Belongs to the East
Scandinavian branch of North Germanic languages.
Most Danish words are derived from the Old Norse with new words
formed by compounding. A large percentage of Danish words, however, hails
German (e.g., betale = to pay, måske = maybe).
English have superseded Low
English and Danish are related languages, many words
can be found in both languages . For example: have, over,
under, for, kat. When pronounced, however, these words sound quite different from
equivalents. Besides, the suffix by, meaning "town", occurs in
English placenames, such as Whitby and Selby, as
a remnant of the Viking legacy. Danish pronunciation
English speakers; written forms sometimes do not correspond to modern pronunciation.
In the Middle Ages
Danish lost the old case system,
merged the masculine and feminine genders into one common gender.
Modern Danish has only two cases (nominative
Danish is spoken by more than 5 million people.
Some famous authors include existentialist philosopher Søren
Kierkegaard, prolific fairy tale author Hans Christian Andersen, and
playwright Ludvig Holberg. Three 20th-century Danish authors have
Nobel Prize in Literature: Karl Adolph Gjellerup and Henrik
Pontoppidan (joint recipients in 1917) and Johannes Vilhelm Jensen (awarded
The first translation of the Bible in Danish was published in 1550.
The closest relatives of Danish are the North Germanic languages of
Swedish. Written Danish and
particularly close, though the pronunciation of all three languages differs
to some extent. Still, proficient speakers of any of the three languages can
understand the others. In fact, similarities between the three languages are so
large that international linguists classify them as a single language.
Danish is the official language of Denmark, one of two official languages of
Greenland (the other is Greenlandic), and one of two official languages of
the Faeroes (the other is Faeroese). In addition, there is a small community
of Danish speakers in the portion of Germany bordering Denmark.