Please speak Danish!

You and your colleague are standing by the coffee machine. She plucks up the courage to say ”hvo’dan gå det?” (“How are you doing?”) in broken Danish…and you immediately switch to English to make it easier for her (and for yourself).

But there are several good reasons why you should instead take a deep breath and reply (slowly) in Danish: 

  • You train your ear for language usage when you hear Danish spoken in a range of different ways.
  • You provide your colleague with the encouragement she needs to speak Danish in other circumstances.
  • You become more aware of your own use of language when you have to find a way of expressing yourself more simply – and who would not, in all honesty, benefit from expressing themselves more simply from time to time?

As language instructors at MASTER-LING, we often find that our course participants do not get the opportunity to practise their Danish because Danes switch to English when they encounter someone who is struggling to express themselves in the Danish language.

This is, of course, done with the best of intentions, but in the long run it is clearly better for both you and your colleague if you speak Danish together (even if you just start with the usual polite phrases).

So please speak Danish, won’t you?