The Danes are pretty good at English. English and German. A bit of Swedish. Definitely not French 🙂 They read a lot of novels and non-fiction in English. With only 5 million inhabitants, you can imagine that the Danish book market is pretty small. So the Danish translation of a book can be expensive and a long time coming. If indeed, it is ever translated at all. And if you’re studying at university (medicine, for example) most of your textbooks will be in English. Foreign television programmes and films in the cinema aren’t dubbed here, they’re subtitled. You’ll sometimes see kids’ cartoons on the telly where the characters are speaking English – without subtitles or dubbing! So, yes, the Danes are good at understanding English.
When they speak English, it’s usually with an American accent. Thanks, no doubt, to all those US telly programmes and Hollywood films…
I sometimes get a giggle, though, when Danes try to pronounce English words that start with W and V. Because in Danish the letter W is pronounced as V. So when they speak English, they can get confused. Village turns into willage. Wellness into vellness. Whisky into visky. [On a side note, when I first arrived in Denmark in 1998, all surnames beginning with either V or W were lumped together in the Danish phonebook.] One of the first things DH remembers learning at school was the exciting phrase “Very well, Vivian” 😉
But my favourite is when DS10 and his friends are talking about Star Wars [Which, on another side note, we L.O.V.E. in this house]. Just who is Luke’s father? Darth Wader! Yep, imagine big old Lord Vader walking around in fishing waders… He suddenly seems a lot less scary, n’est-ce pas?
vonderful Vednesday wonderful Wednesday – may the force be vith with you! 🙂