Practice makes perfect

Learn the language and meet the Danes

Good Advice from Newcomers

Some newcomers to Ringkøbing-Skjern Municipality have given us some pieces of good advice as to how to become good at Danish:

  • Sign up for Danish classes as quickly as possible and make an effort to learn the language. It is important to learn Danish as quickly as possible.
  • Always turn on Danish subtitles if you are watching foreign films, and watch Danish films, too.
  • Buy a small notebook and jot down new words that you learn. Or write down when you are in doubt about anything, so you remember to ask the next time you speak to a Dane.
  • Take snaps with your mobile, e.g. when you see different signs in town or in nature. Ask your neighbour or colleague for help for pronunciation or understanding.
  • Go to the library and borrow children’s dictionaries for free, so you can expand your vocabulary, and borrow children’s easy-readers. Ask the librarians for advice - they will gladly help you.
  • Put small post-it notes on things in the kitchen cupboard and in your home, so you automatically practice Danish words.
  • Speak with the Danes. Venture into it, even though you do not quite master it yet.
  • Laugh at yourself when you make a linguistic error. Danes love self-irony.

 

Foto: AGM

 

The Language can be Tricky

As a newcomer you will of course experience that the language may be tricky. It can be hard to understand, and there are words, which are difficult to pronounce. Furthermore, the Danes love teasing a little. You will definitely experience an almost impossible task to begin with, when the Danes want you to pronounce: “Rødgrød med fløde og mælk”. (Red berry pudding with cream and milk). In return it elicits laughter. Do joke with your own linguistic mistakes. The Danes love self-irony.

 

Rødgrød med fløde - Foto:AGM

 

The language may easily give rise to misunderstandings. Several times a newcomer was puzzled by being told that the Danish children were having a good time going on a weekend trip to a scout hut. She could not understand that Danes had houses for spiders, and that - on top of that - they would let their children stay in them! Only after a long time she asked, and it was explained to her how scout life for children works. (Danish word for scout = spejder - pronounced “spider”!)

Many newcomers also become hesitant and insecure when the cashier at the till asks: “For the exact amount or over”? However, this question is just a friendly request as to whether you want a cashback.

 

What do we talk about?

Practice the language by speaking with Danes, but what do we Danes then talk about? Admittedly, this differs a lot, depending on whom we are together with, but on informal occasions we generally talk a lot about the weather.

There is always something to talk about, because the Danish weather is so unsettled. Sometimes it may seem as if the seasons even change in just one day.

The Danes are also fond of talking about food, holidays, children, leisure activities, and work, while most people in return would rather not talk to strangers about their wages or salaries or their personal relation to religion and politics.

The Danes like to help, so do ask when you are in doubt about something or repeat your question if you do not understand what is being said.

 

More about the Danes

On DENMARK.DK you can read more about Denmark and the Danes, also in several different languages. You may for example be able to see a video depicting what foreign newcomers say about the Danish language: 

 

Iwona and Jarek

 
Polish family:

Nature and good conditions for the children are crucial

It is first and foremost the good conditions for the children and the clean and beautiful nature that Iwona and Jarek emphasize when expressing why they have chosen to settle in Ringkøbing-Skjern Municipality in Denmark. In the past two years Iwona and Jarek have been living in the village of Finderup together with their joint child Diego and Jarek’s son Manuel and his daughter Karolina.

”The child-care facilities here are simply so good. They do so much for the development of children. For instance, they are allowed to cook and do woodwork when they can handle a knife– even though it may be a little dangerous. Besides, they also spend a lot of time in nature. In all sorts of weather. It is so healthy for them”, says Iwona who is also really happy with the schools.

”However, the best thing is that you exist to live here – which means that you don’t just constantly work, but you work in order to also live in your spare time”, says Iwona, and Jarek agrees. That was the very reason why he came to Denmark to work, since - as a self-employed motor mechanic with his own construction firm - he just worked and worked without earning sufficient to live on. On top of that he did not have any spare time whatsoever.

 

Iwona og Jarek - Read the full story here

 

Johanna and Malte

 
German family:

Good working conditions leaving room for a family life close to the North Sea

The North Sea. Proper wages – on time – and working conditions leaving room for a good family life with children. Those are the really big advantages pointed out by the German couple Malte and Johanna Mayrberger when moving from the city of Berlin to the seaport of Hvide Sande. Well yes – into the bargain is also the possibility of buying your own house and the fact that people are friendly and polite.

”We would never have been able to buy a house in Germany. You need to provide a down payment of half the price to obtain a loan for the remaining, and yet it is very difficult and sometimes impossible to qualify for a mortgage,” Malte explains, and Johanna adds:

”At any rate we would not have been able to afford having a child, a car, going on holidays, which we do every year, and have time for leisure activities.”

Malte and Johanna moved to Hvide Sande on the 1st November nine years ago and have settled in fine. 

Johanne and Malte - Read the full story here