New to Danish

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Cymbeline
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New to Danish

Postby Cymbeline » 2010-04-27, 18:47

Hello everyone,

I have just started learnign Danish, although I have thought about it for a long time (I was not sure whether I should prefer Norwegian or Danish to be honest :D ). To tell the truth I feel a bit intimidated by the pronounciation: you read something and you pronounce something entirely different!! I do know German and a text written in Danish is not that hard for me to understand, but aural comprehension and speaking... well, that's another story. I am trying to get used to the accent and pronounciation by listening intensively to danish radio online, yet I do not know whether that is enough. Any suggestions - advice?

Thanks you for taking the time to read and just let me say it's nice to join you all here :)

hekkenfeldt
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Re: New to Danish

Postby hekkenfeldt » 2010-04-28, 17:31

Hi!

As you yourself have noticed, Danish prononciation diverges a great deal from the standard ortography. I don't know if anyone has written a comprehensive guide to the pitfalls of Danish prononciation, and I myself don't have to time to write anything that thorough right now, but here are a few pointers to get you started:

Danish phonology has a lot of vowels, which means that the same vowel letter is pronounced differently depending on the context of the word it appears in.

You don't pronounce the endings of a lot of words. For example, "jeg" is pronounced like a short "ja" and "ikke" is pronounced "ik".

The word "er" (present of "være") is sometimes not pronounced, elongating or doubling the preceding vowel instead. For example, "det er varmt" is pronounced "de-e varmt".

As I said, just a few pointers. (It's frustrating trying to communicate phonetics through writing when you don't know any phonetic alphabets :x )

Oh, and great to see someone is interested in learning Danish. Good luck!
Please correct me!

funch
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Re: New to Danish

Postby funch » 2010-04-29, 11:31

Although I've been a foreigner for over ten years now living in Florida, I don't think teaching the 'ke' is not pronounced in 'ikke'.

That said I hope the Danish language didn't get that lazy over the last year.

Just for the fun of it I called my mom and had a conversation with her, an we both pronounce the 'ikke' as such.

The concatenation of words and even completely leaving words out in Danish speech is legendary, and makes it very difficult for forreigners to follow a common conversation.

I teach Danish to Americans and although most of them do it 'for fun' it is interesting to see how they almost gag when trying to pronounce 'roed-groed med floede' :)

I would like to think that learning the proper pronounciation of Danish is more important than learning the bad habbits and lazyness so prevalent over here. Especially down here in the south where they insist on ruining the otherwise pretty english language.

But... as said before... Good luck with it. Feel free to ask any questions if you need.

Johnny

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Cymbeline
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Re: New to Danish

Postby Cymbeline » 2010-04-29, 18:28

Hey,

thanks for the replies! Well, actually whenever I listen to a conversation where I also have the text available, it seems to me that ikke is pronounced ik... xD . Jeg sometimes sounds like ja, sometimes like jai. And I know that d is not pronounced at the end of word or in the middle before or after certain consonants, or is pronounced like a dry 'l'. So, knowing what I know I would pronounce 'roed-groed med floede' something like "ro'gro' me(l) flo'e". It's a bit hard to get used to it really hehe.

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kotrcka
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Re: New to Danish

Postby kotrcka » 2010-04-29, 19:04

hehe..

it just takes some time to understand..

for example, spoken word "unbelievable" is too verry different from written for anyone started in english :-D
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hekkenfeldt
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Re: New to Danish

Postby hekkenfeldt » 2010-04-30, 1:11

I agree with funch in that if you want to make yourself understood in Danish, it's probably best to just go with the "formal" or "full" pronunciation of words. (That is, pronouncing "jeg" as "jai" and "ikke" as "ikke" and so forth. Danes will understand you, and you'll pick up the lazier, more informal version of speech soon enough through exposure).
Please correct me!

funch
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Re: New to Danish

Postby funch » 2010-04-30, 11:43

My point was that I would hate for the Danish language to be what American is to English.

I'm not saying we should all talk like in Ib Schoenberg (look him up) movies from the 70's but those of us who at some point, for whatever reason decided to leave Denmark, appreciate the Danish language and the culture of where we grew up.

