Danish Language

History

The Danish language is an Indo-European, North Germanic language. It derives, as Swedish similarly does, from the dialect group that is East Norse. East Norse, along with West Norse, both originated from the common Germanic language of Old Norse, then split into these two distinct languages.

The oldest written examples of Danish use the Runic alphabet. However, the introduction of Christianity to Denmark brought the Latin alphabet, and by the end of the High Middle Ages, the Latin alphabet had replaced the Runes. There are only three additional letters to the modern Danish alphabet, with the majority of the letters clearly being Latin, and this same alphabet is used in Norwegian as well.

With recent classification, the Danish language is placed with Norwegian and Swedish into the Mainland Scandinavian group, with Icelandic and Faroese being in the Insular Scandinavian group. When written, Danish is very similar to Norwegian in terms of aspects of phonology and prosody. This essentially refers to the patterns and stresses of language.

Popularity

Danish has around 6 million speakers around the world, though they are principally in Denmark. Around 50,000 Germans who live in the northern areas of Germany also speak Danish fluently due to their Danish ancestry. There, it has the status of a minority language. In Greenland and in the Danish territory of the Faroe Islands, Danish is also an official language.

Around the world, there are significant communities of Danish speakers, though they are most common in Argentina, the US and Canada. Danish has around thirty different dialects, an immense amount considering the size and popularity of the language. However, there are three main dialects that these thirty generally can be termed under. These are Insular Danish, Jutlandic, and the Bornholmsk dialect. Insular Danish is the most popular, and includes dialects of the Danish Islands of Zealand, Funen, Falster, Mon, and Lolland. Jutlandic is divided again into the four compass points – North, South, East and West – with further divisions of accent and tone, while the Bornholmsk dialect is primarily used in the island of Bornholm. It is sometimes referred to as Bornholmian.

Language

In the Danish language, there are two noun classes, which are Common and Neutral. Common nouns use the article of en, while the neutral nouns use the article of et. When you are learning the Danish language, you might hear these two noun classes referred to as n-words and t-words.

There are nine forms of verb in the Danish language. These are the infinitive, verbal noun, present participle, past participle, present tense, past tense and imperative. The first four are non-finite forms, while the latter are finite forms. The verbs themselves do not change according to the speaker or the number that is being referred to, but remain the same regardless of their context.

There are two finite moods in the Danish language, which are indicative or imperative. The indicative mood is used in all sentences, unless the imperative is needed instead. In the Danish language, there are three forms that adjectives can take. These are basic, neutral, or plural. The meaning of the word does not change, but it is affected by the context in which it is in.

Why Learn The Danish Language?

Danish, Norwegian and Swedish are three very similar languages, and many studies have shown that if you have experience of one language, you will find it much easier to learn one of the others. The city of Copenhagen is very beautiful, and includes such attractions as Tivoli Palace, Amalienborg Palace, Copenhagen Cathedral, and Rosenborg Castle.

If you have an interest in architecture, then the Danish language would be an excellent one to learn, as Denmark is an excellent place to learn more about architecture. It is also a very LGBT-friendly country, with same sex marriage being legal there since 1989. Learning the Danish language is surely something that would help you to explore this fascinating country.


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