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  5. So much hate for Danish?


So much hate for Danish?

After learning danish for a few days now I decided I might look at the Danish language on Youtube and so forth.

After doing so, it seems there is quite a lot of dislike towards the Danes and their language - especially form the norwegians. Their are a hand full of videos about norwegians independence and how Danish was created and parodies etc.

Is there something that the Scandinavians haven't shared with us? Is Danish a hated language?

This has also opened the question about which language is better to learn first and who can understand who better!

I would love to hear from a native speaker on their opinions on this matter!


August 28, 2014



Even though this has already been answered quite well, then I still want to attach a comment to it.

First of all, the relationship between Denmark, Sweden, and Norway can be categorised as three brothers. Brothers fight and stuff, but they generally agree on a lot of things, and they generally care for each other. Brothers can also get jealous of each other's success. These all explain the relationship rather well I think.

Don't murder me if this is wrong, but I also think that Denmark and Sweden are the two countries who have been at war with each other the most times out of any combination of countries in the world, and that there is an old law stating that if a Swede walks onto shore (not via boat) then you can hit him with a stick. Norway has just been that little brother that both Denmark and Sweden wanted to control, so they've been fighting over Norway for quite a few centuries, and as Mads stated Norway has only been independent since 1814. The varying leaderships meant that Norway had to speak the occupying country's language, thus it has aspects from both Swedish and Danish.

Lastly, and this is probably the biggest factor for the "hate" and parodies. Scandinavian humour is harsh. Just ask the Irish and Dutch team. I had nearly made several enemies on both teams within 5 minutes of having talked to them, because I was simply joking with them in a manner that I would with my own team. Danish humour takes it right to the border, and then runs like an illegal immigrant until they get way too deep into a country where they do not belong. Basically be prepared for really harsh comments said as jokes. This is also the reason why, even though Danish comedians can translate their jokes to English they do not do well internationally, but even the raunchiest of internal comedians are broadcasted at primetime on some of the most available channels in Denmark. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RNEjQsISFos


That video has scarred me for life...


Bit disturbing isn't it...


The humor was quite crude for me yet I was laughing... alot...


That makes sense, it's hard to judge an opinion when Youtube and the internet are giving answers that seem harsh and you don't know the nature of the Danes, Swedes and Norwegians' relationship. It's good to hear from various Scandinavians about this matter, so thank you bjarkehs! Is an Informative reply.

All the best with the Danish course and say "Hallo, goed bezig iedereen!" to the Dutch team for me!


I can understand that it might seem like Scandinavians hate Denmark and each other if one doesn't know our cultures, but really it's quite the opposite! We're just joking about each other, and everyone knows that and is in on the joke. It's never serious hatred and no one gets offended. From my point of view, as a Swede, I would say we actually care about each other deeply, even though we might not say it or show it. Many Swedes, if not most, regard us as brothers. :)


I generally see Norwegian cited as a middle ground of sorts between Danish & Swedish.

Have you seen actual hateful videos? I've seen parodies, but that's just playful ribbing really; hardly hateful. I've always been under the impression that the hate nowadays is just a national form of sibling rivalry, like we have amongst the constituent countries in the United Kingdom. That said, some small amount of genuine hate exists here (and I wouldn't be surprised if some existed there), but that's most often just tools being tools (we all have our share), and very much in the minority.


Yeah, maybe hate was too strong of a word! I've seen parodies, probably is juts nationalistic rivalry.


No, as far as I know the vast majority of the comments are made as friendly poking at each other. The relationship between the three Scandinavian countries is generally very good, and besides the mutually intelligible languages, we also share (well most of us) liberal attitudes, politically and socially, along with many cultural values, and we tend to get along very well with each other. What you're saying about Norwegians could be because Denmark and Norway were one kingdom until 1814, and written Norwegian (bokmål) looks almost like written Danish, since Danish was spoken in Norway until 1814 (I think so, but correct me if I'm wrong)

Danish sounds different from Swedish and Norwegian, it's very flat and not at all as tonal as the other two, and we are told that we sound like we have potatoes in our mouths, but on the other hand, to us, the Norwegians and Swedes sound like they're singing, even when they're sad or angry. (sorry guys, I love you!) This is all said in a friendly manner. That is why, if you want to learn all three Scandinavian languages, you should start by learning Norwegian. Of what I've heard and know, then once you've become more advanced in that language, you will start being able to read Danish and understand spoken Swedish. Norwegians tend to understand both some Danish and Swedish, while Danes generally do not have a good grasp at Swedish and vice versa, even though the two countries are separated by a short distance at the Øresund . I live in Copenhagen, just across from Sweden and I sometimes have a hard time understanding spoken Swedish, and it's beyond embarrassing having to resort to English because I don't understand something, and I feel like I should, because I'm Danish. I read it almost fluently though.

But yeah, I would definitely recommend learning Norwegian first, but unfortunately it's the only one of the three that is not in the Incubator. I'm glad you're learning Danish though, it's amazing that it's here on Duolingo already! Good luck with it :)


Well, I hope we see Norwegian in the incubator soon enough, then! Good explanation :)


Yes! I have heard the same and would prefer to start with Norwegian, but it is not even in the incubator as yet.


Yes that's definitely what I saw. Norwegians making a funny video about how the Danes and Norwegians were able to understand each other and then the separation in the 1800's. It was a parody though but I wanted to know what relationships were like between the three! Thanks for your information.

That is definitely how Danish sometimes sounds - especially with Rødgrød med fløde! But that's what I like about the language. Sounds so different. I would definitely love to learn Norwegian as many recommend that as the best starting language. But It's only Danish and Swedish!

Dank je wel!


I guess it's like Dutch and Flemish people. Dutch people think Flemish people are stupid, and Flemish people generally think Dutch people are very miserly :) And we both find each others accent ... special? It's just teasing each other :)


Haha! Or even us and the Germans... Not so nice!


No hate. The nordic countries are so similar that there is difficult to point out real differences. There is a deep amity between the peoples.

When it comes to the language I wouldn't call it hate but there is an irritation with Danish. To us Swedes it seems like we can almost understand it but not quite. On the other hand it seems the Danish can understand us better. Rather than self-critically asking ourselves why we haven't made any attempt to expose ourselves to the language and thus get used to the pronunciation we start to subconsciously suspect that they could talk so we understood if they only wanted to. :-)

Another thing with the Danes are that they serve as a contrast to our own self image. They are what we could have been if we had let ourselves live. The stereotypical Dane is like a jovial, cosmopolitan, heavily smoking, cursing, drinking, careless, rebellious but otherwise completely normal Swede.


Love the last part


Scandinavians like to poke fun at each other, and one of the punchlines about Danes and their language is that Danish is completely incomprehensible.

Which has some basis in fact, the links between pronunciation and writing are much looser in Danish than in Norwegian and Swedish (i.e. Danish has more silent letters, or letters that change pronunciation, or have a pronunciation that you wouldn't normally expect), and it's generally harder for speakers of other Scandinavian languages to understand Danish than the other way around.

Norwegian is sort of in between the other two - the sound system is very close to Swedish, while the vocabulary and grammar (especially with conservative literary language) are closer to Danish, due to literary Norwegian being originally derived from Danish.


Native. You know historically there has been wars between Sweden and Denmark over Norway. That's just hiw neighbouring countries is. I went through the duolingo danish test too. The language package is really lazily built. The last third of the tree is almost useless!

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