Why did I start this Danglish Guru thing?
It’s no secret, English is a big deal in DK. It’s a country of two languages. Kids start to learn English from the age of seven in first-grade, and probably before that because English is used so much in Denmark. Children hear it on TV, radio; from their parents and family, in the train, in the restaurant or supermarket.
If you are an English speaker, native or not, you already have an advantage in Denmark. Now, I am not here to help you to cheat or to speak bad Danish. Most, or all of, the English words used in Danish, do have a Danish equal.
It’s okay (det er okay) is a phrase used a lot in Denmark now, but its Danish equivalent is also used a lot: It’s/that’s in order (det er i orden OR helt i orden).
Maybe the older generation in Denmark will call you lazy if you don’t learn proper Danish and rely too much on Danglish. I have to agree, it’s important to learn the Danish expressions. There are many amazing expressions which cannot be translated into English, this makes me crazy when I want to express myself in English as in Danish.
There are also many expressions in English which don’t exist in Danish, and these are sometimes translated. One example is the expression ‘to roll with the punches.’ In Danish you could say, ‘at rulle med slagene,’ but it’s a translation. It’s not exactly Danish, so to say. I picked this up in rap class while learning Østkyst Hustlers song Håbløs.
But Danish and English are blended a lot by the younger generation, some people more than others.
Sometimes it’s practical. The English word has more weight or meaning. Other times it’s just for fun. Especially the English swear words. You may know, they are popular in Denmark because they are not seen to be very harsh. They more like a fun way to use language.
For me, the English swear words have lost their sharpness, which is a little dangerous if I visit England or any other English-speaking countries because in these places, the words ARE sharp. This a perfect example of how language changes and has different meanings in different situations.
In certain parts of Denmark, there is a middle-eastern influence on the language. It’s got a bad reputation with certain Danes. Personally, I like it, it sounds fun to my ears. Someone named it pizza-dansk, because typically you hear it in pizza/fast food places.
It comes down to pronunciation and proper sentence structures. I’m working on my pronunciation, this is possibly the hardest part of the Danish language. How to sound like a Dane. But you and I CAN get there, with persistence and facial exercises (not those kinds of facial exercises, dirty freak!).
As you start to discover more about Danish, you’ll notice how English slips into the language. Especially in business. Certain phrases, job titles or tasks are not translated: such as the term, ‘visual merchandising.’ Musical instruments are another one. Keyboard in Danish is klaver, but it’s fine to say keyboard. Learn klaver too though, just to be on the safe side.
Icing on the Language Cake
The most important thing is to have fun with language. To enjoy what you learn and use it in an effective way to communicate. Language is always evolving. It’s not a static phenomenon. Even in English-speaking countries, the slang words change from one generation to the next, it’s not so important.
Mainly, I’m calling myself The Danglish Guru, because I am working in English and Danish. These are the only two languages I am good with, now at least. I am learning Spanish, but it doesn’t come to me as easily as Danish. Who knows, maybe one day I make a Spanglish Guru page.
Until then, I hope you enjoy my work.
Thanks for reading,