Danish is a Nordic language and reminds a lot of Swedish, Norwegian and Icelandic. It belongs to Germanic language group and has many common features with German, French, English and Dutch.
In recent years Danish language has been under a growing influence from influx of English words. It means that an English speaking person often will recognize words in newspaper articles or everyday language- words like f. ex.” Computer”, “cyberspace” and “teknologi”. Many words of Latin and Greek origin are recognizable in a Danish text (f. ex. relevans, hospital, demokrati etc.) . Danish grammar is relatively simple and reminds a lot of the English.
The difficult pronunciation:
Typically it is the pronunciation that causes troubles for foreigners. It is especially due to 3 things: many vowels, the Danish glottal stop and a huge difference between the spoken and the written language. If you are learning the Danish language, then the difference between the written and the spoken language can be frustrating. “Why do the Danes speak so unclear?” – Many foreigners ask. The explanation is that there is a huge difference between the written language and the pronunciation. Many words are not pronounced in the same way as they are written and many endings are not pronounced at all in the everyday language. If the purpose of learning Danish is everyday oral communication with the Danes, choosing a language course that focuses on spoken language is recommended along with attending supplementary conversation courses.
The Danes speak several languages:
As a foreigner you can easily do in Denmark without speaking Danish. The Danes usually speak several languages and are happy to practice speaking them at any given occasion. Almost everyone speaks English, many speak German and one out of ten speaks some French. Some people speak Spanish or Italian as well.
Danish language and culture:
There are courses in Danish language and culture at various difficulty levels the whole year around so it should be possible to find one that matches your level and needs. In the summer time, intensive language courses are offered as well.
Depending on the learners needs, time, interest and qualifications the following opportunities are possible:
Offers to all adults above 18
Municipal education and language courses
Private language schools and courses
People’s college language courses
University language courses or other courses offered by higher education institutions
Municipal language schools:
The municipal language schools all over the whole country offer free Danish courses for foreigners. The Danish “kommuner” are obliged to offer courses in Danish language and culture for foreigners. The Ministry of Education decides the level and the difficulty of the courses and tests and empowers every single language school to offer particular courses and tests.
The municipal language schools offer courses at every level - from the basic courses for the participants with a limited schooling to courses for people with higher educations. The participants will always be offered a course matching their qualifications.
Most of the courses are of 18 hours a week duration. Some schools offer more intensive courses or organize courses so they match the individual needs of the participants.
You can enroll and begin new courses several times a year. The state controlled tests are hold twice a year.
Language at VUC:
The municipal adult education centers offer courses in all public subjects to adults at the “folkeskole” and “gymnasium” level.
Adult education centers (VUC) offer courses to all Danes and Danish speaking foreigners. Besides the school subjects some centers also offer Danish courses for foreigners.
Private language schools:
Private schools or tutoring by a private teacher are an alternative to the state selection of learning possibilities.
Students who need more intensive or individually tailored lessons can contact one the of the municipal language centers and hear about the opportunities that match your needs or possibilities for language lessons, maybe even at your place work. You can also look around for a private school or a private teacher.
In Copenhagen and suburbs as well as in many other big cities a numerous amount of private language courses are offered. To find out more you can contact the “kommune” or look up in the yellow pages under language courses (sprogundervisning).
Many universities offer language classes to foreign students and visitors.
Many universities offer crash courses in Danish language and culture in the start of the school year, during the semester or as a part of the arrangement at the summer universities. The target group for the courses is foreign guests’ students, but under some circumstances it is possible for others to be taken in.
Contact the university’s international office to hear more about the selection of courses, admission requirements and fees.
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