What Language Do They Speak in Denmark?

What Language Do They Speak in Denmark?

Denmark’s primary language is Danish, which plays a crucial role in shaping the country’s cultural identity. Danish is the official language in Denmark and is spoken by the Danish people. It holds great significance in Danish society and is deeply ingrained in everyday life, from education to business and social interactions.

Key Takeaways:

  • Danish is the official language in Denmark.
  • English is widely spoken as a second language in Denmark.
  • Minority languages spoken in Denmark include Faroese, German, and Greenlandic.
  • Danish has a rich history as a North Germanic language.
  • It is one of the official languages of the European Union.

Danish Language: A Closer Look

As the official language of Denmark, Danish is widely spoken throughout the country and holds a significant place in Danish society. It is a North Germanic language, closely related to Swedish and Norwegian, with its own unique dialects.

Danish has a rich history and is deeply rooted in Danish culture. It has been the primary language of the Danish people for centuries, shaping their identity and serving as a symbol of national pride. The Danish language has evolved over time, influenced by various factors such as historical events, neighboring languages, and social changes.

The Danish alphabet consists of 29 letters, including three additional letters, Æ, Ø, and Å, which are not found in the English alphabet. Pronunciation in Danish can be challenging for non-native speakers due to its distinct vowel sounds and subtle nuances. However, with its melodic rhythm and poetic nature, Danish is often considered a beautiful language.

Danish Vowels Pronunciation
A [ɑ]
E [e] or [ɛ]
I [i]
O [o] or [ɔ]
U [u]
Y [y] or [ø]

The Danish language has not only shaped the cultural landscape of Denmark but also plays an important role in everyday life. From education to media, government institutions to business settings, Danish is the primary means of communication for the Danish people. Additionally, Danish is one of the official languages of the European Union, further highlighting its significance at an international level.

As the Danish language continues to evolve and adapt to the changing world, it remains a fundamental part of Danish identity, connecting the Danish people to their heritage and fostering a sense of belonging.

Danish Language

Traveler’s Tip: Common Danish Phrases

When visiting Denmark, it can be helpful to have a basic understanding of the Danish language. Here are a few common phrases to get you started:

  • Tak (thank you)
  • Undskyld (excuse me)
  • Hej (hello)
  • Ja (yes)
  • Nej (no)

“At its core, the Danish language reflects the essence of Danish culture and heritage. Its unique sounds and expressions encapsulate the Danish way of life, making it an essential part of the Danish identity.”

Whether you’re planning a trip to Denmark or simply curious about the language, exploring the Danish language can be a rewarding experience, providing insights into the rich cultural tapestry of this Nordic nation.

Minority Languages in Denmark

In addition to Danish, several minority languages are spoken in Denmark, reflecting the cultural diversity within the country. One of these languages is Faroese, which is primarily spoken by the Faroese population living in the Faroe Islands, an autonomous territory of Denmark. Faroese is a North Germanic language closely related to Icelandic and Norwegian. It has its own distinct grammar and vocabulary.

German is another minority language spoken in Denmark, particularly in the border regions with Germany. Many Danes in these areas have knowledge of German, and it is often taught in schools. German has had a historical influence on Danish, and there are similarities between the two languages.

Greenlandic, or Kalaallisut, is the language spoken by the majority of the population in Greenland, an autonomous territory of Denmark. It belongs to the Eskimo-Aleut language family and has its own unique writing system. Greenlandic is an important part of Greenlandic culture and identity.

Minority Language Region Language Family
Faroese Faroe Islands North Germanic
German Border regions with Germany West Germanic
Greenlandic Greenland Eskimo-Aleut

The presence of these minority languages adds richness to Denmark’s linguistic landscape and reflects the country’s historical and cultural connections with various regions. It’s a testament to Denmark’s commitment to preserving and celebrating its diverse linguistic heritage.

Minority Languages in Denmark

English as a Second Language

English is widely spoken as a second language by a large majority of Danes, making it an essential linguistic skill in Denmark. With about 86% of the population having knowledge of English, it has become a common means of communication in various domains. Whether it’s for business, education, or travel, the ability to speak English opens doors to opportunities both within and outside of Denmark.

Being proficient in English not only facilitates intercultural exchanges but also strengthens Denmark’s position as a global player. In a country known for its high standard of education and innovative industries, English proficiency is highly valued. It allows Danes to access a wealth of information, collaborate with international partners, and engage with a wider audience on a global scale.

Moreover, English language skills play a significant role in Denmark’s tourism sector. As a popular destination for travelers from around the world, the ability to communicate in English ensures a smooth and enjoyable experience for both visitors and locals. Whether it’s navigating the streets, ordering food, or seeking assistance, English serves as a common language that bridges cultural and linguistic gaps.

