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Dette er en pisse dårlig måde at forstå et sprog, men det er alt hvad jeg har fået
July 17, 2012 8:41 PM   Subscribe

Momo and Andrew realized that no one else could pronounce Danish either and finally did something about it.

Mere
posted by twoleftfeet (31 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite

 
Hacking has jumped the shark.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 8:48 PM on July 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


Day-nish.

I don't see what everybody's problem is.

Wait. Those signs mean something? I thought they just liked typefaces, and were decoration, like in Wales.

I kid, I kid. These lights are helpful, actually. Syllable and inflection breakpoints are hard to spot.
posted by chambers at 8:56 PM on July 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


This reminds me of when that guy did that dance remix of Sandi Toksvig pronouncing the name of that Icelandic volcano.
posted by Diablevert at 9:06 PM on July 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Perhaps this is the solution to the Danish language crisis.
posted by moonmilk at 9:14 PM on July 17, 2012 [5 favorites]


Danish: the only language where one elides syllables from words at random.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 9:27 PM on July 17, 2012 [4 favorites]


That would be soooo helpful for a lot of languages I think, especially tonal languages like Viet.
posted by smoke at 9:35 PM on July 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Sure, do something interesting and fun. Damn kids.
posted by facetious at 9:57 PM on July 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Danish: the only language where one elides syllables from words at random.

Russian too. For instance, the word for "please" is pronounced "pə-zhal-sta". Since it was going to show up on our spelling test, I also had to memorize "po-zha-loo-i-sta", which is how it was spelled.

As for Danish, I thought they were just going to stick a bushel of potatoes at each street sign.
posted by benito.strauss at 9:59 PM on July 17, 2012


I don't quite get it -- is the thesis here that native Danes can't pronounce their own street names?
posted by eugenen at 10:08 PM on July 17, 2012


is the thesis here that native Danes can't pronounce their own street names?

Maybe not, as the rød grød med fløde evidence seems to suggest, at least regarding the intersection of squirrels and refrigerators.
posted by twoleftfeet at 10:18 PM on July 17, 2012


When I lived in Eastern Europe our cable television consisted of whatever the "provider" could steal off of a satellite before being caught. We watched Danish channels a lot and my daughters became very adept at imitating the language. It is easy to imitate in a fake way and nearly impossible to imitate using the real words.

Nice installation.
posted by Isadorady at 10:20 PM on July 17, 2012


Here's a site about strange Danish dialects. It's in Danish, but you just click on the dots and you can hear some strange Danish.

Danish has a wide variety of dialects for a country its size, which makes for an amusing and confusing language experience.
posted by twoleftfeet at 10:40 PM on July 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


No, the thesis is that Danish is extremely hard to learn to pronounce. A lot of this does have to do with glottal stops, contracted vowel sounds, and labile consonant sounds ('r' and 'd', especially).

I learned Danish by immersion when I lived there in '95 and '96 and spent a long first few months trying to get the basic pronunciation right. It took a very, very long time.

I imagine that if I were like these two students, studying in Copenhagen through a program taught in English, I wouldn't put the time or effort into learning the language either. But if they really wanted to make their lives in Denmark easier, they'd be much better off learning how to pronounce words rather than programming an Arduino and modifying street signs that the locals have no problems understanding visually or orally.
posted by yellowcandy at 11:37 PM on July 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


As a native Dane, I do pity foreignes trying to pick up Danish because Danes don't get how difficult it is to pronounce Danish, and so they get incredibly precious about every little pronunciation flaw. I've heard Danes patronise highly-educated foreigners because it is inconceivable that the foreigner cannot tell the difference between ræv and røv - let alone be unable to say the two words correctly.

These are the Danes I let loose in Glasgow to ask for directions: Milngavie, eh? *cackle*

(FYI: ræv = fox; røv = butt)
posted by kariebookish at 1:50 AM on July 18, 2012 [7 favorites]


eugenen: I don't quite get it -- is the thesis here that native Danes can't pronounce their own street names?

