Language in Denmark

The Danish language belongs to the North Germanic language group of the Indo-European language family and is spoken mostly in Denmark.

Origin and history of Danish language

The history of the Danish language in some form is believed go back over one thousand years. The Danish language originated from a Nordic language known as Old East Norse. Since both the Danish and Swedish languages are derived from the Old East Norse line of the Nordic languages, both languages have several similarities. It is said that the spoken form of the Danish language was widely used in Sweden until the end of the 13th century.

From the 8th century to the 12th century, Old English was strongly influenced by the Scandinavian language from which Danish later evolved.

This language was also known as Runic Danish in Denmark in the 13th century. Runic Danish is believed to have existed in the form of inscriptions during the languages early years. In later years, the Nordic languages were strongly influenced by European languages such as German, Italian and French.

A Comparison of Danish, Swedish and Norwegian in modern times

While Norwegian is derived from the Old West Norse line of Nordic languages, Danish and Swedish are derived from the same branch of the Nordic languages, that is, Old East Norse. In modern times all three of the populations who speak these languages can understand and converse with each other. Today, these three languages are considered as the Mainland Scandinavian group of languages.

The basic glossary of all three of these languages is similar, although in some cases Swedish differs from Danish and Norwegian. The Danish language differs most from the other two when looking at the intonation of words. Swedish speakers find spoken Danish difficult to understand while Danes have less trouble understanding spoken Swedish. Danes also have difficulty in distinguishing Swedish from Norwegian.

It has been noted that the Norwegians can understand and converse in both of the other languages, i.e. Swedish and Danish, with much more facility as compared to inter-language communication of Danes or Swedes.

Importance of Communicating in Danish

When expand business and services to Denmark, it is always a good idea to use translation services to communicate with Danish buyers. A few reasons companies choose Denmark as a priority target market when expanding in Europe:

  • Danish consumers are fast adopters
  • Products successful in Denmark will likely succeed in other European countries
  • Translations are recommended, but not a must. Flexible language requirements: some documents may be registered in English
  • Other advantages and communication tips at: Establishing a Business in Denmark


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