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Danish: The language of fairy tales

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10 facts about the Danish language

01

Danish is a part of the North Germanic family of languages which includes other Scandinavian languages.

02

Danish is the official language of Denmark and Faroe Island and is spoken by 6 million people globally.

03

Danish is extremely similar to Norwegian and Swedish as they are all derived from Old Norse.

04

Danish has more vowels than English; it has “æ,” “ø” and “å” vowels with 27 different sounds.

05

Like the German language, Danish also has very long compound words that refer to abstract concepts.

06

People in Norway, Greenland, Sweden and other small communities around the world also speak Danish.

07

Hans Christian Anderson, the famous author of fairy tales, originally wrote his tales in Danish.

08

The Danish language has numerous dialects of which the Copenhagen dialect is the most common.

09

The Danish language has two genders, common and neuter, instead of masculine and feminine!

10

Danish speakers can usually speak Swedish and Norwegian as well due to their similar nature.

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Origin of the language

Danish originated in Scandinavia.

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History of the language

Danish is believed to have originated during the 8th century.

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Learning the language

An English speaker can expect to learn Danish in 575 hours.

Danish language for beginners

Ten basics words to start learning in Danish:
Hello: Hej
Goodbye: Farvel
Family: familie
Mother: mor
Father: far
Beautiful: smuk
Rain: regn
Love: elsker
Home: hjem
Light: lys

Quotes

All the sorrows of life are bearable if only, we can convert them into a story.

Karen Blixen

Writer, author and poet

Just living is not enough ... one must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower.

Hans Christian Anderson

Novelist, author, playwright and writer of fairy tales

Life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced.

Søren Kierkegaard

Philosopher, writer, theologian, social critic and poet

Fun facts about the Danish language

The longest word

The longest word in Danish is a compound word: Speciallægepraksisplanlægningsstabiliseringsperiode, meaning “the period of stabilization planning for a specialized doctor’s practice.”

Unique counting

In Danish, numbers are stated in multiples of 20. For example, 60 is tresindtyve which means “3 twenties.”

“No cow on ice”

The Danish expression for “no problem” is “no cow on ice,” referring to a common farmer’s problem.

The letter “å”

The letter “å” was officially added to the written alphabet in 1948; it is used to signify double a-a sounds.

Creaky voice

Using creaky voice (laryngealization) when speaking Danish changes the meaning of the word, for example, “girl/she” (hun) becomes “dog” (hund).

Different dialects

There are 32 different dialects of Danish which, even among native speakers, can be hard to understand.

No word for “please”

The Danish language does not have a specific word for the term “please.” Instead, hand gestures are used to convey politeness.

The word gift

In Danish, the word gift means both “marriage” and “poison.” This can be confusing and can get you in trouble!

Formal and informal tone

Danish, like Spanish, has pronouns that convey respect; for example while du is an informal “you,” de is formal.

Bjørnetjeneste

Danish has a special expression for doing someone a favor: bjørnetjeneste literally means “bear favor.”

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