Tuesday, 31 August 2010

The Danish language

Ok, I have to admit it: we used to find the Danish language pretty hilarious. We had of course heard it before going there, when our friends Iben and Flemming lived in Maastricht, but we had never been as exposed as when we were in Denmark for our holidays.
When we first drove into the country and switched the radio to a Danish station, we had huge smiles as we were listening to the constant babbling without understanding a single word of what was said. But after 10 days in the country, we learned a few words and started recognising some of the things that were said. We got pretty good at numbers (not necessarily knowing what number was being mentioned - especially if it was anything above twenty - but nonetheless recognising that there was a number in the sentence). And since a debit-card machine in a shop in Copenhagen told me to 'husk'
(remember) my card, we have been hearing this word again and again!

To keep listening to beautiful Danish, we've been getting back to a TV show we had started years ago: Unit One. Or, in Danish: Rejseholdet (which means something like special traveling unit). It's a police drama set all across Denmark which follows a special detective unit who travels to different places to investigate dreadful cases.
We are watching it with English subtitles and we love to listen to all the funny sounds they make, while recognising bit and bobs here and there.

Now: another thing about Danish is the pronunciation. We quickly found out that, especially for cities and places, the pronunciation doesn't resemble (at all) the way you would pronounce the words in 'English'. For example, Skagen, at the Northern tip of the country is pronounced 'skain'. Esbjerg, on the west coast? Well, that's 'espia'. Of course! ;-)

Well, here is a little sample of Danish for those of you who would like to hear what it sounds like, and how the pronunciation differs from what is actually written. It's one of the songs we heard over and over on the radio - Gosh it brings back good memories!


  1. This is hilarious!! =) the song is catchy too!

  2. ABSOLUTELY HILARIOUS. I smiled all through reading this post. I didn't even know that you heared that song. We have been hearing him A LOT this summer. Saw him at a festival:) Which reminds me; why don't you come back here for Nibe festival next year, that would be fantastic. We are old enough to stay at the lux-camp with electricity and hot coffee:)

    Love and thoughts


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