Instead of a typical blog post with beginning, middle and end, I will provide something completely different this time. A checklist for all of you ambitious Danish learners out there, who are not in Denmark! For obvious reasons, this checklist is targeted (mostly) at complete beginners:
- Make sure that you, somehow, familiarize yourself with the Danish language. Just try to listen to random dialogues on Youtube, movies or songs.
Please note: Most likely you will be scared by the brutal sounds of this language. It’s OK if you are, it’s completely natural!
- After you have created a vague picture in your head about Danish, then you can start contacting your social circle: Do any of your friends have a Danish friend? Has anyone ever been to Denmark and has some connections there? Or better yet, do you already have any friends who live there, or have you, yourself, ever visited Denmark?
If yes is the answer to most/all questions, then I would suggest that you grab onto this merry occasion and contact your friend/Danish friend/your friend’s friend/your friend’s Danish friend… and establish a communication between you two. Ask him/her anything you want about learning Danish, and find out if he/she is eager to help you.
If no is the answer then you can immediately follow the next step:
- So, you have found zero connections to Denmark, but fear not! There’s a wide array of online learning platforms, where you can learn Danish for free (in most cases) and on top of that you get to meet natives too!
You are also very, very lucky because we have already gathered some of the best online resources and apps that help you learn Danish! Our fellow blogger Catrin has made a brilliant short series about Digital Danish, where she provides free tools for learning Danish.
- By now you should be well into things. Learning Danish, being a member of a community, and having at least one Danish acquaintance! Hurrah! Now what you need is three very important things. I call them The Three Cs and these are:
-Commitment: Learning a language is all about commitment. When you learn a new language, it’s like having a pet in the house…you know it will stick around for a long time and it will be part of your life. So you make space for it in your life 🙂
Okay, maybe the simile is terrible, I’m not very good at these things, but you get the point!
So is the same with language. You need to be able to commit to it every day, at least for half an hour, and never slack off. Sure, there will be times when you won’t be able to further your progress, but these times, you can try some simple tricks which will help you a lot with you barely noticing it! One of these tricks is music-by listening to Danish songs you can actually improve your listening skills and vocabulary tremendously! Nicole has a beautiful post about her experience with Danish songs, see if you can get inspired!
-Consistency: This is a bit tricky. There are thousands and thousands of different ways to learn a language, but not all of them are equally effective. For example, if you want to improve your grammar, grammar rules and exercises will only get you so far. But, if you combine grammar learning with reading texts then you will get a much better grasp because you will be witnessing grammatical constructions first hand.
If you need to improve on your speaking, then you actually need to start speaking the language. Even if you don’t live in Denmark, this is hardly a problem anymore. Danish Duolingo has an online platform, Slack, where Danes and Danish learners all gather together online and speak Danish. Every Saturday there is a joint call where the Danes give us exercises to do on the spot, or just talk to us in Danish. I myself am part of this community, and I have seen a tremendous progress in my danish skills. Plus, everyone there is extremely welcoming, fun and eager to share their Danish knowledge, so you won’t be bored!
-Courage: Failing is disheartening and very discouraging. I know firsthand! But you need to be brave and stand your ground. Danish language is tricky and hard when it comes to pronunciation and vocabulary, but if you see these tough spots as a challenge to overcome, instead of something that will slow you down, then you have already done half the job!
Now find a comfy space and enjoy your learning process! And don’t forget your checklist!