The best way to learn Danish is through immersion. Immersion means living your life in the language and performing your day to day activities in Danish.
In terms of sheer effectiveness immersion is the sure fire way to learn a foreign language. Immerse isn't easy though, especially if you've never learned a foreign language before. Going cold turkey from your native language to Danish is no small feat.
The best place to get a true Danish immersion experience is Denmark (no surprise there), but...
Up and leaving for Denmark to learn Danish isn't the most practical thing. Does that mean if you can't travel right away to the country you'll never learn the language effectively?
You can create your own personalized Danish learning program, using various and tools and resources. Yeah it probably won't be as intense as true immersion, but it can still be very effective (and way cheaper).
Polyglot Benny Lewis shares his thoughts on immersion without traveling. You can check out more about his method for learning languages here.
There are more language learning resources out there than ever before, and it's completely possible to become proficient in Danish without ever having stepped foot in Denmark.
In this article we're going to take a look the specific needs of beginner, intermediate, and advanced students of Denmark. We'll also recommend tools and resources that best suit each level so that you can find the resources that are best for you.
We should probably talk a little about inputs and outputs.
There are four aspects of language learning: reading, listening, writing, and speaking.
Four Parts of Learning Danish
Of these four options two are inputs: reading and writing; and two are outputs: writing and speaking. You will need to develop all four skills to become fluent in Danish.
But you'll need a different amount of practice for each depending on your level in the language.
When you're new to the Danish language inputs are of the upmost importance. After all it's hard to speak or write Danish if you don't actually know any Danish yet.
That being said you should still practice writing and speaking as a beginner. You just don't need to as much as you will later when you reach a higher level of proficiency.
Typically beginners have the best pick of language courses, as most tools and resources are geared toward them. Danish isn't as popular as other foreign languages but there are still some notable options out there.
We picked resources that will help you get a handle on Danish grammar and vocabulary.
5+ minutes a day
Duolingo is the best known language app, and for good reason. It's proven to be an affective way to learn basic grammar and vocabulary in a game like setting. Their Danish course features grammar explanations before each lessons. Best of all its free!
From $4+ per month
15+ minutes a day
Danishclass101 uses primarily audio lessons in a podcast format. It has flashcards, vocabulary, and word sheets. The podcast is a great way to learn grammar, vocabulary, and work on pronunciation. Danishclass101 is a great way to develop listening and reading skills (podcast transcripts are available).
From $6.95+ per month
15+ minutes a day
Babbel features lessons in a quiz based format. Lessons are separated by course categories which include things like difficulty level and specific aspects of grammar.
Babbel works well as a supplement for your daily Danish learning, and it's good for learning the foundations of the language.
Once you reach an intermediate level of proficiency, you can start to incorporate more outputs.
Inputs will still play the major role, and you should make a conscious effort to read and listen to more difficult Danish resources. This will actually help improve your speaking and writing as you'll have more of the language to work with.
Keep your input practice slightly above your output practice. This will help keep your from experiencing the plateau effect, where you get comfortable in the language and don't really push your skills.
A danish teacher or tutor is an excellent idea at this level. They can provide speaking practice, and their experience in teaching the language will go a long way in helping your development.
Your Danish might not be good enough yet to talk Danish to just anyone, but if you practice with someone who has experience helping language learning you should be fine.
30 minutes a day
Pimlseur is a completely audio based course. It's centered around a call-recall-response method that helps you practice responding in Danish. Pimsleur strikes a great balance between inputs and outputs (it's the only audio course I know of that does this). It's also a great tool for improving your Russian pronunciation.
$6+ per hour (varies between teachers)
30 minute or 1 hour lessons
An intro video from one of Italki's Danish teachers.
Italki is an online market place that connects language learners with language teachers for one-on-one language classes via video or audio chat.
You can connect with language speakers from around the world and practice your speaking skills. Italki is one of the only sites that offers lessons with professional Danish teachers.
*with a purchase of $20 or more. After your first purchased lesson a credit of $10 will be added to your account
At the advance level you should practice a balance of inputs and outputs.
This is the point where you start to feel free in the language and really stretch your legs (sort of speak). Any interaction in Danish will be beneficial for you, insomuch as it challenges you.
What you want at this level more any other is accurate feedback on your skills. Whether you're writing or speaking you want native speakers to point out any mistakes (no matter how small), and give pointers on the best way to express yourself.
Write posts in Danish and post them to Lang-8 to get feedback from native speakers. It's one of the best ways to practice your writing, and it's free! This site is simple to use but very effective.
Speaky is a free online language exchange where you can meet and practice with language learners from over 180 countries. Practice with Danish speakers over video, audio, or text chat. Just remember to help them with their English too!
There is no one right way to learn Danish. What works best for you will be determined by your skill level and learning goals. Hopefully this article gave you the information you need to dive into the Danish language and begin the awesome adventure that is language learning!
I'm definitely an unlikely language learner. I failed Spanish in high school. I started learning German as a hobby while studying abroad. Long story short...and a couple languages later...I love language learning!
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