This month I’ve been taking it easy and tried to push my reflective, negative thoughts aside (nearly impossible, I know) and have been focussing on my Danish language progress, or lack of it. It is hard to join a ‘club’ with Danish people when you are mostly only interested in computer games, computers in general and I.T. technology. Cycling isn’t exactly sociable either (though my bike is still gathering dust right now and I’m convinced it hates the snowy weather too).
I have to admit – self study is extremely hard and I’m not sure I’m doing well, quickly enough. However, I have found picking my own form/topics of study makes it more interesting to learn.
The books I am currently working from are from Alfabeta, and are called ‘at arbejde’ (all about the job market and types of work etc) and ‘puls 3’ (which covers Danish art, culture, equality, work, happiness and the environment). ‘Puls 3’ is by far the more interesting of the 2 and comes with 2 cd’s (student and teacher versions).
There are a few things I’ve learnt this month and I thought I’d share a few interesting topics to help those wanting/needing to learn Danish. I have watched the 2 top TV series here in DK – Forbrydelsen and Borgen. Both were amazing and I was hooked! I have now stumbled on the actor Mads Mikkelsen. He was actually in the James Bond film – Casino Royale. He is also in 2 other notable Danish films, called: The Green Butchers (de grønne slagtere) and Flickering Lights (blinkende lygter). I watched the former one with bewilderment – it is unusual but also strangely funny. I still need the English subtitles for these films but they are good practice for listening to Danish, while being entertained…
I also discovered that the film ‘Out of Africa’ was based on memoirs of a Danish author – Karen Blixen (aka Isak Dinesen). I’m going to see if I can get this film with Danish/English subs. It’s not my usual type of film but it would be interesting to have an idea of Karen’s life – it sounds more interesting than my own! 🙂
There is also a Danish film director/Screenwriter, called Lars von Trier. He has directed many films, including: ‘Dancer in the Dark’ and ‘Antichrist’. I’ll have to write a review on these, once I’ve watched them, but am hoping that they also both have English/Danish subs.
I do find that watching Danish films/series helps with the listening practice, though they do talk very fast sometimes and the subs are not always accurate – which I’ve noticed, so that can’t be a bad thing. The Danes don’t generally dub films and there are a few films mentioned here which are filmed in English, but reading the Danish subs is also good practice.
Music is also of my favourite ways of trying to learn a language. The only problem is – good Danish music is hard to find. I do like Medina and have listened a lot to her ‘For Altid’ album and most of it is quite good. There is also a band mentioned in my study book, called ‘Gasolin’. The CD I have plays their song ‘Kvinde min’, which is a little old and dated but still easy to sing along to and learn the lyrics. I’ve also seen both ‘Carpark North’ and ‘Kashmir’ – but they sing in English, so that doesn’t help much, but they are Danish musicians and worth listening to.
‘Olsenbanden’ is a film series I’ve stumbled on, but I’m not sure that’s going to be easy to get hold of with subs, as it’s a little dated and probably not going to keep me entertained (due to it’s genre). However, it may be worth looking up – it’s a comedy/criminal series which dates back to the 1970’s.
There are also a few poets I’ve come to hear about while studying this month. The first is called Piet Hein, who has been noted for his short poems, called ‘Gruks’ (he’s also known as a scientist, mathematician and designer). The Gruk I read was called: ‘Fluen’ and I found it understandable, which is a good sign… He has also drawn a few pictures, including the one at the bottom of this blog. His poetry work started in the 1940’s while under Nazi occupation and they are ironic and a little satiric.
Tovle Ditlesen has also written a lot of stuff, including ‘Pigesind’, a collection of poems. I’ve only read a few but they are not too tricky to try and understand… She is probably not as well known as Piet Hein, but she is remembered for having an unhappy life and decided to take it years later 😦 I’m not usually into poetry, but it is easy to try and translate short pieces of text rather than pages of it…
Well, hopefully a little of this info may be useful to others, struggling as I am with the language progress. Every bit helps, and maybe others can share their methods here too…