Learning Danish is something to consider for anyone looking to live, work, or travel in Denmark. Nearly the entire population speaks the language, so learning how to speak, read, and understand the language is appealing. However, it can be a difficult language to learn, but how hard is Danish to learn?
Danish is a difficult language to speak, as there are new vowels and sounds that are not used in many other languages. Many words in Danish are similar to English or German, but knowing how to speak those words properly is what makes learning Danish so hard. You need time to practice speaking.
This article will explain why speaking Danish is more difficult than other languages, and it will explain the easier parts of learning the language. You can also use resources to begin learning Danish and information about where Danish is spoken, so let’s get started.
Why Is Danish Hard To Learn?
Danish is very similar to English and German, so if you are fluent in these two languages, you will have an easier time learning Danish than others.
Danish is difficult to learn, especially if you want to learn to speak it and not just comprehend it through listening or reading. The words tend to blend when speaking it, and there are new letters in Danish that you must learn to speak and understand Danish, which is not used in English.
They may seem confusing at first, but they are just like any other letters, so once you learn them, you can use them seamlessly in any word. As you can see in the following videos, many of the words in Danish are very similar to words in English, which is true for German as well.
Finally, Danish is hard to learn because the numbers are pronounced differently.
For example, the number “21” is pronounced one and twenty. This pronunciation of numbers is similar to German but not English. After the number 49, numbers are pronounced as halves, which is also difficult for Danish learners to comprehend and remember.
In this video from Easy Language, you can hear some native Danish words spoken by people in Denmark. The video has Danish and English subtitles to see the differences and read along as the people speak:
This video from Palle Mortensen will teach you the Danish alphabet, including pronunciation and three new vowels that are used in the language:
Where Is Danish Spoken?
Danish is primarily spoken in Denmark, where it is the official language of the country. More than five million people in Denmark speak Danish, which is approximately ninety-eight percent of the population.
Historians estimate that Danish started being spoken in Denmark as early as eighteen hundred years ago.
Danish is also spoken in some other regions in Europe, including the northern part of Germany that borders Denmark. Some schools in other parts of Scandinavia also teach Danish, but it does not have many similarities to other Scandinavian languages.
Many people in Denmark also speak English or German, but not everyone. For people in the tourism sector, speaking English or German is beneficial. However, since the country’s official language is Danish, all government officials and workers speak Danish.
If you are applying for a job or a visa through the Denmark Government, everything will be primarily in Danish, or if you are traveling to Denmark on certain visas, such as studying, you will need to have some fluency in Danish to be accepted.
Should I Learn To Speak Danish?
You should learn to speak Danish, as it will be important for you to learn if you plan on living, traveling to, or doing business in Denmark. Even if you are only traveling in the country for a few days, you should learn some basic greetings and phrases.
Learning a few simple words will help you interact with the locals, and it will help you be polite.
While learning a few common phrases will help you communicate with the locals, many of them speak English or German too, if not both. If you speak English and German, you should have no problem communicating with people in Denmark, especially if you stay in big cities and popular tourist destinations.
If this is the case for you, you may not need to learn Danish.
Spending time in Denmark will greatly improve your Danish speaking skills. If you want to live and work in Denmark, you should learn some basic Danish on your own. Then as you interact with the community in Denmark, you can practice your skills even further.
If you work for a large company in Denmark, or one that does business in Denmark, knowing both English and Danish will be beneficial so you can communicate with nearly everyone you meet.
Knowing both languages can also help you get a job in Denmark, especially if you want to work in the tourism industry or want a corporate job.
Learning some basic words and phrases in Danish is a great way to start. This video from Learn Danish with DanishClass101.com will teach you some greetings and words in less than thirty minutes:
How To Learn Danish
There are many ways to learn Danish, including finding great books online.
If you are not in Denmark, a great place to start is with language guides like the books below from Amazon.com. They will help you read, pronounce, and understand Danish at a basic to intermediate level, so when you visit Denmark or enter a higher level Danish language class, you will know the basics.
Let’s take a look at some of the best books that will help you learn Danish:
- Beginner’s Danish With 2 Audio CDs: This guide to Danish includes audio CDs with exercises that teach you how to understand and pronounce sounds in Danish, including the new vowels and sounds that many beginners will not be familiar with.
- Complete Danish Beginner to Intermediate Course: This guide will help beginners learn Danish with more than two thousand words to learn. You can also use online audio to accompany your studies which are included with this book.
- Short Stories in Danish for Beginners: For a fun way to work on your Danish skills, you can read these Danish stories. Each story is accompanied by a bilingual word list, a plot summary, and comprehension questions, so you are not just reading. You are making sure you understand what you are reading, and you are building your Danish vocabulary.
- Danish Frequency Dictionary – Essential Vocabulary: This book will help you start as a beginner and transition to an intermediate Danish level. All the words in this book are ordered by frequency, so you can start with the most important, frequently used words and build on your vocabulary from there.
Danish is a difficult language to learn, especially when learning how to pronounce new vowels and understand their number system. If you know German or English, you will have an easier time learning words in Danish.
If you will be spending a long time in Denmark and think learning Danish is important for you, there are a lot of great resources that you can use to start learning before you leave. Books are a great resource to start learning Danish, and going to Denmark and interacting with the local people will help your speaking skills tremendously.