Danish Language Blog

The Job Question Posted by on Apr 30, 2019 in Uncategorized

Mimes at Tivoli, København (courtesy of Rüdiger Stehn
at Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0 license).

Hvad arbejder ud med? (What’s your job?) Many people enjoy talking about their job, and Danes are no exception! 🙂 Gear up the conversation with some work-related vocabulary – and don’t be put off by the ocassional brok (complainings), which is often just a way to vent some Danish irony…

– Jeg er tjener / lærer / bager. (I’m a waiter / teacher / baker.)

– Det lyder spændende. Hvor arbejder du henne? (That sounds interesting. Where are you working?)

Note that in Danish, you don’t need to say you’re ”a” something (when talking ’bout professions). For example, instead of saying ”I’m a dancer” you’d just go ”I’m dancer” (jeg er danser).

As you can see, many job titles have the ending -er. You already know it from English: It’s added to verbs (action words) in order to denote the person performing the action. In that way, at lære (to teach) is turned into en lærer (a teacher). Decades ago, Danes would additionally add -inde if the topic of conversation was a female teacher (lærerinde), but this system is hardly in use anymore. Another originally female ending, -ske, survives in the word sygeplejerske, which means ”nurse” (whether female or male).

Here are some more -er professions:

tømrer, rørlægger, politiker, dommer, maler, sanger, skuespiller, fisker, jæger, designer, blogger (carpenter, plumber, politician, judge, painter, singer, actor, fisherman, hunter, designer, blogger).

And here are some common job titles that don’t take the -er ending:

politimand, brandmand, læge, præst, landmand, advokat, journalist [shorn-], fysioterapeut, psykolog, klovn, kok, soldat, sømand, buschauffør, taxachauffør, ingeniør [inshenyOR], filmstjerne (police, firefighter, doctor, priest, farmer, lawyer, journalist, fysiotherapist, psycologist, clown, cook, soldier, sailor, bus driver, taxi driver, engineer, movie star).

Kan du lide dit job? (Do you like your job?)

Hvad er det bedste/værste ved dit arbejde? (What’s the best/worst part about your work?)

Jeg har søde kollegaer. (I’ve got nice colleagues.)

Glæder du dig til sommerferien? (Do you look forward to the summer holiday?)

Danes typically work ”only” 37 hours a week and use weekenden (the weekend) for fun and relaxation. Being between jobs is not unusual, and people without work usually prefer to describe themselves as jobsøgende (”job-searching”) rather than arbejdsløs (”work-less”).

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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.


  1. Renessaince:

    You missed to translate «skuespiller». Probably it should be a sport player.

    • Bjørn A. Bojesen:

      @Renessaince @Renessaince – Thank you, fixed. 🙂