How long does it take to Master Danish?

Let me start by saying this is a difficult question. If you mean speaking with a fully grown vocabulary and flawless Danish accent, convincing everybody that you are in fact a Dane, well then it will take a long time! It will likely take years, maybe even decades to reach this.

But before you crumble in despair and let all your hopes and dreams fly away, let me explain it a bit further. That level of mastery (that so many dream of) is incredibly difficult to attain in any language. However a more humble level of fluency where you speak with a good accent and solid vocabulary and can have normal conversations is much more doable.

I’d argue that it’s possible for anybody who’s fluent in English to reach this level in Danish in around 6 months if you study in a focussed manner and use good study methods. And if you’re just looking for the first milestone of being able to have simple conversations in Danish, it shouldn’t take you more than 2-3 months.

I know, right ?? !! It might sound impossible, but that’s what I experienced when I studied Spanish – it takes a surprisingly short amount of time reach these levels if you shave away all fat and only focus on the most important parts.

The reason why this is possible is that Danish and English are very similar (both being Germanic languages). Because back about 1000 years ago the Vikings invaded and occupied most of England for a while so a large amount of Danish seeped into the English language (together with a bunch of old German).

As a result of that we have a lot similar vocabulary. For instance ”window” in Danish is ”vindue” and ”man” is ”mand”, not to mention the avalanche of modern vocabulary from English that’s invaded Danish. On top of that our grammar and sentence structures are also very similar. That’s also a part of the reason why most Danish people speak English more or less fluently.

So what if you aren’t fluent in Danish (or German, Swedish, Norwegian, Dutch, Spanish or any of the other Western European languages)? Well, it will definitely take longer, no doubt about that. Maybe a year. It took me a year to get to a conversational level in Japanese where I can speak it somewhat comfortably and understand most of what’s being said, and I wasn’t very fast at that. So even if you’re from East Asia and find Danish to be a very foreign and strange language it should be possible to learn in around a year.

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