One of the challenges of moving to a new country is, of course, learning the local customs, the little idiosyncrasies that make that place and it’s population tick. There is also the language issue. If, like me, you have moved to a country which has a different primary language to you, then you’re going to need to learn the lingo.
I should say from the off that I am incredibly lucky in that the Danes, like much of Europe and, indeed, further afield, generally all speak English (and very well at that). This makes it much easier to get by in the short term but doesn’t take the onus off of me, as the outsider, to make an effort to learn the language.
I might also mention that Danish is incredibly hard to learn. In fact it’s often listed high in the top lists of ‘hardest languages to learn’. Even the Danes that I have spoken to have said that it can be nonsensical at times and, worse for the learner (particularly one who hasn’t attempted to learn a language since GCSE French back in 2000, or so).
I recently read a post at SweetDistance.com of ‘Extremely funny Danish words’ which looks at words in Danish and their very literal translations. For example; we flew to DK on an Aeroplane or, in Danish, Flyvemaskine. Literally translated as Flying Machine. As a side note, you also don’t say the word how it looks… just to make it nice and easy for you…
One of the positives of moving to Denmark, however, is that when you come and settle here, the state with happily provide you with Danish lessons. The idea being, of course, that you are able to learn the language and then integrate better into Danish society, or to put it bluntly, to become more Danish.
I went today to the local language school in Silkeborg for my introductory meeting and, after some form-filling, I left with a start date for my Danish lessons. It’s not a 2-hour a week night school, either, The sessions are twice weekly from 08:15 to 13:40. The course, I am told, will start with the basics and progress through the modules getting progressively harder.
This is, no doubt, going to be a huge challenge for me – your ability to learn languages diminishes over time and at 32, it’s been a while since those dreaded GCSE exams. What I do have, however, is a tried and tested educational programme and endless support from my in-laws who are all most excited for me to learn some of their lingo.
For now, farvel (goodbye) and wish me luck…