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Mother tongues: the languages we speak

In reply to a question from Yos, Susanne wrote:

In Denmark, people speak Danish as their mother tongue. It is is a Nordic language with an old tradition in Norse, with similarities to German and English and many loan words from Latin. with much resemblance to Swedish, Norwegian and Icelandic. We use the Latin alphabet, too, but with three special characters for ae, oe and aa (that are also found, of course, on our computer keyboards).

Denmark is a small nation with only about 5 million inhabitants, but still there are dialects that are hard for me to understand completely. Our children are motivated to learn English (or, shouyld we say, American) because they are confronted with the language in the media, as many films and TV serials are not voice translated but just with text lines in Danish, just like the computer games would not always come in a special Danish version.

My grandchildren are very young - so they still speak Danish only. Christopher will be three years old at the end of this year, and he still speak in single words, but with a fast learning curve. Nicoline and Cecilie are fourteen months by now, and they can say Vov (like a dog) Muh (like a cow), melk (like milk) and a few other syllables. But I can tell you that my niece Josefine who just started school in grade zero (at the age of six) can count to sixty-five in English, and sing two or three little songs, too.

What about your language stiuation?

21 Oct 2002 Yos replies ...

Dear SUS

Finally I can imagine the way the Danish talk to one another.

Comparing with your country, mine is inhabited by 250 million inhabitants. So many tribes live here peacefully. (However, there are a very few riot spots.)

We have 150 different language. For example, I can speak in 3 different tribal languages, one national language, and can understand passively 2 other tribal languages.

It's too bad that there are very few people who speak English here. That is why my English is not very good. I will try my best in order to master the English language.

For my son, I teach him two languages only: My national language and the English language.

I hope this will improve my abillity to speak English.

Best regards


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Last updated: October 24, 2002