I’m proud to reveal that the ‘mystery’ new language I’ve been learning is… Danish!
This language isn’t the only thing that is new… I also tried a more systematic approach to learning a language than I’ve ever done before before. My main language learning resources were:
- A “Teach Yourself Complete Danish” book
- A private (and native) bilingual Danish tutor from italki.com
- A conversational Danish course on memrise
I’ve been learning Danish for 5 weeks, and this weekend I was able to have a short unscripted conversation in Danish with my friend while she has been visiting London. For me, saying my first words in a foreign language with a native speaker is always a really hard process! I’m always really worried that I won’t be understood, or that I’ll look really silly (I found this particularly hard with Mandarin Chinese and Thai). Fortunately, it is a process which I know from experience does get a lot easier!
My Danish friend was very surprised that I had made the effort to speak with a Danish accent and was even more surprised that I was communicating in complete sentences. I was glad that my hard work didn’t go unnoticed and that I also feel a lot more confident if I have to learn a new language from scratch.
From a strict polyglot perspective, learning Danish is also really cool because you get Norwegian and Swedish languages ‘for free’. They are mutually intelligible – so in theory if I get really good at Danish, I’ll be able to communicate with my friend who has been living in Norway for the past 4 years. Mutually intelligible languages are really fun after you’ve put in a lot of work with learning a language. I remember travelling to Thailand’s neighbouring country of Laos and being able to successfully communicate in Lao language by using my Thai language skills.
I’m really enjoying learning Danish. For the record, it’s a lot easier to learn than Thai! I’ll keep you updated with how it’s going on this blog, and I’ll also go into detail with what I’m finding works well for me and what doesn’t.