Not fair!

I think many of us would agree that Danish can be... difficult to deal with, sometimes, especially when it comes to the listening exercises. And particularly when you're just coming back to it and trying to get your head back into Danish thought-space. Which is why today, when the first thing I encountered was three difficult listening exercises in a row, all I could think to do was quit my practice and refocus before starting again. Anyone else have that problem? Or suggestions on ways to "hear in Danish" more quickly from a cold start?

April 28, 2015


If you haven't yet, use the turtle button in the lesson to slow down the audio. I agree though, those things can be challenging! Good luck :)

Oh, that turtle button and I have become good friends, trust me! :-P

Have you watched any Danish TV series (like Borgen, Forbrydelsen, or Arvingerne) or movies (early Lars von Trier, Thomas Vinterberg, Susanne Bier, Lone Scherfig, Nicolaj Arcel)? I think having some good drama around the language will make you appreciate it without having to think about an exercise that needs to be completed. When you return to the exercises, you'll be able to pick up the inconsistencies in the voicing program and actually enunciate words without it.

That's a really good idea, thanks! I'm going to go check some of those out.

Yes, listen to news videos online or find YouTube videos or music or movies and tv shows. If you have Netflix, I like Rita a lot, it's a good comedy-drama.

This is a problem with Danish--the seeming lack of relationship between the sound system and the writing system. There is a system ant it can be learned but it is a challenge with Danish. I use Duolingo Danish as supplement to Skype lessons I get Denmark from a Danish as a second language teach. I often complain to her about this and she smiles and says, "well, I suppose you should be studying Swedish." She also from time to time also observes with a smile that English speakers have no right to complain because it is can be a very hard language to learn and all the rest of the world works at it. The "turtle" button is invaluable as does gearing back to what you find challenging at an acceptable level. However, beware the turtle button. The turtle button says each word individually and the actual sounds used are very different. In English we do this informally. the phrase "let us go eat" can become something like "sgweek" in oral speech. "Give me" can become "g'me". In Danish there is much more of that and it is a much larger formal part of the language. "til dig" becomes something like "t'di". One of the evolutions of Danish is to leaving out more and more sounds so best to learn it now before it gets even harder. And don't try to speak with any teenagers. :-)

Well, listening problems with Danish are not entirely Duo's fault, see here.

[deactivated user]

    How does that video manage to show up every single time the Danish language is mentioned on the Internet?

    I first saw it when a Danish friend sent it to me a few years ago :)

    Also, there's this one:

    :-P That's exactly what I mean; it's a tough language to understand, and the randomly selected exercises ended up giving me three hard examples from an already difficult language.

    As a native dane i am in no way offended by cartoons or videos depicting the danish language, i find them funny and they give an insight into how outsiders view our language.... you need not worry about danes getting offended - danes are som of the most ironic people there is, almost nothing offend us :)

    You know, I thought that was probably the case, but I was hesitant to say so, in case I was wrong. Thanks for joining in and giving your insight!

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