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Do you need to learn Danish to live in Denmark?

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Do you need to learn Danish to live in Denmark? The answer is No, and Yes.

You can work, live and study in Denmark without learning Danish. I know a number of British, American and French people that have lived here years without learning the language. There are companies who use English as their first language, and a few who will allow you to work in a Danish speaking office without Danish. However after eighteen years in Copenhagen my advice would be learn it, and learn it as quickly as possible. No matter how difficult, annoying or time consuming it feels, and stick with it until you are fluent. Also don’t be tempted to drop out of a course with a view to returning, as you won’t and you will regret it.

The Danes are speaking the English very good

Pretty much everyone in Denmark, old and young speak and or understand English. But as polite and helpful as Danes generally are in speaking English, it can be wearing for them. And you are in their country.

Do you want to sit at a meeting or meal with five Danes, and everyone speaks English because of you? Do you want to be doing that five or ten years after you have lived in Copenhagen? No you don’t, so learn their language.

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It’s a long hard struggle to learn Danish

It is difficult learning Danish. As you start taking tentative steps to speak Danish you meet the frustration of speaking Danish only to be answered in English, by someone with a smug grin on their face, who appears to be rubbing your nose in it. They are in fact just trying to be helpful. That one happens a lot at the beginning, but it eases off as you improve.

Is it a waste of time learning Danish?

One of the arguments for not learning Danish is ‘what’s the point, only 5 and a half million people speak the language’. I’ve heard this a few times. Well unless you generally talk with a couple of million people per year, I really don’t think that argument is anything other than an excuse for laziness.

Some people have a natural ear for language, and a have a memory that suits language learning. For others like me, it’s just hard painful work. It took me five months on a part time course (at Studieskolen in Copenhagen) to get enough Danish to blag my way through a job interview in Danish. This involved quite a bit of nodding along, and occasionally repeating the last word they said in a vague attempt to look like I understood what they were talking about. It takes a little time to build up the fluency, but you will only pick it up after first doing a course. The idea that you will pick up Danish through osmosis, aint gonna happen, just as, ‘I will learn Danish later’ isn’t going to happen. Do it now.

 

Some of the Danish language schools

www.kbh-sprogcenter.dk Copenhagen Language Center
www.studieskolen.dk Studieskole (Is the one I went to)
www.kiss.dk Københavns Intensive Sprogskole – Copenhagen’s Intensive language school. (Always wondered if Gene Simmons teaches there. In full make-up)

Iain Cameron is a Copenhagen based freelance graphic designer, web designer and illustrator. Here is my About me page.

 

 

iain-cartoon-website-launch

A re-launch of my side project Iain, my cartoon website

iain-cartoon-website-launch

My cartoon website www.iain.dk has just been re-launched. As with my other side project, my football website thedandydons.com it is an opportunity for me to develop skills and express myself on my own terms. I greatly enjoy working with clients, but it is nice on my personal projects to do exactly what I want. It also makes me a better designer when working with clients, and a bit less of a control freak.

The drawing style for Iain.dk is very different from my commercial illustration style. And is a very enjoyable way to work. I now have a brand new Facebook page to bring people into. It currently has precisely six! Hint, hint. www.facebook.com/iaindk

 

Cartoons on Denmark

I mentioned on my blog post on Michael Booth’s Guardian article criticising Denmark www.iaincameron.dk/ugly-truth-scandinavia/ that I worked for the English language newspaper The Copenhagen Post a number of years ago. So I decided to find some of the old work, and post it here.

However this devout minimalist designer, likes to get rid of old stuff. So I re-drew some of my favourites. More will follow as I get them done.

Danish religious cartoonEaster beer cartoonAnders Fogh Rasmussen Nato cartoon

Meanwhile at Noma restaurant

Noma restaurant

Noma restaurant cartoon

Noma restaurant Copenhagen

The world famous Noma restaurant, situated in the Christianshavn area of Copenhagen. Formerly the official number 1 restaurant in the world (voted by Restaurant magazine), and currently number 2.  Noma is run by chef  René Redzepi, and co-owned by Claus Meyer.

So here’s a cartoon on Noma restaurant Copenhagen. Some inspiration for you René, you can have that for free.

Noma restaurant