Department of Germanic Studies


Danish is one of the Scandinavian languages, a sub-group of the Germanic language, which includes English and German. It is spoken by almost 6 million people, mainly in Denmark, but is also spoken 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 in Greenland and the Faroe Islands, which are autonomous territories within the kingdom of Denmark.

Danish speakers can usually understand Norwegian and Swedish with little or no difficulty, as the three languages are closely related. Knowing Danish will give you access to the unique culture and literature of this North European country. Two of the most famous Danish writers are the fairytale writer Hans Christian Andersen and philosopher Søren Kierkegaard. Other notable Danes include authors such as Henrik Pontoppidan, Isak Dinesen/Karen Blixen, and Peter Høeg; filmmakers such as Lars von Trier and Carl Th. Dreyer; the architect Jørn Utzon; entertainer Victor Borge; actor Viggo Mortensen, and record holding NFL-kicker Morten Andersen.


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