10 (foolproof) tips to improve your listening comprehension in Danish

So you’ve been studying Danish for a while, but you keep having trouble understanding what Danes are saying…Does this sound familiar?

Looking for our Spotify playlists with Danish Christmas songs? Scroll to the bottom. If you want more listening tips, you can safely read the whole article.

Try out these 10 suggested tips based on our experience teaching Danish since 1977. You’ll be guaranteed to improve your listening comprehension. And the best part is: Listening to Danish does more than just improve your comprehension. It also helps you build vocabulary, learn sentence patterns as well as deepen your cultural insight. So let’s get you started.

You’ve probably heard this before: When you learn a foreign language, you need a lot of audio input – preferably more than 10.000 hours. Sure! But who has time for that? And where do you even find input in Danish, that you can stand listening to for such a long time?

In this article we have collected some very realistic ways for you to find more time to listen to Danish.

We have also asked our experienced Danish teachers to give us their suggestions for great listening content in Danish. We will share these tips as soon as we’ve collected them. And that means one tip per week until we’ve got 10 great listening suggestions for you. So be sure to follow us on facebook or LinkedIn to get them all directly in to your newsfeed.

Unexpected ways to get more time to listen to Danish and start improving your listening comprehension fast

You don’t have to sit down for hours in deep concentration in order to get yourself on the right track to better listening habits. There are many different ways of listening to a foreign language, and you can practice each one of them at different times in order to fit them neatly in to the rest of your busy schedule.

Young man practicing his listening comprehension outdoor

For example, you can convert your daily commute in to a Danish listening practice. The daily commute to work has an enormous potential for becoming one of your best daily learning habits. All you have to do is plug in your headphones and listen.

But be patient. Don’t expect all the funny Danish noises to make sense from day one. Building your listening comprehension takes time.

And make sure to vary your listening input, so you don’t get bored or fed up with it. Find a variety of content you enjoy listening to. You can also listen at different speeds as this blogger suggests.

And remember that your daily commute is just one example. There are many pockets of hidden time you can make use of. Why not listen to Danish while jogging in the park or at the gym just to mention a few? Or you can listen while cleaning your home or doing other chores. If you have some tasks at your job, that are pure routine you can even plug in and listen to Danish in the background while working. (Just make sure it’s okay with your boss, colleagues, customers etc.) When you start looking for time slots to listen to Danish, you’ll soon discover that the possibilities are endless. We’ve even heard about a learner who bought himself wireless headset and listened to Danish while sleeping! (He learned very fast.)

Woman practicing her listening comprehension at the gym.

1. Improve your listening comprehension with TV series Nynne

Our first tip is from Danish teacher Bent, who suggests that you watch the Danish TV series Nynne from 2006. The series is a bit like a Danish version of Bridget Jones, and you can get the episodes at a reasonable price from Blockbuster. Or you can search for ‘Nynne serie’ in Youtube to get a sneak peek before you decide. Bent got this tip from his students, and he confirms that watching Nynne will definitely support your learning. It is entertaining and easy to follow. By the way, Bent teaches Danish at our Intensive Danish courses.

If you get hooked on TV series, there are many more. And lots of them are free such as Borgen (fictional story about Danish politics), Rejseholdet (crime series), Nikolaj og Julie (romantic comedy) and Fra baggård til big business (10 short documentaries about epic Danish entrepreneurs).

2. Improve your listening skills with Spotify playlists

Danish teacher Sara explains why you should improve your listening comprehension by listening to songs.

Sara teaches Danish at IA Sprog. She is also a skilled singer and a person who likes and understands music very much. Her tip for you is that you should listen to a lot of Danish music (with Danish lyrics of course!) whenever you get the chance. Sara and her colleagues have put together a unique set of IA Sprog playlists on Spotify with Danish contemporary songs covering topics such as Copenhagen, the four seasons and love!