English language

English Language Proficiency in Denmark

English language proficiency in Denmark is reflected in the education system. English is taught as a mandatory subject in schools from an early age, ensuring that students develop a strong foundation in the language. This commitment to English language education further contributes to the overall proficiency of the population.

English Language Proficiency in Denmark Percentage of Population
Fluent in English Approximately 86%
Proficient in English A significant majority
Basic knowledge of English A vast majority

Considering the widespread use and importance of English in Denmark, it comes as no surprise that the country is known for its high English language proficiency compared to many other non-English speaking nations. This linguistic advantage not only enriches the cultural fabric of Denmark but also enhances the country’s global reputation as a welcoming and inclusive society.

German and Swedish Understanding

A significant number of Danes also have a good understanding of German and Swedish, contributing to linguistic connections with neighboring countries. This is due to the geographical proximity of Denmark to Germany and Sweden, as well as historical and cultural influences. Danish, German, and Swedish all belong to the North Germanic language family, which means they share many similarities in terms of vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation.

Many Danes learn German or Swedish in school, and some may even have family connections or regular contact with speakers of these languages. As a result, they are able to communicate effectively with German and Swedish speakers, fostering linguistic and cultural exchanges.

To illustrate the linguistic connections between Danish, German, and Swedish, consider the following examples:

Danish German Swedish
hus Haus hus
bog Buch bok
vand Wasser vatten

As you can see, many words in Danish, German, and Swedish share similar roots and meanings. This linguistic affinity not only facilitates communication but also fosters cultural understanding and cooperation.

German and Swedish Understanding

In conclusion, the Danish people not only speak Danish but also have a strong understanding of German and Swedish. This linguistic connection strengthens ties with neighboring countries and promotes cross-cultural exchange. Whether it’s for business, travel, or personal relationships, the ability of Danes to communicate in German and Swedish plays a vital role in fostering linguistic and cultural connections.

Historical and Linguistic Significance

Danish, classified as a North Germanic language, has a rich history and is closely related to Swedish and Norwegian. It is one of the three main branches of the Scandinavian languages, which also include Icelandic and Faroese. Originating from Old Norse, Danish has evolved over time, influenced by other languages such as Low German and Middle Low German.

One fascinating aspect of the Danish language is its dialects. Different regions of Denmark have their own unique dialects, each with its own distinctive characteristics. Jutlandic, spoken in the Jutland Peninsula, is the most widespread dialect and is known for its distinct pronunciation and vocabulary. Insular Danish, spoken on the islands of Zealand and Funen, has a softer and more melodic tone. Bornholmian, spoken on the island of Bornholm, has its own distinct dialect features, influenced by Swedish and German.

Dialect Region
Jutlandic Jutland Peninsula
Insular Danish Zealand and Funen
Bornholmian Bornholm

The Danish language has played a significant role in Danish culture and literature. Many acclaimed Danish authors, such as Hans Christian Andersen and Søren Kierkegaard, have contributed to the literary heritage of the language. Danish literature has been influential both within Denmark and internationally, with works translated into numerous languages.

“The Danish language is not only a means of communication but also a reflection of our cultural identity and heritage.” – Danish poet, Naja Marie Aidt

Danish language history

As a North Germanic language with its own unique features and dialects, Danish continues to be an integral part of Danish society. Alongside its neighboring Scandinavian languages, Danish contributes to the linguistic tapestry of the Nordic countries. Whether spoken in Jutland, Zealand, or Bornholm, the Danish language serves as a connection to the country’s rich history and cultural heritage.

Danish Language Education

Danish is taught in schools across Denmark, emphasizing the significance of language education in preserving and promoting Danish culture. The Danish education system places great importance on language learning, with Danish being a core subject for all students. From primary school to high school, students receive thorough instruction in Danish grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation.

Language education in Denmark goes beyond just teaching the Danish language itself. It also aims to foster an understanding and appreciation of Danish literature, history, and culture. Students are exposed to Danish literature classics, such as the works of Hans Christian Andersen and Søren Kierkegaard, allowing them to explore the rich literary heritage of their country.

In addition to classroom instruction, language learning is reinforced through interactive activities, such as language clubs, theater performances, and cultural events. These immersive experiences provide students with opportunities to practice their language skills in real-life situations and develop a deeper connection with the Danish language and culture.

Benefits of Danish Language Education How it Contributes to Danish Culture
  • Preserving the Danish language
  • Enhancing communication skills
  • Promoting cultural understanding
  • Empowering students in their local community
  • Preserves national identity
  • Strengthens cultural heritage
  • Facilitates intergenerational communication
  • Supports the Danish labor market

“Language is the key to understanding a culture. By providing Danish language education, we ensure that future generations have the skills and knowledge to embrace and celebrate our Danish heritage.”

