Is anybody else struggling with the pronunciation of words in the course?
It seems to me that some pronunciation of letters are very different in Danish and even change depending on where certain letters may be placed in a word.
If anyone knows or can explain it to me a would be very appreciative.
You have to accept that danish pronunciation is impossible. Just figure how it is nice for me going from Italian, where we have 7 different vowel sounds, to Danish with 17 different ones :)
The vowel "a" has 5 different grades of "aperture", and unfortunately consonants aren't easy as well like the letter "d" with 5 different possible sounds and so on...
And to make things worse, no matter how much you study, unless you have a mothertongue with you at the beginning who can correct your every mistake there will also be some words you will learn in the wrong way :|
However Duolingo is great to grow your vocabulary and your comprehension of written text (and danish grammar is not that hard), then you should listen to as much spoken Danish as possible to start recognizing words and context meaning and then possibly move to the (beautiful!) country for an intensive language course :)
There are also expressions like "Jeg er..." which spoken becomes "Jaa..." or words that you pronounce differently according to the presence or absence of stress like "Ikke" that unstressed becomes "Ik-" or many many others...
I haven't really started the Danish tree yet, but I've learned a little Swedish on my own and the two languages are very, very similar. Like with any language, there are going to be certain sounds that are unique to it that make it hard for foreigners to learn. For example, the sound produced by 'ch' like in 'ich' or 'nicht' in german is extremely hard to perfect for english speakers. You just have to practice it.
And the pronunciations naturally change depending on the letter order. Swedish does the same with letters like 'j'. Sometimes it sounds like a 'yuh', 'sch', or is completely silent depending on the word. The same is true for English! For example, the letter combo 'gh' changes when it's in words like 'rough' where it sounds like 'fff' and 'through' where it's silent. You simply have to learn the nuances like with every language you learn. But I know you'll be able to pick it up really quick! Good luck!
This seems to be a pretty decent guide to the pronunciation.
There is also a YouTube channel called Dansk Udtale (Danish Pronunciation) but almost all of the videos are in Danish, but have pretty good details of how to pronounce certain things in Danish. But I wouldn't recommend it until you have some sort of understanding of spoken Danish, but he speaks relatively slowly and clearly.
There was an article about Danish kids learning the language later than their contemporaries in other languages because pronunciation is so hard. I'll see if I can find it. The way I look at it is similar to how some Caribbean Spanish (my strongest non-native language) speak. It sounds like they are speaking with marbles in their mouth to some extent as well, and they drop a lot of syllables and aspirate a lot. So I pretend to read it and then put a Carribean inflection on it, which basically means I swallow a lot of sounds. I think I'll be happy to learn Swedish when it's rolled out on here because I will be able to get the phonetics better and I'm getting a foundation for the language as it's similar.
And here's the article: