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Danish

Danish - European Languages

Danish (deɪnᵻʃ/ (dansk pronounced [d̥anˀsɡ̊]; dansk sprog, [ˈd̥anˀsɡ̊ ˈsb̥ʁɔʊ̯ˀ]) is a North Germanic language spoken by around six million people, principally in Denmark and in the region of Southern Schleswig in northern Germany, where it has minority language status. There are also minor Danish-speaking communities in Norway, Sweden, Spain, the United States, Canada, Brazil and Argentina. Due to immigration and language shift in urban areas, around 15–20% of the population of Greenland speak Danish as their home language. Danish has a very large vowel inventory comprising 27 phonemically distinctive vowels. Its prosody is characterized by the distinctive phenomenon stød, a kind of laryngeal phonation type. Due to the many pronunciation differences that set apart Danish from its neighboring languages, particularly the vowels, difficult prosody and "weakly" pronounced consonants, it is sometimes considered to be a difficult language to learn and understand. There is some evidence that small children are slower to acquire the phonological distinctions of Danish. The grammar is moderately inflective with strong (irregular) and weak (regular) conjugations and inflections. Nouns and demonstrative pronouns distinguish common and neutral gender. As in English, Danish only has remnants of a former case system, particularly in the pronouns, and it has lost all person marking on verbs. Its syntax is V2, with the finite verb always occupying the second slot in the sentence. Danish is a Germanic language of the North Germanic branch. Other names for this group are the Nordic or Scandinavian languages. Along with Swedish, Danish descends from the Eastern dialects of the Old Norse language; Danish and Swedish are also classified as East Scandinavian or East Nordic languages.

 

Danish is the national language of Denmark and one of two official languages of the Faroe Islands (alongside Faroese). Until 2009, it had also been one of two official languages of Greenland (alongside Greenlandic). Danish is widely spoken in Greenland now as lingua franca, and an unknown portion of the native Greenlandic population has Danish as their first language; a large percentage of the native Greenlandic population speak Danish as a second language since its introduction into the education system as a compulsory language in 1928. Danish was an official language in Iceland until 1944, but is today still widely used and is a mandatory subject in school taught as a second foreign language after English. Standard Danish (rigsdansk) is the language based on dialects spoken in and around the capital, Copenhagen. Unlike Swedish and Norwegian, Danish does not have more than one regional speech norm. More than 25% of all Danish speakers live in the metropolitan area of the capital, and most government agencies, institutions, and major businesses keep their main offices in Copenhagen, something that has resulted in a very homogeneous national speech norm.

 

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