Off topic: Moving to Denmark
Thread poster: Fiona Grace Peterson

Fiona Grace Peterson  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:46
Italian to English
Oct 8, 2011

Hello all,

I am no longer particularly active on Proz, having taken a hiatus from translation (IT>EN) to study for a nursing degree at the University of Bologna. It's a lot of hard work, but extremely stimulating, and I am enjoying contact with people rather than just my computer...!!

I'm currently living in Italy with my (soon-to-be) husband, but we are hoping to move away from Italy once I graduate and have some experience under my belt. And Denmark is looking like the probable destination.

I would love to make contact with other translators or anyone living in Denmark, and would be grateful for any advice anyone could give me... are there any areas of the country you would particularly recommend? WOULD you recommend moving to Denmark and how is the cultural/artistic/social/political scene?

I am hoping to begin learning Danish... how good a grasp of the language would you recommend I have?

Any information at all would be most welcomeicon_smile.gif My mother tongue is English, I'm fluent in Italian and would be willing to help out anyone wanting help in these in exchange for some help in Danish...

Thanks for reading!



MartinPorto  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:46
French to English
+ ...
Brave You! Oct 8, 2011

Hi Fiona
Brave you! moving to Denmark, I am English by birth, of Hungarian decent, I spent most of my adult like out of the UK, over twenty years in France, and three years in Denmark, its a great place, I have many fond memories indeed, but the winters, haarrrggggg! I found them hard to bear! I now live here in Porto, Portugal for the last seven years or so, but still have very fond memories of Denmark, the language is not an easy one! I lived in a couple of places, mainly in the south of Jutland. Great place, Great people, Shitty winters!

Good luck to you!


Fiona Grace Peterson  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:46
Italian to English
Italian summers are worse...! Oct 8, 2011

Thanks Martin, for replying so quickly!!! I am also from the UK, but have spent the last 15 years of my life here in Italy... And it is time for a change. We are considering various Scandinavian countries, but I am fascinated by Denmarkicon_smile.gif

Denmark may have bad winters... but being of part-Nordic descent myself (my parents are from the Shetland Islands, which actually belonged to Denmark many moons ago...), I am tired of spending two months of the year barely able to function as the mercury climbs to 35/40°C, taunting me as it goesicon_wink.gif And Mr Berlusconi's "Go Pussy" (excuse the vulgarity *blush*) joke sums up much of what is wrong with Italy, sadly...

Thank you again for your reply, and keep enjoying Portugal!!icon_smile.gif


Ty Kendall  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 00:46
Hebrew to English
Common thread... Oct 8, 2011 that people seem to be leaving the U.K. and not looking back!icon_smile.gif
Not an unwise decision in most cases!, the winters here seem to be getting worse every year! Over a month of snow last year!icon_frown.gif

As for Danish, ...I often see Polish and Danish as the opposite of each other, whenever I hear one of my Polish friends speaking Polish I ask them if they'd like a vowel to throw in there somewhere inbetween all their tongue defying consonant clusters. Danish seems the opposite (I had a Danish ex once) and I often felt like asking if a consonant would help amongst all the sonorous vowel stream mix that I heard...

....Both languages are quite beautiful in their own way though! I think Danish is probably one of the more challenging Scandanavian languages to learn (along with Finnish) for the average English speaker, the common challenge being pronunciation more than anything else.

Good luck in Denmark!

Very jealous from the cloudy gray U.K. (what's new!)icon_smile.gif


Elzbieta Petlicka  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 16:46
Danish to Polish
+ ...
Good luck in Denmark! Oct 8, 2011

You're not going to have any problems with the weather - being from Shetland Islands should have made you prepared for rain and wind. IMHO the weather in Denmark is actually much better than, for example, in Scotland where I currently live, unless you decide to move far north like Skagen - Skagen is beautiful, but also really cold. I used to live close to Copenhagen for the first time and then in Kolding, Jutland, and I really enjoyed it.

But, as Ty noticed, Danish is really hard when it comes to pronunciation. When I was studying Danish, our tutors didn't let us see what written Danish really looks like for nearly a month. And when we finally started writing, it was like learning a completely different language.

I remember that when I was learning Russian reading was going really slow, because I had to identify the characters first and then combine the sounds altogether and make a word. With Danish is not that bad (the alphabet is still the same after all) but at first it is completely terrifying - you have a string of words and your teacher will be correcting the pronunciation of every second one. On a good note, people in Denmark are really kind, most of them speak English (especially in the cities) and if you try to speak Danish they always compliment you and seem to be amazed, no matter how many mistakes you actually make - and that is so encouraging.

