What language and moving to Denmark ( i hope)

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  • Hello there

    I am currently in talks in getting a job biased in Denmark, But i will have a lot of work in Sweden and Norway.

    I know there 3 different languages, but which one will be there best to start with ? or have i got to try and get my head round all 3 in a short period of time ?

    If everything goes to plan i should be moving to the Copenhagen area within 10 weeks, Anyone know of any goo short term Apartments/flats or an agency they would recommend ? that i can find my feet with ?

    Anyone that had made the move got any tips or words of wisdom

    Thanks Phil
  • Re: What language and moving to Denmark ( i hope)
    Well Phil my understanding is Danish by far and away the most difficult. Norwegian being easiest then Swedish. Finnish is even worse but you need not worry about Finnish.
    Norwegian has a number of dialects including business language and markedly dialects in the West and South. In Sweden they drop endings of words and Skåne in the south is almost impossible to understand, unless of course you live there and pick up the differences.
    If like me its your first language then good luck. My grammar was weak ( like most Brits) and as a result it makes a hard job that much harder again. I have been in Sweden over a year but have really just started to get to grips with the language. I expect it will be two years before I make real inroads. If you have a language, say German then you are already more than half way there. Min Fru speaks German and she learned Swedish to a decent level in 6 months. Hope this helps and has not put you off.
    Oh the commonalities in the languages are not quite as interchangeable and obvious as some may say. For example Norwegian and Danish programmes always have subtitles in Sweden. Finally the Norwegians apparently understand the other two languages best but thats just what I have heard and the reason that I say Norwegian is probably easier to learn is because they dont change the pitch of the word as much as the Swedes do. Lycka till or good luck.
  • Re: What language and moving to Denmark ( i hope)
    IMHO, if you are going to live in Denmark, then the language that you should learn is Danish. Thats the country that you will probably spend the most time in, so its the language that will be of most use to you.

    If you go over to the southern part of Sweden, ie, the Malmö area, then they'll be able to understand you anyway. Historically, there are more ties between Denmark and the south of Sweden (Scania/Skåne) than there are with the north.

    As regards Norway, then those you come into contact with will have an easier time understanding you anyway because you will no doubt (assuming you are originally british) due to the fact that you speak with a british accent. Sad but true!

    One other thing. If the area of the UK you are from is north of the M62, then a lot of dialectic words are still used today in all the 3 languages.
  • Re: What language and moving to Denmark ( i hope)
    Thanks Both of you and sorry for the very slow reply been very busy trying to sort out bits for the move. i know people know english but if i am going to love there i want to "fit in".
    Yea its tricky as i will be in Denmark at Sweden 50/50

    Thanks for your help

  • Re: What language and moving to Denmark ( i hope)
    In which country will be your home? That has a direct bearing on the language to learn.
  • Re: What language and moving to Denmark ( i hope)
    I live in Denmark and work 50/50 in Sweden. If you live in Denmark you will get free Danish lessons provided by government. Danish is much harder to learn than Swedish.
    I know people living here 30 years that don't speak it!

    Much easier to get by in Copenhagen just speaking English, than in Stockholm. At the same time all official correspondence will be in Danish.

    Your business will most likely be all in English. I would actually recommend learning Swedish though funnily enough as personally I think it would be more beneficial in my situation. Though I have a good grounding in Danish at this stage.

    Reasons being , NOrwegians will understand you if you speak Swedish. More chance of actually needing it when in Sweden.

    Accommodation is a nighmare to find here though, sign up to www.boligportal.dk and pay the fee. Put up an ad as you may get contacts that way. But search daily on that. Any idea of location in Copenhagen you would prefer?
  • Re: What language and moving to Denmark ( i hope)
    IF you will be 50/50 in Denmark and Sweden, definitely Swedish. Then you just put a hot potato in your mouth and speak Swedish - and presto! You are speaking Danish.

    On a serious note - I still recommend Swedish. :-)
  • Re: What language and moving to Denmark ( i hope)
    I've read that many Swedes find it hard to take Norwegians seriously because the language sounds like baby-talk. (Afrikaans-speakers had the same problem in Belgium - or used to.) My son lives in Norway and speaks Norsk reasonably well, with an Oslo accent, I guess. Recently he lived in Stockholm for a few months, and got a job very quickly without speaking Swedish. As far as I can tell, as an outsider, the three languages are really just dialects of each other.

    In my youth, I picked up a bit of Swedish while working there, and even today I can understand the sub-titles on TV shows better than I can understand the spoken Norsk. My advice would be to learn Danish (since that's where you'll be living) and not worry much about minor differences. If you moved from England to Scotland, would you go out of your way to speak like Jimmie from Glasgow? Probably not.
  • Re: What language and moving to Denmark ( i hope)
    Differences in the spoken languages are probably less than between different varieties of English. I remember that my Scandinavian colleagues were quite comfortable communicating with each other in their native tongues, Danish, Norwegian and Swedish.
  • Re: What language and moving to Denmark ( i hope)
    Yeh, tell me about the English dialects and accents! As a young lad from Oz straight off the boat, many years ago, I had a hell of a problem being understood - and I have never been comfortable with some of the regional accents, never mind dialects. I blogged about that in July last year ("English as she is spoke"), if anybody's interested.

    So scot47 is spot on. It's not likely that Scandinavian can be any more diverse than English. I once met a Geordie who told me that he could understand the Norwegians around Bergen, after a week or two with them. And my daughter-in-law from Kristiansand once told me that in the Islands north of Bergen the word for "knife" - which in standard Norsk is pronounced "k'nee-vuh" (more or less) - is pronounced "noif', which of course is exactly the way I used to pronounce it in Queensland, growing up!
  • Re: What language and moving to Denmark ( i hope)
    "It's not likely that Scandinavian can be any more diverse than English"

    There is no such language as Scandinavian.
    I know some Swedish, because it is mandatory here, but I would not understand a word on Danish, for example.
    My cousin moved to Norway. She knew Swedish, but had to study Norwegian in order to get a job. They are different languages.
  • Re: What language and moving to Denmark ( i hope)
    Yes they are totally different languages. From my experience of actually living here and also working in Sweden, most Scandinavians communicate in English when talking to each other. Any Swedes living north of Malmo / Lund struggle to understand Danish.

    They are similiar, just like Italian and Spanish for example. I can actually understand some Norwegian or Swedish in the written form, but in spoken form I can only pick up a handful of words.
  • Re: What language and moving to Denmark ( i hope)
    Well, I can only quote the experience of my son, whose Norwegian got him where he wanted to go (as a delivery-truck driver) in Stockholm. He wouldn't speak English, on principle. Also, his Norsk has served him well enough in Denmark. As for England and its dialects... A writer in Yiddish once famously stated that a dialect was just a language without a navy. I dunno.

    Maybe it's just a matter of luck, sometimes.
  • Re: What language and moving to Denmark ( i hope)
    Well, if I was to judge who knows best, I'd say it is me. :-)
    First hand experience as a native Finn and a language professional as well.
  • Re: What language and moving to Denmark ( i hope)
    Is there such a language as "English" ? The idea of a "language" is in fact an abstract construct !

    Sometimes "thinking outside the box" is painful !