Why learn Danish? Learning Danish will enrich your life in ways you may never had thought of, and you get enjoy your progress every step of the way.
Admittedly, with around 6 million speakers, Danish is not the biggest language in the world. But trust me, it has quite a lot going for it, as you will see in this post.
The language itself can sound a bit unusual to newcomers, but this is in part due to the fact that it has a richness of phonemes, that you will find in very few other languages.
So once you have crossed that bridge – and with a little effort that isn’t too hard to do – the process can be a hugely enjoyable journey. Let's find out then – why learn Danish?
By the way, if you want to learn Danish fast and have fun, my top recommendation is Danish Uncovered which teaches you through StoryLearning®.
With Danish Uncovered you’ll use my unique StoryLearning® method to learn Danish through story…not rules. It’s as fun as it is effective. If you’re ready to get started, click here for a 7-day FREE trial.
1. Danish Opens Most Of Scandinavia To You
If you take the time to learn Danish, you’ll find yourself able to communicate not only with the Danes, but with most of Scandinavia.
This is true for Sweden and Norway, while Finland, linguistically, is a whole different kettle of fish. With this in mind, you have just tripled the number of people you can talk to and get to know.
And you can reap these benefits whether your interest is based on commercial, social or even historical and cultural topics.
The Danes have a bit of a reputation for being a slightly reserved bunch. But trust me, in their hearts they love to make friends. And you will find them eager to help you master their language.
2. The Little Mermaid, And Other Wonders Of The World
Would you voluntarily read Shakespeare in another language? Not really, right?
Even the best translator (and there are capable ones out there) leaves a mark on the text in question, in turn leaving just a tiny bit of the writer’s voice out. Often, this is not a problem.
But if you want the full flavour of Hans Christian Andersen, and his wonderful fairy tales, you had best pick up that Danish course and get to work! You will be rewarded.
It will become obvious to you that this 19th-century writer and poet displayed a subtle and gentle tone in his works.
Plus, they always include an extra layer of meaning, an extra gift for the avid reader. As had been said the fairy tales were written for grown-ups, yet told for children.
3. Vikings, Ahoy
Through Danish, you can lock on to the rich cultural heritage of Northern Europe. And there is much more to it than the stereotypical brutal vikings, ravaging and plundering much of Britain, as well as other European countries.
Certainly, the people of those times were as least as eager to do trade or manufacture tools as plundering monasteries, as they are depicted in the more action-packed stories.
The Norse mythology also bear witness to a rich religious life. Learning Danish will open you to a world of thrilling stories, horrific beats, incredible competitions and cunning demi-gods.
Denmark has one of the oldest monarchies in the world. The jury is still out on that one, but the first Danish king of the current house dates back more than a thousand years. He, Gorm the Old, christened the Danes (officially) and marked the end of the Viking era.
4. Learning A New Language Is Effective Exercise For Your Brain
Researchers from all around the world have found solid evidence that the very process of learning a new language keeps your brain in peak condition.
This will come in handy in so many situations in your life, that it can hardly be overestimated. In fact, it's impossible to imagine any situation at all, where brain power is not of the essence.
Learning a new language will activate parts of you that we, let’s face it, don't necessarily overuse on a daily basis. The challenges that the process presents keep your brain alert, and enable you to have a broader perspective on a variety of experiences.
If you're an English speaker, you're bound to recognise many of the structural aspects of Danish grammar and syntax. At the same time your brain needs to follow new pattens of thought, maintaining its plasticity and ability to adapt.
And to be sure, it looks killer on your resumé!
5. The Arctic Region
This particular corner of the world has long been out of focus for the general population. Not so anymore.
Without dwelling too much on complicated geopolitics, it’s safe to say that this region has new entered international discussions big time, as you have probably noticed, and rightfully so.
With a knowledge of Danish, you have a very good entry point for such discussions. At the heart of it lies, of course, Greenland, a huge island in the Arctic region.
Greenland is – along with the Faroe Islands – a part of the Danish so-called Rigsfælleskab, meaning they are autonomous parts of the Kingdom Of Denmark.
