You have prepared yourself for this.
You know the words, you have rehearsed them a billion times in front of the mirror.
Don’t bother about the blød d, just like your friend said, pretend your tongue wants to escape but your teeth won’t let it.
Just don’t forget to smile.
Okay, here we go!
If the pep talk above reminds you of yourself, well, I can completely relate because that’s what I do the day and the minutes before I go out and speak Danish. It takes days of planning and mental preparation, and practice and rehearsal and… yes, I’m still talking about speaking a language!
The moment you venture out into the world and mutter something in another language can be a shock to your entire existence. Like the shock I have been experiencing when I try to speak Danish.
But what makes up for it is when you succeed. When you are understood by your fellow Danes and they reply back in Danish. Hurrah! Hurrah!
My mind after a successful Danish conversation!
What doesn’t make up for it though, is when they choose to switch to English in order to make the conversation flow more easily.
Now this is completely anti-climatic and very, VERY annoying.
I understand that not everyone has the time or the patience to engage with a struggling, Danish-learning foreigner. But switching to English just for the sake of it, to make us feel more confident, has in fact a counter-effect, which is a major blow to our self-esteem. Have you ever found yourself in such a situation?
Well, fellow Danish-learning warriors, despair not! For I have the solution! Which is pretty obvious actually, and rather simple, but hey, it has worked for me and I’m all about sharing.
Just stick to Danish. Even if they insist on using English, you at least have the advantage of understanding the sentence much more quickly and thus you don’t feel the time-pressure that much. No matter what they say in English, you go ahead and speak Danish all the way. Until they switch back to Danish, or just get up and leave. Just do it!
The first time it will be hard as hell, the second will be trying, but by the third time it will start getting easier and easier. And then one day, you’ll wake up and you’ll leave the house without needing to do your rehearsal-ritual.
Does it sound like something you can achieve?
Just take it one step at a time, and you will see progress. Let me know if you had similar encounters!