Hi, guys! So today I took part in a Twitter chat about the uTalk language challenge (which I mentioned in this post at the end of December). Now, I did also take part in this challenge last year, when I tried to learn Slovak – and I didn’t do so well (at the challenge. I learnt a fair bit of Slovak last year).
However, the Twitter chat was a lot of fun and my score is actually on track, despite my pronunciation struggles with Danish. As a result, I thought I’d share a little more about my motivations for learning Danish than I managed to in 140 characters earlier! 🙂
My first experience of Danish came in 2012, when I went with my friend to the cinema to see a film called Love is All You Need. Sounds a bit ridiculous, right? In actual fact, the film was great – it’s a Danish film, but with Pierce Brosnan in it, and a large part of the film takes place in Italy; but what struck me most was that it was the first film I’d seen where the non-English actors weren’t forced to speak English with an accent in their scenes. Instead, they spoke Danish to each other, just with subtitles! Maybe that sounds dumb, but it was such a cool thing to see and to listen to a new language and it added a level of authenticity to the film that I really appreciated.
I didn’t really dabble in Danish after that, though it had interested me. One of my friends ended up doing her year abroad in the north of Germany, near Denmark and told me that she’d tried to learn some Danish but that the pronunciation was hard and weird. It didn’t really put me off, but I had other languages that I had more drive to learn (especially since I was still at uni), so I stuck with those.
Fast forward a little: and Duolingo finally released its Danish course! I was thrilled and spent about half an hour that first day playing around with it – only to discover that, yeah, damn, that is some difficult pronunciation! Again, Danish wasn’t a focus language so I dropped it, but despite that pronunciation issue, it didn’t seem too difficult; in fact, there are so many words that look like their German or English counterparts that I figured it might actually turn out relatively simple.
I definitely have more of a drive to learn Danish this year, however. I’m planning to visit Copenhagen for three days at the end of January (which I knew I would do in September) so when I saw the uTalk Challenge was beginning again, I figured it would be a great opportunity to learn some of this awesome language. It has been fun, too. I’m still fighting with the pronunciation, but I’ve got ways of fixing that, and if I finish with the app before I go then I’m going to have a play around with Duolingo too and see how much I can learn.
I know I talk a lot on here about languages I want to learn really well, but I think there’s a lot to be said for other goals too. I don’t think I’ll take up Danish seriously in the near future, but I’d like to be able to make an effort when I visit Copenhagen, even if it ends up being a mildly mangled one. If I can order a coffee and understand that I should push a door, not pull it, then it’s only going to add to the amazing experience that is exploring a new country.
However, I do know that the one thing I’m not planning on doing is hiring a bike:
If you’re taking part in the uTalk Challenge but didn’t take part in the Twitter chat today, then there may well be another one on Friday 22nd January, so keep an eye out. If you’re not taking part in the challenge, then come hang out anyway! I think I speak for all of us when I say we’re happy to hear from anyone who has experience of our languages! 🙂
Good luck with the Danish and thanks for the movie recommendation – I will look it up. I am curious to hear more about how you are tackling the pronunciation aspect of Danish… it is certainly very challenging!
No worries, it was such a fun film. I was going to use an FSI course for pronunciation, but since there isn’t one I’m just googling around for something. But yes, it’s so difficult right now – though I guess that means I can only improve from here! 🙂