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The Danish Language - Intro

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Dannebrog fell from the sky during Estonia conquest in 1219

The Danish language is written with the standard Latin alphabet you know from English, plus an additional three letters. These three letters look like this:

The letter Æ is pronounced roughly the same as the first E in the word 'better'... The letter Ø is similar to the German O with an umlaut (Ö) The letter Å sound a bit like the very first part of 'oh!'

Unlike the case of the Greek language, it is absolutely impossible to set up any general rules that will enable you to deduct how a Danish word is to be pronounced, based solely on the way it is spelled. Conversely, you cannot expect to be able to spell it simply because you have heard it.

This initial hurdle aside, there are of course some rules, though not very general in nature. But things can get even more difficult: the Danes are sloppy with their language. Often endings of words are cut away in spoken langauge, and they speak fast, muffled and/or with a lot of slang words.

Fortunately, there is no real need to learn any Danish whatsoever, if you are just visiting as a tourist. The Danes like to pride themselves in being quite capable with the English language. This is - to some extent - true. You can therefore rely on English as a sufficient means to get you around. But beware that other foreign languages do not work very well. In spite of Denmark's proximity to Germany, it is not that many Danes that can utter up to several meaningful sentences in a flawless German. And French, Spanish and other world languages have even less "market share" amongst the Danes.

Having said that you can get around with English, we will still encourage you to have a brief view at the glossary lists we have made available for you. They might come in handy...

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