Danish in Greenland

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Fränzi
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Danish in Greenland

Postby Fränzi » 2007-09-25, 12:55

Howdy.

Firstly, I decided to ask this question here, rather than the Danish forum, as more people in this section are likely to be able to answer. I'm basically just curious as to the importance of Danish as a language in Greenland, and whether one would do well to learn it when travelling or living there.

I'm intending to study Norwegian (and hopefully Greenlandic...somehow), but I'd like to know in any case. Thanks!

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Qaanaaq
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Postby Qaanaaq » 2007-10-05, 23:49

I’ve just found an extremly interesting bunch of articles about Danish Greenlanders and Greenlandic Danes:
http://www.arnanut.gl/index.php/?cat=32&language=dk
(if you change the last two letters to "gl", it will appear in Greenlandic). Especially ‘Jeg er stadig på udebane når jeg taler grønlandsk’ was very rewarding.

Off topic: the Arnarut magazine http://www.arnanut.gl/ is whole quite amazing, it’s also in Greenlandic + Danish translation and it’s a highest level of Greenlandic journalism I’ve encountered on-line so far… Hope I’ll be able to reach the level when I can practice my Greenlandic on these great articles…

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nighean-neonach
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Postby nighean-neonach » 2007-10-06, 7:02

@ Fränzi: Danish is the native language of only a very little part of the Greenlandic population (around 20%, as far as I know), but everyone else learns it as their second language at school. This also means that many Greenlanders don't speak another language apart from Greenlandic and some Danish. So it is certainly useful for a traveller, as it is somewhat easier to learn for the average European than Greenlandic ;)

@ Qaanaaq: Arnanut is quite nice, I usually buy the paper copy through the internet. I would not exactly call it "high level journalism", it's more like an average women's magazine with lots of chit chat and stuff, but for learners it's useful enough :)
Writing poetry in: Scottish Gaelic, German, English.
Reading poetry in: Latin, Old Irish, French, Ancient Greek, Old Norse.
Talking to people in the shop in: Lithuanian, Norwegian, Irish Gaelic, Saami.
Listening to people talking in the shop in: Icelandic, Greenlandic, Finnish.

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Fränzi
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Postby Fränzi » 2007-10-11, 3:59

Thanks for the replies.

I've settled on Danish after a long battle between that and Norwegian, so hopefully I'll be able to make a start on Greenlandic.

Qaanaaq: Thanks for the website links, they should make for good practice in the (fairly far distant) future!

nighean-neonach: Does that mean that even today, English is not so widespread in comparison with Danish? I've heard of it being an occasional third language, but I'm not too sure.

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nighean-neonach
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Postby nighean-neonach » 2007-11-26, 20:42

Fränzi wrote:nighean-neonach: Does that mean that even today, English is not so widespread in comparison with Danish? I've heard of it being an occasional third language, but I'm not too sure.


I should look into this forum here more often and more thoroughly :oops:

Still, better late than never:
Of course some people in Greenland speak English, especially those involved in the tourism industry, and also those with a high level of education, members of government and administration, or people with international business contacts. And of course lots of teenagers are very keen on learning English well. I have some penpals whose level of English is really good.
But on the other hand, there are lots of people for whom even Danish remains a foreign language throughout their lives. Many elderly people have not had much education at all, and in some parts of the Greenlandic society there are great social problems with unemployment, alcohol, teenage mothers, violence, etc., so of course it is hard to get a good level of education at all if you grow up in such circumstances.
Writing poetry in: Scottish Gaelic, German, English.
Reading poetry in: Latin, Old Irish, French, Ancient Greek, Old Norse.
Talking to people in the shop in: Lithuanian, Norwegian, Irish Gaelic, Saami.
Listening to people talking in the shop in: Icelandic, Greenlandic, Finnish.

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Fränzi
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Postby Fränzi » 2007-11-27, 4:37

Interesting, thanks. I wonder which, between English and Danish, will be the larger language in the next ten years.

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nighean-neonach
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Postby nighean-neonach » 2007-11-27, 5:48

Fränzi wrote:Interesting, thanks. I wonder which, between English and Danish, will be the larger language in the next ten years.


I think English will definitely grow more important, through tourism as well as through a political attitude which tries to turn the focus away from Europe a bit - but on the other hand Greenland is still completely dependend on Denmark, financially, and although they have hjemmestyre, their are still a part of Denmark politically.
Lots of Greenlandic teenagers go to Denmark for higher education, so Danish is essential for them.
Writing poetry in: Scottish Gaelic, German, English.
Reading poetry in: Latin, Old Irish, French, Ancient Greek, Old Norse.
Talking to people in the shop in: Lithuanian, Norwegian, Irish Gaelic, Saami.
Listening to people talking in the shop in: Icelandic, Greenlandic, Finnish.


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