Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Det danske sprog... The Danish language

Jeg lærer nye ting hurtigt... jeg arbejder hårdt og jeg studerer meget men 24 måneder siden begyndte jeg min første dansk undervisning og jeg er ikke tilfreds med min fremgang... fordi DANSK ER SVÆRT. punktum.

I learn things really quickly... I work hard and I study often, but 24 months ago I began my first Danish education and I am not satisfied with where I am now in my progress....because DANISH IS HARD. PERIOD.

Så i dags list er af tingene som frustrerer mig (og Ja, alle på listen er om det danske sprog...)
So today´s list is of things that frustrate me (and yes, everything on the list has to do with Danish...)

1. talesprog v. skrivesprog
the spoken language vs. the written (and correct) language

2. 62 dialekter i et land med 5,500,000 mennesker
62 dialects in a country with 5.5 million people

3. jysk
"Jutland" Danish which is its own animal

4. munde som aldrig åben når de taler
mouths that never open when they speak

5. den bogstav "d" og min munds manglende dygtighed for at sige den rigtigt
the letter "d" and my mouth´s inability to say it right

6. MASSER penge jeg betalt i 7 måneder til danske undervisning før jeg flyttede til Danmark fordi jeg lærte så meget om grammatik og ordforråd men ikke hvordan at tale med folk i jylland.

ALL the money I paid for 7 months of Danish lessons before I moved to Denmark because I learned so much grammar and vocabulary, but never how to speak with folks in Jutland.

7. faktum at jeg tager Prøve 3 i november (den sproglige eksamen udlændinger skal bestå for at blive i Danmark) men selv om jeg består, betyder det at jeg kan snakke med hver dansk menneske som jeg møde....

The fact that I will take Prøve 3 in November (the language test that all of us foreigners have to pass to get to stay in Denmark), but although I pass, that does not mean that I will be able to communicate with each Dane I meet....

og tingen som frustrerer mig mere end alle andre...
and the thing that frustrates me more than all the rest....

8. udtrykket "hvad siger du?" næsten hver gange jeg taler dansk i publikum.
the phrase "what did you say?" which is used almost every time I speak Danish in public.

Jeg taler dansk i næsten hver sted jeg går... restaurant, bageri, posthus, butikker, købmand, og benzin station... Jeg prøver ofte men jeg bliver meget frustraende når de "kan ikke forstå" mig. 2 dage siden hos bageri bestilte jeg "seks almendlige rundstykker, tak" og fik det samme svar... "HVAD SIGER DU? " ALVORLIG?!?! 4 ord... 4 almendlige normale ord.....Jeg ønsker at de prøver at forstå mig så meget som jeg prøver at tale dansk...

I speak Danish in just about every place I, bakery, post office, shops, grocery store, and gas station.... I try often, but I get so frustrated when they "cannot understand me". Two days ago at the bakery I ordered "six regular rundstykker (small breads), thank you." and I got the same response... "WHAT DID YOU SAY?" SERIOUSLY?! 4 words... 4 common simple words... I just wish that they tried as hard to understand me as I am trying to speak this language.....

Dansk er lige svært....
Danish is just hard....


kelly said...

You know I have a theory it is the "tak" which throws them off.

They think "hmm, what's a ryndstykkertak?"

Have you tried doing as they do and going "ryndstykker!" until you have the bready goodness in your hand and then make with the toosandtaks?


May said...

It's frustrating learning a new language. I remember the stage you're at now when I was learning German - and yeah, there are still several dialects of Swiss German that I don't understand. If it's any comfort, I seemed to stand still for the longest time and then suddenly leaped forward. It was as if my brain needed some processing time.

I have to admit that Costas gets annoyed with me as well sometimes because I cannot always understand what he's saying when he speaks Danish. I can't speak for the woman working at your baker, but I'm seriously trying. :)

If you'd like some pronounciation help, I'd be happy to help you. I used to teach English and I've taught Costas that elusive soft, Danish "d" (it helps to think of it similar to the English "th" sound).

BABS said...

I am really sorry you are getting the 'we don't understand what you are saying' thing.You've worked harder than most of us to secure the language and this is what you get! It's tough.

I think the problem is that while we are working hard to make ourselves understood and concentrating very hard on listening to make sure we don't miss a single syllable, and sometimes translating stuff in our heads at the same time, the Danes are not in that space.

They are not being intentionally basic, but thing is, they are just not attuned to the level of concentration it would take to 'catch' what we say.

Some Danes, not being in that space where they would have to concentrate really really hard (which takes dedication and practice) may even have a few issues with people who come into their shops and lives speaking in a demanding accent..they may be tired of having to stop what they are doing and give someone their absolute dedicated and full attention.

Danes get a very bad reputation for being really quite rude and ungiving with foreigners, and this rep is true, but the reason for it, the reason we all forget, is while many of us were ready to come here, the Danes are just not prepared for the new people coming here.

Nothing in their culture, in their laws or their education is preparing Danes to give their full attention and respect to a foreigner needing them to concentrate.

It's kind of not their fault and it kind of is their fault.

Many Danes seem utterly unaware of how much effort the 'invandrer' have already put in to be here, to learn the language and to do the danish culture thing, and instead only notice the 'negative' aspects of us being here.

It's a situation that will only remedy from the bottom up. The Danes need to show a willingness to admit people who are more demanding than the normal Danish person, they are going to need to want to listen to us, as we listen to them, to try and understand what it is we are saying, even if that is only 'I would like a loaf of bread'.