3. Become a Danish-listening-champ with interesting podcasts!

Danish teacher Lea is putting on headphones and starting to talk about how to improve your listening comprehension in Danish

Lea is a Danish teacher, an avid language learner and a true podcast enthusiast! In fact Lea has created an awesome podcast for you about Assistens Kirkegaard, the historic cemetery in Copenhagen, where Hans Christian Andersen and Søren Kierkegaard are buried. The cemetery is also a favorite spot for hundreds of Copenhageners who love to stroll through the park with a coffee or even take a nap on a blanket in the grass. In this podcast episode you will listen to Lea’s pleasant voice telling you about Assistens with her lovely and understandable Danish pronunciation. But don’t stop there! At IA Sprog we have got many more podcast suggestions for you such as Anders & Anders podcast, Godnathistorier, Her går det godt, Hjernekassen på P1, Radiofortællinger, P1 Dokumentar, Vanvittig Verdenshistorie! Just tune in, listen and enjoy 🙂

4. Get into the habit of watching TV series RITA

Rita is a Danish TV series released in 2012. It’s the story of a Danish schoolteacher and single mom, who doesn’t always play by the rules. Outspoken, independent and politically incorrect, Rita cares more than anything about her students and is adored by them – and not so much by their parents. You can watch Rita on TV2 Play or on Netflix. Rita is fairly easy to follow since Danish is spoken clearly and the language is similar to the Danish you will hear in real life situations.

5. Use the fall break to form a new listening habit

beautiful young woman listening to music in the city autumn

The teachers at IA Sprog have put together a unique set of IA Sprog playlists on Spotify with Danish contemporary songs selected for you. These songs cover topics such as Copenhagen, the four seasons and love! Go ahead and explore this playlist to see if you can find a song about the fall season. (Cheat sheet: ‘Fall season’ in Danish is ‘efterår’!)

6. Hop on a canal and harbour tour!

Listening to podcasts and songs and watching movies are all great strategies to second language acquisition. However you also need to get out in real life and listen to spoken Danish. (And hopefully speak with Danes too!) So here is a tip to get you started ‘learning Danish in the wild’: The city of Copenhagen has a beautiful harbour with many amazing views. Why not try the famous boat trip that takes you around the harbour and canals of Copenhagen. During the tour you will have all of the most interesting historic and contemporary sites explained to you in Danish as well as English, so you can check how much you understand. Enjoy!

Our teacher Camilla is a bit of a cultural expert. She teaches Danish classes and classes about Danish culture. Her recommendation is for advanced learners. It’s a podcast produced by The Library of Copenhagen about the dramatic historical events that have shaped the city of Copenhagen as we know it today. You will find the podcast ‘Bag om København’ here and if you start with this episode about the big fire, that nearly destroyed the whole city 300 years ago, Camilla has prepared a quiz for you to check your understanding of this particular episode. Enjoy!

8. Learn Danish with your favourite Netflix series

Here’s a tip you can use, if you have a Netflix show that you really enjoy. Let’s say you love watching ‘Stanger things’, and you have followed this series for a while. Perhaps you even have a couple of favorite episodes, that you have watched more than once. Now, the cool thing about Netflix is, that it allows you to switch between languages. So all you have to do is cuddle up in you sofa, choose an episode where you already understand the storyline and then switch the spoken language to ‘Danish’. You can decide if you want subtitles in Danish or English depending on how comfortable you are and how much you understand. That’s it. Just relax, listen and learn!

9. Listen to Danish while cooking

If you’re carrying around a smart phone most of the time anyway, why not use it to combine two essential life skills: Cooking and learning Danish! We suggest you try out Valdemarsro on Youtube. It’s a great Danish cooking channel with free videos and recipes for tons of yummy contemporary cooking. It has a good balance of Danish food and foods from the world. Valdemarsro is run by Ann-Christine Hellerup Brandt, and she is a very inspiring cook. But one of the things we love most about her is that she speaks nice and slowly, so you should have a fair chance of understanding most of what she says. And what’s more: All the recipes are included too, so you can read along if listening gets too hard. Bon appétit!

10. Get our Christmas playlist

Warm up for Christmas with Danish Christmas songs curated for you by the teachers at IA Sprog.

Do you want more listening tips?

Be sure to follow IA Sprog on facebook or LinkedIn to get all our suggestions. We will publish them as soon as we have collected them for you. One per week for 10 weeks over the course of September, October and November 2019.