It also means that Greenland’s foreign policy is decided in Denmark, in The Danish language.
6. Fine Danish Dining
If you're anything like me, you do enjoy the occasional plateful of delicious and refined food.
In 2022, a Danish restaurant was voted no.1 in the prestigious The World’s best 50 restaurants, and the year before, restaurants in Copenhagen took up both the first and second spot on that same list.
What sets these places apart, is the emphasis on locally grown and bred raw materials. One of them even named themselves Noma – short for Nordisk Mad (Nordic Food).
Mind you, on such occasions, having learned Danish will really come in handy, potentially save your live.
That way, you will know that when you order en søpølses kønsdele, et helt andehoved med tungen som ske og fermenteret egern, you should prepare to be served genitals of sea cucumber, a complete duck’s head with the tongue used as spoon, and fermented squirrel.
And yes, those are actual examples from the menu! Going? Be sure to make your reservations early, it can take several months to get a vacant table.
7. Philosophy, Now
If you have ever, even a little, dabbled in philosophy, psychology, Christianity, or just the existential human condition, chances are you have come across the name Søren Kierkegaard (yes, the ”ø” is a Danish speciality – a contraction of an ”o” and an ”e”).
Strolling through the streets of Copenhagen, this peculiar looking figure would pen down some of the most subtle thoughts about human life.
This is the reason why some people as far away as Japan learn Danish; with the sole purpose of studying this intriguing writer in the original language.
8. Great Educational Opportunities In Denmark
Danes take great pride in foreign students. It appears to be flattering to have people from other exciting countries visit and study here, showing an interest in Danish culture and language.
There are extensive, well-organised foreign exchange programmes, at Danish universities and business schools.
This education is free, and if you meet certain criteria, you might even be eligible for SU, the state’s education support – a small payment for expenses each month. You will also find systems and help for accommodation, contact with the authorities and the like.
Another possibility are the so-called højskoler, a Danish speciality. These can be costly, and function as schools where you live, going into depth with your fellow students, often as more social, perhaps light-hearted studies of things like art, literature, or music.
These schools are free of tests and exams, and they are meant to be based on interest, rather than career.
9. Danish Film And Television
Are you also struggling to read subtitles? Do voiceovers often come across as a bit off? Well, you're not alone. Watching film or TV-series is most enjoyable when you understand, off the bat, what’s happening on the screen.
Recent years have seen a boom in Danish Film and Television. Often seen as a part of a wave of Nordic Noir, these have been met with much critical acclaim, all over the world.
Usually centered around crime and murder, the works have a special, dark ambience. Examples to take note of would be “Those Who Kill”, “The Chestnut Man” and the downright chilling “Kingdom”.
10. Danish Sense Of Humour
As any translator will tell you, humour and jokes are notoriously difficult to translate. Much is in the words, or based on cultural references, and this simply does not carry very well.
To truly appreciate humour, a strong knowledge of the language is definitely a huge advantage.
That said, Danes and Brits actually share a fair bit in this regard. There is a reason why shows like “Blackadder”, “Fawlty Towers”, and “Keeping Up Appearances” are very popular in Denmark, with reruns frequently aired.
Danish humour might be less based on wit than the English, so you have a good chance of coming to an appreciation of it. At any rate, Danes love to use humour as a relief from a stressful or unpleasant situation.
This again is connected to the Danish concept of Hygge, which is difficult explain precisely, but involves a pleasant, social occasion. Which leads me to the final good reason learn Danish….
11. A Piece Of Happiness
It would probably be a bit of a stretch to say that happiness lies within a language. It doesn’t.
But it is noteworthy how the Danes are continuously ranked amongst the happiest of people on the planet.
Mind you, they speak what comedian John Cleese once called ”not a language, but a disease”. But what does he know?
Why Learn Danish?
So, why learn Danish? Maybe the case is simply, Danish is fun! Today there are many exciting materials for language learning available, including for Danish.
If you're wondering how to learn Danish, make sure you check out the StoryLearning method where you learn languages through stories, not rules.
To get started, why not check out my short stories in Danish book which features eight page-turning tales suitable for high beginners.