Much as the course page promised...
...surprise yourself as you begin to understand some Swedish and Norwegian too. All three languages are derived from Old Norse, the language of the vikings!
Thus ends the Danish course page, similarly to the Swedish. Now I knew the languages were similar, and I have been watching The Bridge recently, so I've had a taste of the similarities. But today, I had a bilingual conversation.
So, I'm staying with some Swedish family friends, and they have a cousin visiting from Sweden. He speaks near-perfect English, but one of my friends started up a conversation with "Vet du, att han kan i verkligen forstå svenska för att han pratar danska?" So I began to snakke dansk while they started to prata svenska, and well, it worked out. The cousin told me about an American he knows in Sweden who had such a difficult time with the language that he has to work for an American company, and I told him about my time learning Danish, and how the basics of the Scandinavian languages felt natural for me. All in two different languages, but we could still understand each other. I did try to enunciate my Danish so he would understand, but we know that "clearly-spoken Danish" is an oxymoron.
Have any of you had similar experiences? I'm sure anyone living in Scandinavia probably has. Share any multilingual Scandiknavery below!
(Also, sorry if my Swedish spelling above is way off. My Danish is leagues beyond my Swedish (and well, 21>6))
"...but we know that "clearly-spoken Danish" is an oxymoron."
Big smile here! One of the reasons I love Danish is the weird way it sounds, the funny rhythms, the glottal stops, the letters that disappear when words are pronounced, the way some words just melt together—it's just too amusing not to love! I started the course on a lark, just for fun, and now I am determined I will complete the tree, although at the slow pace I am advancing (doing lots of repeating prior skills) it may take a good year.
I grew up in Denmark and we actually had a little practice in school of reading Swedish and Norwegian. I can usually look at a Swedish or Norwegian newspaper and get most of the meaning. I was also on holiday in Sweden as a child and I managed bilingual conversations with Swedes. Funnily enough it depends on the dialect. I have heard strong local dialects from Denmark that are harder for me to understand than some Swedish and Norwegian dialects. That said there are some Norwegian and Swedish dialects that are just too hard for me to understand much of. Well technically some Swedish and Norwegian dialects are more like a different language. Try Wikipedia for explanations: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Languages_of_Norway and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Languages_of_Sweden .
Very cool! I took Icelandic classes for about a year, and it's really interesting comparing it to Danish, and even German. A lot of words are the same or similar to Danish, such as jeg for I and hun/han for she/he. You can definitely tell that Icelandic has a more ancient feeling to it while Danish feels a lot closer to German and English. It's hard to explain.
I listen to Icelandic music sometimes, and when I look up the lyrics, thanks to my knowledge of a couple other Germanic languages, the lyrics are sometimes understandable (or more often, just barely elude my grasp without a bit of searching). It's interesting that you said it feels more ancient, since it's considered a more conservative member of the Nordic languages. Where did you have the opportunity to take Icelandic classes?
The Scandinavia Language Institute in Seattle offers classes in the five major Nordic languages (Icelandic, Norwegian, Swedish, Danish and Finnish). I believe Seattle is the only place on the west coast with an Icelandic teacher.
Edit: I guess they're not teaching Finnish right now, unfortunately.
I am not that far advanced in Danish, but I was in Copenhagen a short time ago and watched a bit of Swedish television in my hotel room.
Danish subtitles were being provided. And it was fairly obvious that the vast majority of the Swedish words were extremely similar to the "translation" being provided for the Copenhagen audience.