Within 2 weeks in Copenhagen, I got to take in a lot of culture. The way people live, interact with each other, the food and the way people behave in general are very different and have a Nordic origin( you might know this culture as the Vikings). Today I will talk about the language that is used in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Danish language originated from old Norse( the viking language). The language have evolved a lot since then but I can’t say for sure which one is better; the Norse or the evolved Danish language. Although I don’t speak or understand either of these languages, I sure have heard about the evolution of the Danish language in a lot of stand-up comedies. The Danes basically chewed and digested half of the pronunciation of the letters used. Let me give you a quick example. The word carrot is translated as gulerød. Now, for most of us, this word when read and pronounced is gule-road or gule-rod but, if only things were that simple in Denmark. In Danish, gulerød is guleghol which makes no sense to me whatsoever. I will talk about some of these in today’s blog.
Let’s start in an unconventional way today. I will start with a dessert from Denmark. Rødgrød med fløde is a well known desert in Denmark. This is a common desert made out of one of the berries and whipped cream. Here is the actual pronunciation.
Picture credit: https://www.dr.dk/mad/opskrift/rodgrod-med-flode
Let’s talk numbers. Thirty is translated as tredive. Do you dare take a guess how this is pronunciated? Let’s just read out the letters and make it a word. The word would be something like tre-dive. Now the Dansk pronunciation:
If you are a person interested in languages and origins, Denmark is a very interesting country to be in. Just for fun, I am posting a link to some fun words to look at and hear in Danish.
Although the pronunciation may seem impossible, the Danish language is very easy. Let me show you how in a few points.
- Airplane in Danish is Flyvemaskine. I think we can take a guess looking at the word and what it might mean. The first part of the word says flyve which looks like fly or flying and the second part is close enough to a machine so its exactly what it is a flying machine. The danish word for airplane is flying machine.
- A refrigerator in Danish is called køleskab. The first part is similar to cold and skab means cupboard so the danish word for a fridge is cold-cupboard which is not wrong.
- A platypus is translated as næbdyr where the first part is beak and dyr is animal so platypus is named beak animal in Danish.
- Sloth is dovendyr where doven means lazy and dyr is animal so sloth is named lazy animal
- I saved the best for the last. Lizard is called fireben in Danish. Fire is four and ben is legs so they decided the name of a lizard should be four legged and hey, they are not wrong, not at all.
So, my interpretation of the Danish language so far; this language chose not to say a lot of letters. G is silent for the most part and sometimes pronounced as gee in some words. The letter d is pronounced as l in some words and in some, it is still d. There are more of these letters and the crazy part is you just have to know when it is pronounced one or the other. Also, the language is quite literal as it did come from the Vikings. They saw 4 legs in lizard and decided to call them fireben( four legged). Could you be any more straightforward with a language? I think not but when speaking, as long as you pronounce some letters in the word and babble the rest, you will probably get it right.
Jokes apart, Danish is one of the most difficult language to learn in the entire world(no wonder why ¯\_(ツ)_/¯). It is certainly a challenge to learn this language and fun to practice the pronunciation. The language comes from the actual Vikings so I can’t think of anything cooler than that. It is an amazing culture which just happened to have some funny kicks to it.
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