The Danish government actively supports language education initiatives and provides resources to schools and educators. This commitment to language education reflects Denmark’s dedication to preserving its linguistic and cultural heritage while preparing its students to thrive in a multicultural and globalized world.

Danish language education

Achievements and Challenges

Over the years, Danish language education has achieved remarkable success in equipping students with language skills and cultural awareness. With a well-developed curriculum and qualified teachers, students consistently achieve high proficiency levels in Danish.

However, challenges remain, particularly in reaching students from diverse linguistic backgrounds and ensuring equal access to language education. Efforts are being made to address these challenges through inclusive teaching methods, language support programs, and collaborations between schools and community organizations.

Danish in the European Union

Danish holds the status of an official language in the European Union, allowing Danish speakers to participate fully in EU affairs. As one of the 24 official languages of the EU, Danish plays a significant role in facilitating communication and decision-making among member states.

The use of Danish in the European Union is supported by a range of translation and interpretation services to ensure effective communication between Danish-speaking officials and representatives from other member countries. These services help to bridge language barriers and ensure that all voices are heard and understood in the decision-making process.

“The official language status of Danish in the European Union reflects the commitment to linguistic diversity and inclusivity within the EU. It enables Danish citizens to actively engage in European politics and advocate for their country’s interests on a broader, international stage.”

The linguistic diversity within the EU is often regarded as one of its strengths, as it promotes multiculturalism and allows for a more inclusive representation of member countries. The official recognition of Danish as a language of the EU reinforces the importance of language rights and the promotion of linguistic diversity in European institutions.

Official EU languages Number of member states
Danish 1
English 1
German 3
Swedish 1

The table above shows the number of EU member states where each language is spoken as an official language. While Danish is the official language in Denmark, English has become widely used for communication within the EU institutions, alongside other widely spoken languages such as German and Swedish.

Danish in the European Union

In conclusion, Danish’s official language status in the European Union highlights the importance of linguistic diversity and inclusion within the EU. It allows Danish speakers to actively participate in EU affairs, ensuring that their voices are heard in the decision-making process. The EU’s commitment to language rights and diversity strengthens the Union as a whole and fosters a more inclusive and representative European community.


The Danish language is the primary language spoken in Denmark, but the country’s linguistic landscape is diverse and multilingual, reflecting its cultural richness and openness to other languages. Danish, as the official language, is widely spoken by the Danish people, forming an integral part of their cultural identity.

In addition to Danish, several minority languages are also spoken in Denmark. Faroese, German, and Greenlandic are among the languages that contribute to the linguistic diversity of the country. These languages have their own significance in specific regions and communities, preserving unique cultural heritage.

English, as a second language, holds great importance in Denmark. Approximately 86% of the population has knowledge of English, making it widely used in various domains, including education, business, and tourism. Furthermore, many Danes also possess a good understanding of German and Swedish, allowing for effective communication with neighboring countries.

The Danish language has a rich historical and linguistic significance. It belongs to the North Germanic language family and shares close connections with Swedish and Norwegian. Danish dialects, such as Jutlandic, Insular Danish, and Bornholmian, further highlight the linguistic diversity within the Danish language itself.

In educational settings, the teaching of Danish is prioritized to ensure language proficiency among the younger generations. Danish language education is considered essential for fostering cultural identity and effective communication within Danish society.

Denmark’s linguistic landscape extends beyond its borders as well. Danish is one of the official languages of the European Union, reflecting the country’s active participation in EU institutions and its commitment to multilingualism within the European community.

In conclusion, the Danish language is at the core of Danish culture and identity, while the linguistic landscape of Denmark embraces diversity and multilingualism. This linguistic richness contributes to the country’s cultural vibrancy and its ability to connect with the world.


Q: What is the primary language spoken in Denmark?

A: The primary language spoken in Denmark is Danish.

Q: Are there any other languages spoken in Denmark?

A: Yes, several minority languages are also spoken in Denmark, including Faroese, German, and Greenlandic.

Q: How widely is English spoken in Denmark?

A: English is widely spoken as a second language by a large majority of Danes, with about 86% of the population having knowledge of English.

Q: Are German and Swedish commonly understood by Danes?

A: Yes, German and Swedish are also commonly understood by a significant number of Danes.

Q: What is the historical and linguistic significance of the Danish language?

A: Danish has a rich history as a North Germanic language and is closely related to Swedish and Norwegian. It has its own dialects, such as Jutlandic, Insular Danish, and Bornholmian.

Q: Is Danish taught in schools?

A: Yes, Danish is taught in schools and is an important part of the education system in Denmark.

Q: Is Danish an official language of the European Union?

A: Yes, Danish is one of the official languages of the European Union.

Source Links