Learning danish: 6 ways + 2 beginner mistakes

Danish has many parallels to German. Both in grammar and pronunciation the languages are very similar. As a German native speaker it is not difficult for you to learn Danish. We present different possibilities and tell you which mistakes you should avoid as a beginner.

Danish in the world

Danish in the world

Danish is the national language of Denmark. It will be there from about five million native speakers spoken. In Greenland and the Faroe Islands, Danish is the second official language. Also in Sweden and Norway live some Danish native speakers.

One of the two Norwegian language variants, the Bokmål language, is from a linguistic point of view a Danish dialect. This has changed over time due to Norwegian influences. Nevertheless, Bokmål is today considered a Norwegian language and is referred to as such by its speakers. Tips for learning Norwegian can be found here.

Norway and Icelandic stood for many years under Danish rule. Even today, many young Icelanders move to Denmark for study and work. The Danish language is part of the school curriculum in Iceland’s. Many Icelanders speak Danish fluently.

Peculiarities of the Danish language

peculiarities of the Danish language

Just like Swedish and Norwegian, Danish also belongs to the Scandinavian language group. If you are a native speaker of German, you have a decisive advantage in learning Danish, because Danish is closely related to German.

There are also many similarities with the English language. If you know English, you know some grammatical rules already familiar and you will recognize certain structures. The vocabulary of the Danish language also has similarities with German and English words. This way, when reading a Danish text, you will learn many of the following contexts, even if you have no previous knowledge of the language.

The Danish standard language is called "rigsdansk". There are also three other important dialects. "Jysk" is used all over the mainland and exists in three different forms. The dialect "Ømål" or "Ødansk" can be heard on all major Danish islands except Bornholm. There the dialect "Bornholmsk" or "Østdansk" spread.

There are some special features of the Danish language that you should keep in mind while learning. It is best to start with grammatical basics and pronunciation. But it is also important that you learn vocabulary regularly. Otherwise you will not be able to converse in Denmark. Here’s what you should know about the Pronunciation, the Vocabulary and the Grammar the Danish language know.

Danish pronunciation

In Danish there is three vowels, which are not present in the German alphabet. It is "æ", "ø" and "å". The vowel "æ sounds like a mixture of the German letters "a" in spoken language and "a". In German there is no comparable sound. It is best to listen to the examples and say the words with the letter aloud. Only then you memorize the sound correctly.

The vowel"ø" sounds like a German "o, the"å" like an open o, for example in the German word "Ordnung". Another difference to the German pronunciation is in the letter "s". This is always pronounced sharply in the Danish language.

Danish vocabulary

For German native speakers, it is considered relatively easy to learn Danish. This is mainly due to the fact that some vocabulary words are similar to each other. So in many cases you can remember new translations and use them directly. In addition, the vocabulary of Danish borrowings from English at. In such cases, you will derive the meaning of vocabulary from English expressions. Borrowings include, for example, the following words:

driver – driver
bullet – bullet
elevator – elevator
geek – Outsiders
weekend – weekend

In the same way, however, there are also some vocabulary words that German words are very similar. You will probably memorize this one almost as quickly. This is how "God nat" is pronounced for example "Good night, "Hjælp "help" or "politistation" "police station.

No matter how easy the language seems to you, it is important that you practice regularly and stay motivated. Only then you will make progress and keep the new vocabulary in your memory over a longer period of time. Tips for learning vocabulary can be found here.

Danish grammar

In Danish grammar there are many parallels to the English language. So only the Genitive inflected, dative and accusative do not change. If you use the genitive case, you add an "s to the corresponding word. Since there are so few inflections in Danish, it’s important that you use the correct one Sentence structure pay attention to. Only then will you be able to distinguish subject, predicate and object from each other.

Unlike in German, there are only two grammatical genders, the Utrum (masculine and feminine) and the neuter (neuter). So you don’t have to distinguish between masculine and feminine nouns when speaking and writing, but use the Utrum.

Danish for beginners: ways to learn

Opportunities to learn Danish

You have many different possibilities to learn Danish. You decide where to do it and which method is best for you. Early planning is always good, so that you have a chance to get a place in your desired language course or on a language trip.

Which offer you choose also depends on how much you want to Money and Time you want to invest. If you plan to spend a longer period of time in Denmark, it is a good idea to learn some basics of the language in advance. You have the following possibilities to learn Danish:

language travel

The most effective way to learn Danish is to spend some time in the country itself. During your stay in Denmark you have the opportunity to use your acquired language skills directly on site. This works especially well during language trips.

In addition to the daily lessons, you will exchange ideas with like-minded people in your free time and have direct contact with native speakers. In addition, your language skills are always put to the test when you go shopping or to the cafe around the corner. This will train your listening comprehension and you will quickly learn important Everyday vocabulary.

In general, you have many more opportunities to speak Danish on a language trip than you do in Germany. If you have any questions about the language or the customs of the country, you can clarify them with your teacher during the next lesson at the language school. You may also be living in a school during your language study trip Host family and practice your new language all day long.

You can also study as a Au pair go to Denmark or do a voluntary social year there. With these methods you save money and still have direct contact with the locals.

Danish courses at universities and academies

Danish courses at universities and academies

If you prefer to learn Danish in Germany, it is best to first look at the offers from universities and Universities at. As a rule, they offer their students free or discounted Danish courses, which can also be booked by external interested parties.

Language courses at a university usually last for one semester. Many seminars are very popular and book up quickly. Inform yourself in time about the offer.

If you would like to study Danish and learn something about the culture and literature of the country, a course of study in Danish is a good option Scandinavian studies. After a short time you will specialize in the Danish language. The subject Scandinavian Studies is also available as a distance learning course at. Thereby you are independent of time and place, learn at your own pace and usually have much less stress than in a face-to-face study program.

