I am at work. One of my colleagues is listening to a voice message from her guest speaker for an event she is organizing. He is sick so he won’t make it. I get it. I am on the street. Someone is asking me about a parking lot close to Den Gamle By. I guide him in the direction of the parking lot. He gets it. I get a message from Lærdansk. It’s written in both Danish and English. I resist the temptation of reading the English version. I read the Danish one. I get it.
Danish. Daily experiences prove that I understand it and, what is even more impressive, that Danes get me when I speak it. Like I’m no expert, but I’m sort of OK. So what’s holding me back from speaking it more often?
Firstly, I am afraid that words I don’t know will pop up during the conversation and then I’ll have to ask what they mean. And that’s failing. Right?
Secondly, I am extremely aware of how many words I still don’t know. What if I need to use them? When I express opinions in English I sound, more often than not, quite smart and articulate. When I have to do it in Danish, my arguments are weak and childish. Not because they really are so, but because my vocabulary in Danish is weak and childish.
Lastly, my pronunciation is ok, but not great. I know because I am still working on it in class and with my language partner. And I know because I was told that when I have to speak for a long time, words have a tendency to disappear in my mouth.
As someone who is concerned about what people think, I hate the idea – and even more the feeling – of not being able to hold a perfect conversation in Danish. The paradox is that if I don’t swallow my pride and do it, I will never be able to speak good Danish.
So right now I am at the stage, where I am trying to convince myself to just don’t care how bad it goes and just do it. Believe it or not, this is harder than actually learning Danish.
I am one of the people behind this blog and part of the Taldansk Online team. Despite the article suggesting otherwise, I’m fascinated by learning Danish and probably the only person in the world that thinks this language sounds sexy. You can find me on Instagram. My # game is weak though.