Grammar-wise - Danish is actually similar to English and German. If you know one foreign language you shouldn't have any problems with learning the grammar and vocab (unlike in Finnish, where the grammar is an absolute nightmare!) - it just the pronunciation that is responsible for all the trouble.

I wish you all the best in Denmark. Good luck in learning Danish, it can be really rewarding (speaking from my own experienceicon_smile.gif

Jealous of the Italian sun! Very jealous!


Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:46
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Don't be put off by the language! Oct 9, 2011

Elzbieta Petlicka wrote:

But, as Ty noticed, Danish is really hard when it comes to pronunciation. When I was studying Danish, our tutors didn't let us see what written Danish really looks like for nearly a month. And when we finally started writing, it was like learning a completely different language.

An odd approach! I was going to recommend learning to read it first... which is what I did. You do need to get someone to tell you how to pronounce the consonants at the same time, for instance the soft 'd' with your tongue firmly behind your LOWER front teeth.
Danes can do this from the moment they have their very first teeth icon_smile.gif and it never occurs to most of them that we foreigners struggle with that sound!
It counts as a consonant, whatever it sounds like. icon_biggrin.gif

The spelling is about as 'rational' as English, more or less depending on your dialect, and there are plenty, even in a small population of 5.5 million! That means you CAN actually guess from the spelling how to pronounce the majority of words, once you have learnt the special Danish rules.
I still have to ask the natives now and then, and there are things like the *ough spellings in English, such as *ig and so on.

But from a linguist's point of view it is fun. "Everybody can English" - if not with professional correctness, certainly enough to be friendly and help you on your way. They hear it on TV every day, with Danish subtitles, which are a great help.

You can get a long way by learning to pronounce some standard polite phrases and the things you need in the supermarket! And then keep working at it, but proper classes are necessary if you want to learn the language fast and correctly.

The weather is much like the northern British climate - because the prevailing west wind blows it across the North Sea from there. I can sometimes guess what we are going to get after asking my relatives in the UK...

WELFARE is the big political issue at the moment, but a lot of it is free, i.e. you pay for it through the world's highest taxes. Hospitals concentrate in the big towns and can feel alarmingly far away from the west coast.

Culture tends to concentrate in the big towns, but if you count the largest six, you are never more than a couple of hours' drive away, and there is plenty going on in many other towns too. I live in a backwater in some ways, but only an hour from Århus and Randers. It does not take longer to get to concerts or exhibitions with world-famous names than it does for many Londoners to get to a Prom. Local culture is generally good natured, but can be brilliant or awful or anything in between, depending on your mood and taste - just like the rest of the world.

Housing is less expensive in the smaller towns if you are thinking in terms of children or pets, a garden etc. Right out in the country, housing is cheap, but public transport may be a weak link and cars are expensive to buy and run, but more or less indispensable. Schools and shops may be far away too.

So I would recommend a small town. I like Jutland and know very little about Fyn. Bornholm is lovely, but sometimes feels a little isolated. (About the size of the Isle of Wight, full of glass artists and other fascinating people.) We have some good friends on Sjælland.

I would recommend living within reach of a large town, but not centrally unless you are content with a small flat and really need the convenience.

You might think carefully which side of the Storebælt you want to live. (Copenhagen-Odense or Århus-Jutland-Aalborg?) The ferry and toll bridge are expensive if you need to cross over a lot - but that should not be a primary issue, and although travelling is often expensive, it is generally fast and convenient all over the country.

Enjoy Denmark! I've been here over 30 years.
But if it is any consolation to you, Ty, my son has moved 'back' to England. He is settled for the foreseeable future in the UK.



Elzbieta Petlicka  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 16:46
Danish to Polish
+ ...
Odd approach but might work Oct 9, 2011

I agree that the approach is really odd, but it worked for me! I considered it really helpful not to be bothered by the spelling, which at first glance differs so greatly from the pronunciation, and focus completely on learning how to communicate with people. I, at least, felt less overwhelmed - spoken Danish was overwhelming enoughicon_wink.gif But then - whatever works best for you.

I completely agree with Christine - Danish requires some determination, but it's definitely worth it. Enjoy and have fun with it!


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