Learn Danish online

If you want to learn on your own, independent of a course, there are many online options available to you. You divide up the workload and the time for yourself. When learning on your own, exercises are included audio examples particularly useful. Especially in the beginning it is important to practice your pronunciation and listening comprehension.

Language courses are available on the Internet on different level. The smaller the course, the more money you have to invest. Courses for advanced students are almost always more expensive than courses for beginners.

At private language academies you can also take Danish courses. In most cases you will receive a language certificate at the end of the course. You decide how many hours you take at the academy before you take the exam.

Learning a new language on your own requires a lot of perseverance and self-discipline. Plan each day five to ten minutes to practice if you want to succeed quickly. Write yourself a to-do list, which you work through little by little. Then you won’t lose track so quickly.

Learn Danish with an app

Learning Danish: 6 ways + 2 beginner mistakes

Learn Danish with an app

Learning apps for your smartphone or tablet make it possible for you to learn completely by yourself independently and flexible Learning Danish. Just as with online offers, there are also free and paid offers with apps. Before you buy an app, you can try it out with most providers in an free trial period from. If you like the special method, you buy the app afterwards.

Vocabulary trainer apps are great for learning new vocabulary while waiting for a friend or the bus. With an app you learn in short units and use your time effectively. Some programs even correct your Pronunciation from a recording of your voice.

So that you do not forget your learning units, it is best to activate the Notification function of the app. So your smartphone or tablet will automatically remind you of your next practice session. This feature is very practical, otherwise you may forget to do your tasks regularly. A test report of the language learning app Babbel can be found here.

Learn Danish for free

If you want to try out the free offers first, you have the opportunity to do so online. So there are Trial versions paid programs that you can use for a limited period of time. You will also find Dictionaries on the Internet, where you can look up new vocabulary words.

If you are looking for contact with other learners, it is best to register in appropriate groups in social networks to. There you can exchange ideas with like-minded people on a regular basis. Are you already advanced, it is more difficult to find free learning offers. In this case you should spend some money, otherwise you probably won’t make any progress.

Learn Danish in your free time

Learning Danish: 6 ways + 2 beginner mistakes

Learn Danish in your free time

If you don’t want to take a course right away, but still want to learn some basics, there are creative opportunities to do so in your free time. The best way to learn is to combine the process with something you like to do. We suggest the following Leisure activities that you can use to improve your language skills.

Find a tandem partner

The tandem program is a very popular way to improve your personal language skills. The principle of a tandem program works like this: You are given a Danish native speaker assigned to someone who wants to improve his German language skills. You both meet regularly and do something together. For example, you can invite people over for coffee and cake, or you can do yoga together. The placement usually takes place through cultural institutions or universities.

During your meetings you will talk half the time in German, the other half of the time in Danish. A few Basic knowledge of the language you already need to make the method work. If one of you makes a mistake while speaking, the tandem partner corrects it immediately and gives tips so that it works better next time.

This way you will learn new vocabulary at every meeting in a fun and non-coercive way, while spending time with an interesting person. Your tandem partner will certainly also be happy to tell you something about the traditions and Customs in your home country.

Listen to Danish radio stations

Listen to Danish language radio stations

Whether you’re a beginner with no prior knowledge of the language or you already communicate with locals without any problems, it’s always a good idea to have a Danish language radio stations listen. On the Internet you can quickly find a suitable program that you can turn on while showering in the morning, having breakfast or going for a jog. Of course, you don’t have to understand every single word of the moderation. It’s enough if the program is running in the background and you unconsciously perceive the speech melody and some vocabulary.

Do you hear a particularly nice Danish Song, you can try to translate it. First try to understand as much as possible on your own. If you get stuck on a single word, it’s not a big deal. Try to make sense of these words from the overall context. If at some point you get stuck or you are missing the right vocabulary, you can look it up in a Dictionary to. Finally, you compare your translation with the original Lyrics from the Internet.

Listen to Danish music

Create a Playlist with Danish songs, that you particularly like. Maybe you also get new inspirations listening to the radio. Listening to your playlist over and over again, for example while having a home-cooked dinner, while weaving or during other leisure activities.

With the music you unconsciously take many new Vocabulary true and get used to the Voice melody of Danish. If you don’t understand a song lyric right away, search for it on the Internet and read along while listening to it. This is how you learn new Danish words quickly and easily.

Typical beginner mistakes when learning Danish

Typical beginner mistakes when learning Danish

As a native speaker of German, you have a distinct advantage over others when learning Danish. But there are some things you have to keep in mind to avoid misunderstandings. Especially language beginners make the same mistakes over and over again. The following processes you should avoid when learning Danish avoid.

Falling for false friends

In Danish there are very many words that are the same or Sound very similar to German. This is very practical at first sight, because you memorize the words quickly and can use them immediately in a conversation.

However, there are some words that cannot be translated one-to-one. These are the so-called "false friends. These words sound very similar in German and Danish, but mean something completely different. We give you here some examples of False friends in Danish:

ansigt – view (meaning: face)
biograf – biography (meaning: cinema)
blød – stupid (meaning: soft)
enkel – grandson (meaning: simple)
fløde – flute (meaning: cream)
gris – semolina (meaning: pig)
gæld – money (meaning: debt)

Have too high expectations

Although Danish is relatively easy to learn for native speakers, you need to allow enough time and be patient. If you really want to talk to locals, don’t start learning just before your planned vacation. Then you are in retrospect only disappointed, because you have not reached your goals. It is important that you don’t put too much pressure on yourself and take a relaxed approach. Tips for more relaxation can be found here.

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