10 good reasons to learn a Scandinavian language
There’s no question that English is the best way to get around in Scandinavia. Almost all Danes and Swedes, Norwegians, Finns¹, Icelanders and Faroese speak English. Often fluently, but at least well enough for a short conversation – for asking the way or ordering something in a café, for example. And if, contrary to expectations, you are not understood, you can often get on with German.
For all lovers of the North who are still lacking the last kick of motivation to learn a Scandinavian language, we have put together 10 good reasons here:
The mainland Scandinavian languages Danish, Norwegian and Swedish are closely related to German – a clear advantage when it comes to learning vocabulary and grammar! In addition, the three languages are also very similar to each other. This means that anyone who has learned Danish, Norwegian or Swedish will already understand quite a lot of the other two.
Those who can read the menu in the local language have a clear advantage, because Swedish surströmming or Icelandic Hákarl are certainly not to everyone’s taste.
Or those who want to become one: People in the north may be taciturn, but the following still applies: If you want to live with them, you have to be able to talk to them. This improves job opportunities, makes it easier to establish contacts and promotes integration into the local community.
If you can greet your business partners in their native language, thank them for a gift or congratulate them on their birthday, you signal interest and appreciation. This lightens the mood and is an ideal way to start a business conversation.
Suspense in the original – finally no longer have to wait for the German translation of your favorite author! From now on there is Arne Dahl in Swedish and Jussi Adler Olsen in Danish, Arnaldur Indriðason in Icelandic and Anne Holt in Norwegian.
„The Nobel Prize in Literature goes to …“: Literature fans with a knowledge of Swedish are ahead of the game, because they understand, the Nobel Prize Committee’s reasoning for awarding the Nobel Prize before anyone else.
Unconventional directors, gripping series and films that get under your skin – many innovative film and television projects come from the North. If you want to train your vocabulary, watch the films of Lars von Trier and Aki Kaurismäki or series like Borgen and Commissioner Lund in the original.
Why is the children’s stool called Försiktig and the pendant lamp Brasa? What does the pedal bin Strapats and the cabinet combination Bestå promise? If you speak Swedish, you’ll understand Ikea’s product names and perhaps trust the powers of the Hjälte snow whisk the next time your mother-in-law visits.
The next eruption is sure to come! Iceland is always making headlines with volcanic eruptions. Anyone who speaks Icelandic can pronounce all of the Icelandic tongue-twister volcanoes flawlessly and can be sure of the admiration of his or her friends.
Maybe you have a very personal reason why you want to learn Danish or take Norwegian lessons, why you want to take a Swedish course or learn Finnish, Icelandic or even Faroese. We are excited to get to know you and find the right course for you!
¹ No, Finnish is not a Scandinavian language, of course. We include it here anyway because there are close political, historical and cultural ties between Finland and the other Scandinavian countries and our offer includes Finnish courses.