Pas På: Tips and Resources for Beginners Learning Danish

I am not a Danish teacher, I am a beginning Danish student. I’ve studied a number of languages in my distant past, but things are very different now: I have technology!

Whether it’s connecting with teachers and other students on Zoom, learning vocabulary on my smartphone, or using Google Translate to quickly check a word, technology is making this a whole lot easier.

As an instructional designer and the owner of 3 Choices Creative Communications, I use multimedia to help convey concepts for adult learners. I’m using those same tools to develop study aids for myself that incorporate original illustrations and video.

These might be useful to other students, so I’ll share them here as they become available.

This is my first Danish learning video. I was trying to figure out the differences between “some” and “any.”

The following PDF addresses the same words used completely differently.

This graphical handout (1 page PDF) addresses “someone” and “something.” Danish also uses the words in the video above as pronouns, rather than modifiers — and they mean something completely different! My drawings help me remember the difference between nogen, or someone, and noget, or something.

Resources for Learning Danish

Over the past 6 years, I’ve attempted to learn Danish in a number of ways, listening to old-fashioned cassettes in my car, studying books while sitting on the toilet, reading children’s books, and using the Duolingo app on my phone to memorize and practice vocabulary. I also eavesdrop on Danish phone conversations and watch Danish TV and movies.

My learning didn’t take off until the pandemic, when I discovered online classes through the Northwest Danish Center in Seattle. Danish has a lot of sounds that are not in any language I’ve studied previously, and I couldn’t distinguish between them. But the NWDC teacher, Melissa Lucas, has a background in linguistics, which means she can actually explain how the sounds are formed. She is also very warm and encouraging about learning the language. As a result, I’ve overcome a lot of the fear and anxiety that hampered my early practice! If you’re looking for a great teacher, check out her website.