Spoken by around six million people, Danish is considered something of a minority language within Europe, where languages such as English, German, French and Spanish are far more widely utilised. However, it is the official language of both Denmark and the Faroe Islands making it a useful language to learn for visitors to those countries. It is also spoken by a significant number of people in Greenland, as well as northern Germany.
Aside from travelling to one of the aforementioned regions, another common reason for learning Danish is its capacity for mutual intelligibility with other Scandinavian languages. Indeed, the close relationship between Danish, Norwegian and Swedish means that people fluent in one of those languages will usually be able to converse with speakers of the other two. Norwegian, in particular, is said to be highly intelligible to Danish speakers.
People looking to learn Danish as a second language have a number of options available to them. Perhaps the easiest and cheapest option is to learn the language from a book at the learner’s own pace. While this method is good for forming a basic understanding of the language, unfortunately, a major drawback to this method is its inability to teach or correct the actual pronunciation of words.
Due to this limitation, many people instead turn to the more traditional method of classroom-based learning. The benefits stemming from this approach include the ability to practise conversation and the capacity to receive feedback and advice from someone fluent in the language. Yet, downsides to this method include the rigid structure and timing of the classes as well as the costs associated, which can put many potential learners off. A common middle ground for many learners is the use of CD-Roms or DVDs. Like with books, they allow people to learn at their own pace and serve as a constant reference to go back to. In addition, audio and visual materials provide a more well-rounded learning experience. However, learning Danish in this way can also prove costly and the one-to-one support is incredibly limited.
As an alternative to the options listed above, Babbel.com aims to combine the best aspects of both traditional and modern teaching methods, in order to provide its users with the ideal platform for learning a second language. Available to use via a computer, smartphone or tablet, Babbel aims to keep exercises as fun as possible in order to promote learning through enjoyment and does not require any software downloads. To date, Babbel has over 15 million users from around the world. Its integrated speech recognition tool helps users to work on their pronunciation skills, while its interactive media also enables two-sided learning without the need to splash out on expensive evening classes. The site’s review manager monitors your learning and tailors lessons to focus on your weak points for the most personal learning experience possible.