We all know that Danish can be a tricky language for non-Scandinavians to deal with. For those of us who aren’t eligible for free Danish lessons curtesy of Lærdansk, there are other ways to improve your ‘ø,’ ‘æ’ and ‘å’ pronunciation.
Denmark’s radio stations are peppered with Danish songs to learn and love. Never mind the fact you don’t understand the lyrics, this self-directed exercise is about getting better at throwing your tongue out and rolling your ‘r’ correctly. Think of it as your new party trick; everyone loves the foreigner unashamedly singing along in Danish.
Here’s four Danish songs to help us all out with pronunciation.
‘1000 år,’ Ankerstjerne and Rasmus Seebach.
This song has that commercial beat and emotional piano refrain to give it an urban-but-serious pop vibe. The chorus line is simple to pick up: ‘Jeg vil elske dig om tusind år’ which (probably…maybe?) means ‘I will love you for one thousand years.’ It’s a cute (albeit ambitious) statement sung by earnest-looking men with strong jawlines.
‘Over Målet,’ Nikolaj Nørlund.
As far as I can glean, Nørlund gleefully sings of smiles, dancing, kisses and being at the best party ever. Accompanied by Sigur Rós-ish keys and horns, his melodies are slow and it’s an easy track for picking out phrases and individual words. Listen out for the chorus and watch your heartstrings melt as he sings about ‘full respekt og kaerlighed’ – full respect and love. Nikolaj, you’ve made us all fall in love with you after only 3 minutes and 20 seconds.
This song isn’t on the youtubes (too cool?) but you can listen to it here, as long as you remember to refresh the page every second play.
‘Dum for dig,’ Barbera Moleko.
Barbera Moleko brings us a song all about being stupidly devoted to some douche-bag guy who, in the video, doesn’t want to watch her get her hair done. While this track mightn’t be the most feminist on the airwaves, but Moleko’s Duffy/Adele-esque voice leads a catchy tune that’s easy to approach for those new to learning Danish.
‘København,’ Ulige Numre.
To round off your first Danish music lesson you’ve got to end it with this lovesong dedicated to the capital. A fresh-faced Ulige Numre wanders around the streets singing of Copenhagen’s eyes leading him home. The melody is a bit faster than the other tracks so it may be an idea to read along with the lyrics the first couple of attempts. Before you do, be sure to watch the video full of vintage footage from around the city and you’re sure to fall in love with Copenhagen’s eyes as well.
If you’ve got any suggestions for learning Danish with some super-pop dansk tunes, share the links in the comment section below!