Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A Danish Victory

Lord knows I have written plenty of blogs about my struggles with the Danish language... So I figured that when I experience some success, I MUST document it!  Maybe one day the successes will outnumber the ummm, failures/struggles/frustrations....I mean, the OPPORTUNITIES. :-)

So yesterday I had TWO of these such with my written Danish and one with the spoken.

Situation #1:
I have been trying... REALLY speak Danish AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE at work. In fact, other than the actual teaching I do på engelsk, I speak WAY more Danish than English at work. However, our school is pretty big so I don't interact with everyone on a daily basis. Yesterday I went in to see our librarian about a book I needed. She and I have talked quite a bit in the past...usually her på dansk and me answering på engelsk, but we have hardly seen each other at all the last couple of months. However yesterday, I walked in, started rattling off what I needed, she inquired a bit more about what I needed, I rattled off some more and she found the answers I needed. Then she stopped all of a sudden and exclaimed..
    "Oh my, I just realized we were speaking in Danish. When on earth did you start speaking so much Danish?" So I grinned, apologized if maybe she had not understood something or if it was wrong and then to answer her question about when I started speaking it so much, I merely said, "Jeg prøver (I'm trying)!" and her reply was that it sounded great... she was SO encouraging and was so complimentary of my TALESPROG and said it was COMPLETELY understandable! So I walked back to my office about 2 feet above the ground.

Situation #2:
I have a Danish friend with whom I work in the International Society, but since the Society focuses on speaking English in order for all the newcomers to feel at ease, she and I always speak English together. However today I needed to update her on a few things before I would see her later that day. So I opened up my Gmail, clicked on her name and started writing the email. Next thing I know, I have a reply from her that started with this sentence: "Waw – er du i gang med at træne dit dansk?" meaning "Are you in process of training your Danish?" And then the rest of her email to me was på dansk.  

I realized then that I had written my email to her på dansk...never even realizing it!  So then when I saw her at our meeting later that afternoon, she started speaking to me på dansk... "Since your email was so good, I figured it was time to switch."  Again, walked to my car a few feet above the ground.

Yep, they are small victories, but they are victories.
Mads and I are speaking Danish at least 50%...actually maybe more... of the time at home and I am feeling more and more comfortable with my spoken language. I just hope I don't encounter any "HVAD SIGER DU?" this week!  A whole week without one of those would be GREAT! 


Visa Lottery said...

Wow thats good!!! Even am planning to learn Spanish Language i hope your words and experience are my insipiration. Can you provide me some tips to learn international LAnguage which you came through your experience.

Jon said...

That is so awesome! I have daydreams of living my last years in Norway or Iceland and being able to integrate into the cultures. Your post gives me hope that it is possible!

Skogkjerring said...

That is great Kelli! After awhile you will be switching between languages without even realizing it!! Here at home we never use just one language, we go between Norwegian and English because some things just feel easier to say in one or the other language!

It's really fun when your language skills are appreciated by natives...I never feel I speak exactly like they do, but that they understand me is what is important and that I understand them!! Plus they usually think it's charming how I speak, which is probably how the Danes look at your language skills also! So don't apologize!! You are trying and that is the most important thing!! :-))

Anonymous said...

Hurray for mastering the language instead of it mastering you!

Annemette Kuhlmann said...

Super sejt, Kelli!
Jeg synes at det lyder som et par helt fantastiske sejre!!
Jeg håber at du kan bibeholde følelsen af at svæve rundt, et par fod over jorden - længe endnu......
Godt og FLOT klaret.....det har garanteret ikke været uden hårdt arbejde!