From talking to friends I know [my] Denmark is changing, racism is really starting to show it's ugly head and without this becomming a political discussion, imigrants obviously have an impact on the Danish language. And so should they. It is enevitable, and it is part of language evolution.

And for Cymbeline:

Hahaaaa, that's exactly how my daughter pronounces it. very funny.

hekkenfeldt
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Re: New to Danish

Postby hekkenfeldt » 2010-05-01, 9:08

All I'm saying is that it's probably wiser to go with the full pronunciation of words to begin with, because the normal pronunciation is hard to predict based on the spelling. It's not really a matter of politics, since no-one really talks like that and it holds no prestige over any other pronunciation. It's just a learning aid.

And what's wrong with American English?
Please correct me!

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Cymbeline
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Re: New to Danish

Postby Cymbeline » 2010-05-01, 15:55

hekkenfeldt wrote:All I'm saying is that it's probably wiser to go with the full pronunciation of words to begin with, because the normal pronunciation is hard to predict based on the spelling. It's not really a matter of politics, since no-one really talks like that and it holds no prestige over any other pronunciation. It's just a learning aid.

And what's wrong with American English?


Thanks guys I will have that in mind about the official pronounciation. After all most learning aids implement the official pronounciation (although listening to radio can spoil that hehe)

@hekkenfeldt: About american english, Americans tend to over-simplify the language. Most people are accustomed to american english through movies, music etc and do not notice that but here british english hold strong (at least back when I studied it) and there are also many british teachers teaching english in private language schools (I had at least three). There is a difference. American english tend to be more "mundane" (in want of a better term) in accent, vocabulary and grammar than british english, more simplified.

@funch: without intetion to go political too, what is happening to Denmark is happening all across Europe right now. I just hope people will realize where the world was lead last time this happened :? That having been said, I generally hold Danes in very high regard, as well as Norwegians. I have met and known people from all around Scaninavia and Finland and I was impressed by the friendliness of Danes and Norwegians (Finns were ok, Swedes so and so - according to my personal experience, always). Maybe my love for the languages comes from my appreciation of the people. Dunno.

hekkenfeldt
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Re: New to Danish

Postby hekkenfeldt » 2010-05-03, 19:09

@hekkenfeldt: About american english, Americans tend to over-simplify the language. Most people are accustomed to american english through movies, music etc and do not notice that but here british english hold strong (at least back when I studied it) and there are also many british teachers teaching english in private language schools (I had at least three). There is a difference. American english tend to be more "mundane" (in want of a better term) in accent, vocabulary and grammar than british english, more simplified.

This is a very common sentiment among language-minded Europeans. I don't get it. How is the American accent 'simpler' than any other accent? And what grammatical differences do you refer to? Yes, there are differences in vocabulary, but are they a matter of simplicity or mundanity? And if they were, how would that make the American version inferior to the British? No dialect or accent or language is intrinsically superior to any other, just different. Viewing non-standard dialects of English (or any language, for that matter) as damaged versions of the standard betrays, I think, a certain (sentimental and perhaps unconscious) chauvinism. In this case structured around the contrast

simplicity < complexity

and, in broader terms

American (simple, vulgar, inauthentic) < British (complex, refined, authentic)
Please correct me!

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ILuvEire
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Re: New to Danish

Postby ILuvEire » 2010-05-04, 0:14

Couldn't agree with you more, Hekkenfeldt. This kind of ethnocentrism is so last century. :roll:
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funch
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Re: New to Danish

Postby funch » 2010-05-04, 11:35

I wasn't trying to knock American-english, but it is derived from the 'Queens-English' which "in my opinion" is nicer sounding, more proper.

Remember... these are all opinions, not saying what right and wrong, just voicing mine.

I think learning the proper english (given Denmark is closer to England) is a better start.

When I have a spare moment between work, football (yeah stop calling it soccer America, we don't carry the ball around) and my daughter, I do enjoy watching BBC. Even the worst news (car bombs & Oil spills) sound less bad in 'proper' english... Maybe it also have to do with the over-dramatization in the American media... but who knows :)

~j

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Cymbeline
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Re: New to Danish

Postby Cymbeline » 2010-05-04, 20:45

Probably I was misunderstood about my explanation of the difference between American english and British english. I do not think the former is inferior to the latter. And the term "mundane" was not very accurate but I don't know how else to describe the difference.


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