), all the ordenstal take the ending -e – so it is første instead of først. (You do remember this ending for adjectives etc. describing specific nouns, right? Think en rød hat ”a red hat” vs. den røde hat ”the red hat”.)

første, anden, tredje, fjerde, femte
sjette, syvende, ottende, niende, tiende
ellevte, tolvte, trettende, fjortende, femtende
sekstende, syttende, attende, nittende, tyvende
enogtyvende, toogtyvende, treogtyvende, fireogtyvende, femogtyvende
seksogtyvende, syvogtyvende, otteogtyvende, niogtyvende, tred(i)vte

Watch out: Sometimes the word den (the) is dropped, especially when chatting informally. 🙂

Other things you could answer:

Jeg har fødselsdag i dag/i morgen/på lørdag/om en uge (My birthday is today/tomorrow/on Saturday/in a week)
Jeg har snart fødselsdag (…soon…)
Det er en hemmelighed (That’s a secret)

So, do you know how you say your birthday in Danish? 🙂

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About the Author: Bjørn A. Bojesen

I was born in Denmark, but spent large parts of my childhood and study years in Norway. I later returned to Denmark, where I finished my MA in Scandinavian Studies. Having relatives in Sweden as well, I feel very Scandinavian! I enjoy reading and travelling, and sharing stories with you! You’re always welcome to share your thoughts with me and the other readers.