About learning Danish even though you are older

I like being an old guy at IA Sprog

Five years ago, when Dick moved to Denmark for a new job, he didn’t know much Danish. Dick is originally from London and now works at the utility company Dong Energy.

Knew his teacher from home

After some years in Denmark it dawned on Dick that he ought to learn a bit of Danish to be able to get along more easily in society. It’s a small world, and Dick was fortunate enough to actually know his current Danish teacher, Jette, even before he started, because they live in the same building.

“Jette convinced me that I should just come to class with her,” says Dick, “and I am glad she did. Jette is a good teacher, and I’m happy to finally be starting to learn Danish!”

Not so difficult to move to Denmark

Dick says he never got any real culture shock in Denmark, and after 5 years here he is incredibly well settled in. Of course, there have been things he has had to get used to.

“For example, I’ve had to learn how to ride a bike all over again,” he laughs. “Citizens of Copenhagen ride their bikes really fast, and during peak hours it can get really chaotic in the bike lanes. You really have to keep your eyes open.”

Dick also relates how he still needs to remember that cars run in the opposite side of the road here, and that can be dangerous when you are making a right turn. And then there is, of course, the Danish language. When you have English as your mother tongue, there are many words we have in common, but the pronunciation can be really difficult.

“Especially the silent letters in writing can be difficult to remember. And the glottal stop – the ‘stød’! The very Danish ‘stød’ is pretty difficult to master,” he declares.

I am much older than all my fellow students

Dick is much older than the other students in his class, but he doesn’t mind, and he has never had the feeling that talking to his much younger fellow students was difficult.

“Yes, my fellow students are actually younger than my daughter. But our cultural differences are much greater than the age difference,” says Dick and relates how there are at least 10 different nationalities from all over the world in his class, from England to Syria and China.

Dick is not really very strong in linguistics, he says. He is a mathematician. But here he finds that age helps him. “It is as if you become a more whole individual, when you get older”, he philosophizes. “It is as if you become more aware of various aspects of life, and I think it somehow helps me to a good approach for learning Danish.”