Teach Yourself Danish - Book and 2 Audio CDs
Brand New (still shrink wrapped): 2 CDs plus book
Teach Yourself Danish is the course for anyone who wants to progress quickly from the basics to understanding, speaking and writing Danish with confidence. Although aimed at those with no previous knowledge, it is equally suitable for anyone wishing to brush up existing knowledge for a holiday or business trip. Key structures and vocabulary are introduced in 18 thematic units progressing from introducing yourself and dealing with everyday situations to talking about work and shopping for presents. Teach Yourself Danish follows the journey of George Wilson, a businessman, who travels to Denmark to establish a market there for his products. He has been invited to stay with his friends who live in Copenhagen. The emphasis is on communication throughout with important language structures introduced through dialogues on the accompanying recording. There are plenty of exercises to practise the language as it is introduced and tips throughout to help with grammar. Cultural information sections give useful advice and information for anyone planning a trip to Denmark.
- English-Danish vocabulary
- glossary of grammatical terms
- a 'taking it further' section to direct learners to further sources of real Danish
About the Author Bente Elsworth
Bente Elsworth was born in Randers, Demark. She has lived in England since 1968 and has a degree in Russian from the University of London. She has many years of experience in teaching Danish at the University of East Anglia and this has made her aware of the particular problems that English speakers face when learning Danish. This knowledge forms the basis of the approach adopted in Teach Yourself Danish.
About the Danish Language
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; the language is also used by the 50,000 Danes in the northern parts of Schleswig-Holstein in Germany, where it holds the status of minority language. Danish also holds official status and is a mandatory subject in school in the Danish territories of Greenland and the Faroe Islands, which now enjoy limited autonomy. In Iceland and Faroe Islands, Danish is, alongside English, a compulsory foreign language taught in schools (although it may be substituted by Swedish or Norwegian). In North and South America there are Danish language communities in Argentina, the USA and Canada.
History of Danish
In the 8th century, the common Germanic language of Scandinavia, Proto-Norse, had undergone some changes and evolved into Old Norse. This language began to undergo new changes that did not spread to all of Scandinavia, which resulted in the appearance of two similar dialects, Old West Norse (Norway and Iceland) and Old East Norse (Denmark and Sweden).
Old East Norse is in Sweden called Runic Swedish and in east Denmark Runic Danish, but until the 12th century, the dialect was roughly the same in the two countries. The dialects are called runic due to the fact that the main body of text appears in the runic alphabet. Unlike Proto-Norse, which was written with the Elder Futhark alphabet, Old Norse was written with the Younger Futhark alphabet, which only had 16 letters. Due to the limited number of runes, some runes were used for a range of phonemes, such as the rune for the vowel u which was also used for the vowels o, ø and y, and the rune for i which was also used for e.
A change that separated Old East Norse (Runic Swedish/Danish) from Old West Norse was the change of the diphthong æi (Old West Norse ei) to the monophthong e, as in stæin to sten. This is reflected in runic inscriptions where the older read stain and the later stin. There was also a change of au as in dauðr into ø as in døðr. This change is shown in runic inscriptions as a change from tauþr into tuþr. Moreover, the øy (Old West Norse ey) diphthong changed into ø as well, as in the Old Norse word for "island".
Some famous authors of works in Danish are existential philosopher Søren Kierkegaard, prolific fairy tale author Hans Christian Andersen, and playwright Ludvig Holberg. Three 20th century Danish authors have become Nobel Prize laureates in Literature: Karl Adolph Gjellerup and Henrik Pontoppidan (joint recipients in 1917) and Johannes Vilhelm Jensen (awarded 1944).
Danish was once widely spoken in the northeast counties of England. Many Danish derived words such as gate (gade) for street, still survive in Yorkshire and other parts of eastern England colonized by Danish Vikings. The city of York was once the Danish settlement of Jorvik.
The first printed book in Danish dates from 1495. The first complete translation of the Bible in Danish was published in 1550.
Danish is the national language of Denmark, one of two official languages of Greenland (the other is Greenlandic), and one of two official languages of the Faroes (the other is Faroese). In addition, there is a small community of Danish speakers in Schleswig, the portion of Germany bordering Denmark, where it is an officially recognized regional language, just as German is north of the border. Furthermore, Danish is one of the official languages of the European Union and one of the working languages of the Nordic Council. Under the Nordic Language Convention, citizens of the Nordic countries speaking Danish have the opportunity to use their native language when interacting with official bodies in other Nordic countries without being liable to any interpretation or translation costs.
There is no law stipulating an official language for Denmark, making Danish the de facto language only. The Code of Civil Procedure does, however, lay down Danish as the language of the courts. Since 1997 public authorities have been obliged to observe the official spelling by way of the Orthography Law.