Danish even for dummies

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Danish Made Easy: Even Dummies Can Learn Danish

Learning Danish is not as much of a time commitment (and not as hard) as you might think. With Babbel, learning Danish online is easy, intuitive and under your control: learn at your own pace, choose the lessons you want, and review and practice vocabulary on the go. Danish closely related to English with half of their vocabularies in common. Although mastering the very different accent and pronunciation can be difficult at first, Babbel’s online courses and mobile app include speech recognition so you can quickly become comfortable with speaking. Read the how-to tips below and then test your skills with a free Danish lesson.

The Viking Invasion

English is technically a West Germanic language so, even though it borrows more than half of its vocabulary from French and Latin, the core of English is firmly Germanic. About 1500 years ago, the Angles and the Saxons came to England from what is now Germany and the Netherlands. A couple hundred years after that, the Danish Vikings swooped down from Scandinavia and left their mark, both in terms of settlements and the influence of North Germanic words and grammar. The evidence remains in modern English, which is closer to modern Danish than it is to Old English.

Basic Danish phrases

  • Ja / Nej – Yes / No
  • Hej – Hi
  • Farvel – Goodbye
  • Bede om – Please
  • (Mange) Tak – Thank you (very much)
  • Jeg hedder… – My name is…
  • Jeg er fra… – I’m from…
  • Undskyld – Excuse me / pardon me
  • Jeg har et spørgsmål – I have a question.
  • Jeg forstår (ikke) – I (don’t) understand

Hjælp mig! (help me!)

Being able to ask a few questions is a good way to start speaking a language. Not only can you start communicating right away, but the answers to your questions will provide you with new vocabulary.

  • Hvor er stationen? – Where is the train station?
  • Varifrån kommer du? – Where are you from?
  • Hvor er du fra? – When are you coming?
  • Hvad er klokken? – What time is it?
  • Hvordan går det? – How are you?
  • Hvad er der sket? – What happened?
  • Hvorfor? – Why?
  • Vem er det? – Who is that?

2 Genders

Unlike English, which has no gendered nouns (the is the only definite article), every noun in Danish is either masculine (en) or neuter (et). In Danish the definite article is added to the end of a noun, while it comes before the noun when it is indefinite: compare et bord (a table) with bordet (the table).

Verb Conjugation

Verbs in Danish are always conjugated, which means the verb has a different ending depending on whether you, I, we, she, or they are doing the verb. To get you started, here are a few useful verbs in the I form:

  • Jeg har brug for… – I need…
  • Jeg vil… – I want…
  • Jeg har… – I have…
  • Jeg er… – I am…

How To Practice Your Danish

Try your first Danish lesson with Babbel for free. One of the advantages of the Babbel system is that you are immersed in Danish from the beginning. The process is easy and intuitive (with lots of helpful hints when you need them), and you can learn at your own pace and set your own lesson plans. Babbel’s Danish course is affordable, accessible online and via mobile devices, and proven to strengthen your reading, listening, speaking and comprehension skills. You can master Danish by yourself, or use Babbel’s community features to connect with other learners, find tandem partners and share expertise. Use the tips above and see which level you can achieve.

Danish Dummy