If you are (like many of us), in the process of learning Danish and you desire to become good at it, as soon as possible, then here are a few tips that can definitely help you.
Attending Danish classes is obviously the foundation of your learning curve, but you also need to focus on integrating as much Danish as possible, into your everyday life.
This post will be split into 4 categories:
Learning Danish every day
Reading will be one of the best tools you can have to improve your Danish level quickly.
Try to aim at reading at least one Danish book a week (you can usually get these for free at your school, and they are specially written with a comprehensive grammar and structure. In the early modules 1-3, the stories are not necessarily that interesting, but as you progress further, books are actually becoming very interesting as you can read biographies, actual stories, drama, etc.).
If you want to push it, make sure to register at your local library (free and you only need your CPR card). There are many books to read from. I would definitely encourage you to have a look. If you live in Copenhagen, here is a link with all the libraries addresses.
Reading newspapers is a great way to stay up-to-date with Danish news as you can relate to it easily. I personally take B.T from Monday to Friday, it is a free newspaper and it is a great reading tool. Spend 30 min everyday reading the newspaper, this will become easier as you advance. You can find the newspaper (red stand) all over the city center. For info, they are less active during weeks 29-31 in the summer (everyone needs a bit of holidays!).
The Danish Radio Television also has news in a simpler format, if you want to read. I personally used it a lot in the beginning. This is a good option to use, when you are starting to study Danish (module 1 and 2): http://www.dr.dk/ligetil
Switch your mobile phone to Danish. This may not be super easy at first, but you will find your way around and get to learn a lot of new words without even noticing it.
Listening to the radio or Danish music will help you understand better, but also develop your vocabulary.
Here is a link of all the Danish radios, that you can then stream and listen live.
I try as much as possible to listen to Danish music and translate it. It has definitely helped me improve my Danish understanding.
- If you want to dive into Danish music, you can check out the “Lyrics Translate” website, select artists you like and then translate their songs.
Here is my personal approach in 5-steps, to use songs as a learning tool:
- Listen to the song for the first time without any lyrics. Try to understand as best as you can
- Take the lyrics, read them and try to understand them as best as you can, without translating with a dictionary
- Translate the lyrics (actually on the link provided, most of the songs are translated in English, so that will save you some time and headaches!).
- Listen to the song again, this time with the lyrics
- Learn the songs, repeat, sing and have fun
Watching TV and going to the cinema will be quite a challenge, but take it step-by-step, you will definitely improve your understanding as you progress.
- Youtube: Needless to say, that watching videos on youtube is a good starting point.
- DR (Danish Radio): One of the Danish channels, they upload videos on their website. The great part about this website, is that you can have subtitles. They have a very large collection of documentaries, series etc: https://www.dr.dk/tv/programmer
You can find the “Undertekster” link on the right hand side, when playing the video:
Talking will be the ultimate challenge in your learning curve. Don’t be afraid and start as soon as you can to talk Danish in your everyday life. It starts with talking Danish when ordering food, paying your groceries, etc.
If you feel like it is getting a bit technical and you are afraid to sound like a fool (I have been there personally, so you are not alone in this!), prepare what you want to say ahead of the conversation.
For example, you need to buy groceries, translate what you want to say and practice it. You will feel more relaxed when initiating the conversation in Danish.
If they reply to fast for you, gently ask them (in Danish), to repeat slowly.
There is a chance they will reply in English if they feel you are really struggling, but stick to Danish.
I am not going to cover the social aspects of your life (getting out, meeting people etc.), as this is already covered by many other blogs and websites.
I hope all these tips and resources will help you progress in learning Danish. It definitely helped me, so I can recommend it from my own personal experience.
If you have more tips that you think would definitely be worth sharing, please feel free to contact me (or comment below), and I will gladly add them to this blog post.
Have a great day!
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