My upcoming Prøve i Dansk 3 oral exam

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This week I have been training for the second part of my “Prøve i Dansk 3” exam.

There are two parts of the exam. The first part is a prepared 2 minute presentation with 3 minutes of follow up questions from the examinator. My presentation topic is: “Danske arbejdspladser og sundhedsordninger”, which translates to “Danish workplaces and healthcare systems”. It is quite a dry topic in my opinion, but I have spent a lot of time reading about it and trying to learn to talk my way around it.

The second part of the exam is where I have 10 seconds to look at an A4 page with pictures  about Danish society, and then briefly describe the pictures before going into a 4 minute discussion about the topic with the examinator. These pictures can be about equality in society, crime and justice systems, the education system, or even something trivial as pets. I have absolutely no way of knowing until when I am in the exam, two days from now. Continue reading

My unintentional Danish language hack

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Although I’ve been living in Denmark for almost two years, and I am married to a Dane, I must make a big effort to practise my Danish language every day. It was reaching the end of a quiet, cosy Saturday where my wife and I had been staying in doing chores and odd jobs around the house and playing with our baby daughter. I realised that I had done the lazy thing and hadn’t practised any Danish at all that day!

Except I had. I just didn’t realise it. Earlier that day my wife asked me if I could go to the shops and buy some groceries for our home, and if I could take the baby with. I decided to stop off at a charity shop and pick up some old clothes that I could use for work (I work with active and carefree small children).

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In real life, my daughter’s thin wispy hair is more than I’ll ever have on my head now

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Results of my Prøve i Dansk 3 Skriftlig test

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The results are in! I have written previously on this blog that I had a bad day on the actual test and I was also thrown off a little by the format. I was hoping for a pass – any pass – and was expecting a very low grade.

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A good luck card from one of the children in the preschool I work at

A few days ago I received an SMS on my phone, alerting me to some new digital mail inside the “e-boks” system that Denmark has. I was at work at the time, but I was allowed to hastily log on and check my mail using the painfully slow computer work computer. Slowly, the screen refreshed itself and I saw my result…

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My Prøve i Dansk 3 Skriftlig experience

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The good news is that I found the exam centre and got there early (using Danish GPS on my phone and following directions from an artificial Danish voice!). I arrived so early that I even went to a local bakery and ordered a coffee an pastry, all in Danish without any problems at all. It felt great!

The bad news is that I found out the hard way that a photo travelcard that contains the same address as my public health insurance card is not valid. I had to hastily speak to the examiners and arrange my passport delivered. This was all done in nervous, broken Danish. But at least I could communicate in my target language! The protip that I have for anyone taking this exam is: always bring your passport.

The actual test was a lot harder than I thought. Continue reading

The blogpost that I should have written a while ago

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It is often the hardest things to do that make the biggest difference. A while back, I wrote a blog post about How I will pass Studieprøven (promptly followed by an embarassing retraction). These blog posts were actually really tough to write, but looking back on it I learned a huge amount while doing the research for them.

Shortly after publishing the studieprøven blog posts, I had said that I was going to be a little more realistic and aim for the Danskuddannelse 3 test. That was sensible enough, but then I did nothing of the sort to really follow up on that.

The real test itself is next Wednesday, and I am again woefully underprepared. I wish that I had written a blog post explaining the format of the Danskuddanelse 3 tests, and maybe even have come up with a plan on how to tackle it.

I just have to be calm and see this whole thing as a process. Learning a language takes a lot of time, but learning how to learn a language takes even longer!

See you guys next week, assuming I survive my reading and writing test in a few days.

Only take notes that you will review

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It is Sunday evening already, and I am hastily writing this blog post because I am adamant about sticking to a regular blogging schedule, even if the quality of the writing really drops.

The big thing that I have been paying attention to this week is… note taking! It is such a popular strategy to help you feel as if you are making progress with a task such as watching tv or listening to a podcast in your target language.

I’ve been reading several articles about the benefits of note taking and specifically the benefits of hand written notes, and I think that it is time and energy well spent as long as you make sure that you also set aside time to review and digest them. Continue reading

You could once, you can again!

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I thought I’d share this advert for the Danish home improvement company, Silvan. The message is pretty simple: “You could once. You can again.” / Du kunne engang. Du kan igen. I guess they are trying to show you that home improvement can be fun and accessible, but the amount of lens flare and slow motion special effects just make for a very amusing minute long advert.

 

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Ja eller ej?

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I’m still trying to find a way of writing this blog that works for me, so I’m experimenting with the format and how I write these posts. The most important thing is that I am consistent with my weekly posting schedule, because at least this way I can improve over time. I’m happy to admit this is a process, and to let go of perfectionism that has held me back in the past.

Here are some of my Danish language observations in the past week whilst I’ve been studying Danish.

…eller ej?

I first came across this mini phrase in a textbook. As far as I can tell, it means ‘…or not’ and is used in a formal sense. I got very confused because it looks a lot like how you write “yes or no” in Danish (“ja eller nej”). I’ve heard it while I was watching the news and at a semi formal meeting at my daughter’s daycare centre. Continue reading

The Duolingo Deception

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I love Duolingo. Really I do.

But when you reach the later intermediate levels in a language, it can become a comfort thing. You get tricked into feeling like you are making progress, but really you could be doing so much more with your time.

Recently when I was playing Duolingo on my phone I found myself thinking “I could be keeping my tree gold, OR I could actively read a book in Danish”

I would consider myself something of a Duolingo evangelist, so these thoughts were blasphemous! I’m still convinced that Duolingo is a brilliant tool, particularly in the early days of learning a language. But once you have completed your Duolingo tree, and regolded it (which takes almost as long as the original tree!) then I think it is a sign to move on. Or in my case, severely cut back how much you use Duolingo.

I have decided to adjust my Duolingo level to a ‘casual’ 10xp per day. My Danish tree will not stay gold for long, and I’m ok with that: the knowledge is still in my head. Right now it is getting back its colour and I am getting more confident with myself as an independent language learner.

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