As an expat in Denmark, I have devoted a not insignificant amount of time to learning Danish. Luckily, languages come relatively easy to me, and I definitely benefited from Danish being closely related to my native language, German, so I was done with Danish school relatively quickly. I’ve written more about my experiences with learning Danish here and shared my best tips and helpful resources here.
But of course, everyone struggles now and then, and sometimes I can’t find a word, which means I either try my best Danish pronunciation of the appropriate German word (sometimes works, mostly totally fails!), or I start speaking a weird sort Denglish, which usually does the trick, but I always feel like it makes me sound like an obnoxious douche (“kan vi prøve og sætte en timeline for det her?” - just nope!).
And don’t get me started on grammar! Danish grammar is - again, luckily for me! - very close to German, so I’m often intuitively doing the right thing. But when I started learning Danish, they put me straight into module 4 (you Danish learners will know what that means!), so I had almost no grammar education at all. This means, I have no idea about grammar rules, and sometimes, I want to look something up - and this is where Den Lille (the small one) comes in handy!
Den Lille is a small, but comprehensive guide to the basic essentials of Danish grammar, so it’s perfect to have with you during language class or when doing exercises. What really sets this little book apart from other grammar guides is the elegant and minimalist design. You’ll be searching for Danish flags or stock photos of ethnically diverse language learners, engaged in spirited discussion, in vain!
Here’s a short video introduction from the author of the book, Mika Sun Black:
The book is a slender 60 pages, smaller than an A4 page, and very light, so it’s easy to take along in your bag or purse, and the elegant design won’t immediately “out” you as a language learner if you want to read on the bus or train. I don’t know about you, but those huge, colorful books with comics and animals were always a bit off-putting to me and sort of made me feel like a child!
Inside, the book is just as pretty. The content is displayed neatly in boxes, and everything is kept in black, grey, and hues of blue. The color coding makes it easy to distinguish between the explanation of rules, references to other chapters, examples, and special cases. To the great pleasure of my aesthetic eye, there are no photos, drawings, or comics whatsoever!
As for the content, Den Lille deals with all the basics in a structured manner, starting with word types (nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, pronouns), and moves on to sentence construction, signs, dates and times, and other classics.
The book also has a section on hverdagssprog, colloquial language, which goes through some key words sentences you’ll need in your everyday life. And since the best way to learn Danish is to use it, there are free sound files available for all hverdagssprog words and sentences in the book on this website.
And now it’s your turn - you can win this little gem!
Together with the author, Mika Sun Black, I’m giving away one copy of this little life saver, and all you need to do is post a comment below, sharing your funniest Danish experience, like a misunderstanding, “lost in translation” situation, or that one word you just cannot seem to pronounce correctly. If you share this post on Facebook, that’ll give you an extra entry in the draw!
The giveaway closes next Saturday (16th April) at midnight, and I’ll draw a winner on Sunday. The winner will be contacted by email. (Note: you must live in Denmark to participate)
Good luck - or as we say in Danish: “held og lykke”!
The books for this post and give-away were kindly sponsored by the author and Alfabeta Forlag. All opinions are my own. The book is available through Saxo for DKK 125 (plus shipping).