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Danish (dansk)

Danish is a North Germanic language with around 5.5 million speakers mainly in Denmark, but also in Greenland, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Canada, the UAE and the USA. Danish was the official language of Norway until about 1830 and of Iceland until 1944. Danish is now the first foreign language learnt in Iceland.

During the Middle Ages, Danish was heavily influenced by Low German dialects, while during the 17th century Danish absorbed many French loanwords and from the 19th century onwards, many English words have been taken into Danish.

The first written work of Danish literature was Gesta Danorum (History of the Danes) written in Latin in about 1200 by Saxo Grammaticus. This recounts the history of Denmark up to 1186 and includes Danish versions (in a somewhat Christianized form) of Scandinavian myths and sagas, including the earliest version of the Hamlet story.

You can see an online version of Gesta Danorum in the original Latin at: http://www.kb.dk/elib/lit/dan/saxo/lat/or.dsr/

Danish began to be used a literary languge during the 16th century. In 1514 Christian Pedersen published a Danish version of Gesta Danorum, which was highly influential on subsequent Danish literature. Pedersen also published the first Danish translation of the New Testament in 1531.

A a B b C c D d E e F f G g H h I i J j
a be se de e æf ge i jåd
K k L l M m N n O o P p Q q R r S s T t
æl æm æn o pe ku ær æs te
U u V v W w X x Y y Z z Æ æ Ø ø Å å  
u ve dobbelt-
ve
æks y sæt æ ø å  

The letters C, Q, W, X and Z are only used in foreign loanwords. Before 1948, the sound written å was written aa, which can still be seen in some place names, such as Aalborg and Aabenraa.

A recording of the Danish alphabet by Marc D. S. Volhardt

Pronunciation

Danish pronunciation

Notes

  • g: [ j ] after a vowel, [ ɕ ] in words of foreign origin

Details of Danish pronunciation provided by Marc Volhardt

A good guide to Danish pronunciation, with sounds files, can be found at:
http://www.speakdanish.dk/html/pronunciation_index.htm

Sample text

Alle mennesker er født frie og lige i værdighed og rettigheder. De er udstyret med fornuft og samvittighed, og de bør handle mod hverandre i en broderskabets ånd.

A recording of this text

Translation

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
(Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)

Information about Danish | Danish phrases | Danish kinship terms | Tower of Babel in Danish | Danish learning materials

Links

Information about the Danish language
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Danish_language
http://www.bbc.co.uk/languages/european_languages/languages/danish.shtml

Online Danish lessons
http://www.loecsen.com/travel/0-en-14-2-19-free-lessons-danish.html
http://www.learnoasis.com/content/learn-danish-online
http://www.antosch-and-lin.com/danish/

Learn Danish online with DanishClass101

Danish Grammar
http://www.grammarexplorer.eu

Danish phrases
http://www.single-serving.com/Danish/
http://linguanaut.com/english_danish.htm
http://www.bbc.co.uk/languages/other/quickfix/danish.shtml
http://www.speakdanish.dk/html/t_phrasebook.htm
http://www.transparent.com/languagepages/Danish/DnPhrases.htm
http://goscandinavia.about.com/od/knowledgesafety/a/danphrases.htm
http://www.101languages.net/danish/basics.html
http://www.denmarkfacts.com/learn_danish_online.html

Online Danish dictionaries
http://www.freedict.com/onldict/dan.html
http://danish.nigilist.ru
http://www.nordskol.org/ordbog/
http://www.hist.uib.no/kalkar/

Dansk for Alle - information about the Danish language and culture (in Danish)
http://www.studycentre.eu

Online Danish radio
http://www.dr.dk
http://www.abcsiden.dk/Netradio.aspx
http://knr.gl/index.php?id=737

Online Danish news
http://www.berlingske.dk
http://www.dr.dk
http://nyhederne.tv2.dk
http://www.information.dk
http://ing.dk

Project Runeberg - a volunteer effort to create free electronic editions of classic Nordic (Scandinavian) literature: http://runeberg.org

Germanic languages

Afrikaans, Alsatian, Bavarian, Cimbrian, Danish, Dutch, Elfdalian, English, Faroese, Flemish, German, Gothic, Icelandic, Low German / Low Saxon, Luxembourgish, Norn, North Frisian, Norwegian, Old English, Old Norse, Pennsylvania German, Saterland Frisian, Scots, Shetland(ic), Swedish, Swiss German, West Frisian, Yiddish

Other languages written with the Latin alphabet


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