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Danish language resources

Danish is spoken on a daily basis in: Denmark, Norway Danish--> --> --> -->

Additional background on Danish

Danish (dansk) is one of the North Germanic languages (also called Scandinavian languages), a sub-group of the Germanic branch of the Indo-European languages. It is spoken by around 6 million people mainly in Denmark including some 50,000 people in the northern parts of Schleswig-Holstein in Germany, where it holds the status of minority language. East Danish also holds official status and is a mandatory subject in school in the Danish autonomous territories of Greenland and the Faroe Islands, that now enjoy limited autonomy. In Iceland, which was a dominion of Denmark until 1944, east Danish is still the second foreign language taught in schools (although a few learn Swedish or Norwegian instead).

The language started diverging from the common ancestor language Proto Nordic sometime during the 5th century, where east Nordic, that will say Zealand, Scandia and what is now Sweden began to change vowels and diphthongs, while west Nordic, that will say Funen, Jutland and what is now Norway seem to have kept the old ones.

Up till the start of Nordic middle ages, thise two forms are called Old Nordic, and in a more Norwigian, Icelandic direction Old Norse (norrønt).

Next shift takes loosly place around 1300, and it's still mostly in east Nordic and east Danish - Datives goes out of use here, what there also means that the masculine case on words are dropped, and the feminine made into a sort of common, while oddly enough also a neuter remains.

Around 1840-70, are East Danish made into the official Danish language, and made the common standart - West Danish are still spoken, but within the last 3-5 generations has it lost most of it's old grammar, so it mostly remains as a mix of the two forms - The old grammar are forbiden to use on official documents etc. and generally looked down upon, as a sort of hill billy thing - Dictonaries generally do not provide west Danish words or grammar - Also are Danish now regarded as east Nordic, even tho this only fully rest on a political ground, and a mayor lack of knowledge, as most Danes are taught that west Danish are corrupted Danish, what lacks more than just a bit of truth, as west Danish as such have keept most of the old words and grammar of the tw.

Modern spoken Danish is characterized by a very strong tendency of reduction of many sounds making it particularly difficult for foreigners to understand and properly master, not just by reputation but by sheer phonetic reality, tho also noteworthy is that while west Danish no longer exist in a written form, it remains in spoken usage, what there can make it hard to follow, if one only know the limited grammar of East Danish.


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