I don't know if this is going to happen any time soon, but one thing I see a lot of, is lots of really well meaning immigrants sacrificing huge parts of themselves in an effort to be accepted (understood) in Denmark.

This isn't necessarily a good thing for Denmark, since what the culture needs is to accept their are more cultures than one.

On a more practical note, Kelli, I bet I know what the problem is.

It will be your accent and the style of your delivery.

If you have all the technical stuff sorted and they are still not understanding you, then what you may need to try is finding out the slang, lowering the tone of your conversations, cutting out a great deal of your vocabulary and beginning to talk a bit more sloppily and less, well, beautifully.

Danish, when you get into it, is a coarse and bawdy language. You have to get the attitude too.

Speaking Danish is not about knowing the theory, it is about knowing what is understood and what isn't.

My advice to you would be to enlist the help of Mads. Get him to speak his roughest Danish with you, or get him to imagine he can talk 'low'.

Notice the way the social degenerates talk, they miss bits off their words, it's all slang, but this is the basic language. It all starts from there.

You have to play with it more, 'act' Danish, relax, let standards slip a little, wear it out until it is yours.

No man on the street (or running a bakers) understands foreigners when they speak. It's because we come from somewhere else.

Courage to you, you got gumption. If anyone can conquer Denmark it is you ;)


Paula said...

wow. im surprised that you have been facing these problems. I had no idea. It looked from your blog that you were picking up the language really well considering that you write in it. I think its good that you share these problems openly on your blog- so that someone who sees - hey, look at her writing Danish in her blog and all the effort she makes- but yet see how challenging the environment can be? this has been educational (considering that i dont speak any Danish anymore, i didnt know what it was like for those who do).

Unknown said...

Og du bor i Vest(lig)jylland. Det er som at lære englesk og flytte til Glasgow.

Colin (fra Glasgow via Århus)

Patricia said...

Oh my gosh Kelli, I'm so sorry! Danes are rude! My husband has been here for 6 years now and he still gets that all the time. It's not you, it's us.

June said...

I find speaking vs writing/reading the hardest. One must mentally recondition the pronounciation of english alphabets. I know so many words when I see them, but I dont know how to say them.

I also dont get the accent thing. For such a small country, they surely say Hvad Siger Du a lot even to each other. Some danes dont even wanna try and understand you if you dont speak EXACTLY like them.

Fuzzy said...

Ugh, I hear you! Quite seriously, it's one of the reasons I no longer give a shit. Honestly, I have to commend you for sticking to it, and even going to the trouble of writing both languages.

One of these days I think these people will wake up and start figuring out how to listen to other accents, but for now it's a total novelty, and it's totally off-putting to someones confidence and progress.

Hang in there--you have the spirit and the perseverance that I lack.

DreaminginDanish said...

Right on!

Jesper said...

LOL...sorry I am laughing, but I love your humour!

My biggest frustration here is when I say a word, and I know I use it in the right context...I can even spell it right, but they still dont understand me, because of my danish accent - it is so frustrating, so trust me, Kelli....I do feel your pain, but dont be so hard on yourself. Danish is hard and it will take time and you are doing great.

I know you will do fine on the test too...I have all the confidence in the world when it comes to you... :-)

Anonymous said...

When I took my PD3 in November 2007 I couldn't communicate properly yet in Danish so it's not just you. I don't know why sprogskole here is almost useless in terms that we could pass the test but we couldn't communicate?

However, things would get better I promise you or as the Danes would say "det kommer". Now I hardly have people telling me "hvad siger du" when I speak.

Corinne said...

I hear "Hva sa du?" just as often. It drives me nuts when I'm working so hard to get the pronunciation just right, and no one understands a word from my mouth. But don't worry, you'll get there!

LadyFi said...

Hang in there! It seems to me you have come a long long way in two years. I've been here 12 yrs and people still ask me: What did you say?

Some people are more willing than others to listen.

Also, when I taught EFL, I noticed that once you get to a certain level you feel as if you are on a plateau. This is because everything went quickly before and you could SEE the difference + improvement. Once you get to a certain level, the improvement is there but you just can't see it as easily.

Lisbeth said...

Kelli, maybe this doesn't comfort you but I have a similar (and yet opposite!) problem. Now that we live in Sweden I'm met with a 'Pardon?' when I speak in shops etc. And they then proceed to speak to me in English! I know they can understand Danish - particularly since I 'swedishfy' it - but 1) they don't expect to hear anything but perfect Swedish when they see me, and 2) it would be too embarressing to ask me to repeat if they still wouldn't understand (both you and they would 'lose face').
Well, that's my excuses for the conversation failures anyway :-)

MoMo 2.0 said...

Lady Fi--you are so right. I feel like I am on a plateau! I WANT to learn so much more, but it is like I cannot do it... my brain is already stuffed. LOL.

And May, I will take ANY HELP with pronunciation you can offer!!! Just say the word and I am there!

May said...

Pronouciation help is on its way!

And Babs made some really good points. :)

Thomas Gemal said...

Kelli, what a great blog!! I just stumbled upon it during lunch today, so of course I didn't get much done this afternoon besides devouring many of your posts. Thanks. I can completely relate to many of your posts. I’m born/raised in Denmark (Dragoer), my wife is born/raised in Sweden, and we have lived in the US for 15+ years (and recently 2 years in Sweden). You having a hard time getting understood in Jylland hits close to home. Try getting a “Jyde” to understand my Swedish wife speaking Danish or vice versa. Great comic relief.

But I have to say that your written Danish is fantastic. Especially after only 24 months. Wow. Keep it up.
And keep the posts coming.

(Portland, OR)

Stefiie said...

yoh, long balls