No. None of the people asked to pronounce street names at the beginning of the video are native speakers. I liked the video, but it would have been more instructive if they had included the correct pronunciation as well.

IIRC, a study some years back showed that Danish babies on average were the last to start speaking in Europe (though they caught up, once they got the hang of it). I believe this was thought to be an effect of another peculiarity of Danish (apart from our disassociation between spelling and pronunciation which would not bother babies) namely that it is very difficult to tokenize: we do not have clear pauses between words as most other languages do.
posted by bouvin at 2:30 AM on July 18, 2012


we do not have clear pauses between words as most other languages do.

And I thought it was the beer...
posted by Skeptic at 3:02 AM on July 18, 2012


clear pauses between words as most other languages do.

Me: My wife's car.
Foreign Listener: Your wife, Scar?
posted by 1adam12 at 3:17 AM on July 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Danish: the only language where one elides syllables from words at random.

It's wednesday today
posted by dng at 3:26 AM on July 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


Going to live in Denmark a few years ago, I thought to myself "My swedish is pretty good, I should be able to pick up Danish pretty quickly." Oh, how wrong I was. Like the old saying, swedish, norwegian and danish are the same language, but the norwegians don't know how to spell it and the danish don't know how to pronounce it.
posted by conifer at 4:04 AM on July 18, 2012 [6 favorites]


I found that Danish has a big gap between the spelling and the pronunciation. That doesn't necessarily mean 'hard to pronounce' though. Could/can I do it well? Probably not, particularly not anymore, three years after having taken Danish, but I had way more confidence the words coming out of my mouth would be understood in Danish than in French. (I have a serious hangup about French, but, still, talk about pronunciation rules that exist, might even apply consistently and are as clear as mud.)

I took Danish my first year of grad school pretty much for the hell of it. A good 2/3 of the class had some level of German knowledge, which was something I don't think had crossed the teacher's mind when he had taken a job in the US. The funniest bits where during the first semester when he would tell half the class off in German for making Danish too German and the other half the class weren't sure if he was speaking Danish or German.
posted by hoyland at 6:27 AM on July 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Momo is my friend's girlfriend! She also did Silenc, a tangible visualization of silent letters in Danish, English and French.
posted by azarbayejani at 6:41 AM on July 18, 2012


Danish: the only language where one elides syllables from words at random.
See also: French.
posted by acb at 6:49 AM on July 18, 2012


Huh, I just finished watching Forbrydelsen, and of course I don't speak a word of Danish so it was all subtitled (courtesy of the BBC). It was really confusing see the name of a person on the screen and not being able to match it up to what I heard. This makes a little more sense now. (Fortunately in season one, the main characters were named Lund and Meyer. Season two added a character named Strange, which is not pronounced at all like Strange.)
posted by desjardins at 7:28 AM on July 18, 2012


> She also did Silenc, a tangible visualization of silent letters in Danish, English and French.

For someone who pays so much attention to printed text, she sure didn't bother to edit hers. Even with words only hanging around for a few seconds, I kept seeing misspellings like "pronounciation." (Also, while I'm complaining, that first video, with the street signs, was very cool, but should have been a quarter the length. Ah, artsiness!)
posted by languagehat at 7:29 AM on July 18, 2012


I've just come off the back of watching both seasons of Forbrydelsen, and Broen (The Bridge), back to back. It's just nice to see some live Danes in the sunshine, to be honest.




Tak.
posted by cromagnon at 10:03 AM on July 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yellowcandy, you're right in terms of how studying Danish pronunciation would improve their quality of life. That being said, they are in Copenhagen studying interaction design, and this is a fun and really quite brilliant way of designing a solution that benefits others based on their own experience and what they have learned in school. I'd look at it as "homework for school" as much as anything else. I wish they'd put more into the video about their process for coming up with this idea and its iterations because the video, for me anyway, is more about the design than the Danish.
posted by emkelley at 10:07 AM on July 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


> rød grød med fløde

We spent so much time on that in my Danish classes. So. Much. Time. And I could never get it right. Or maybe I did and just couldn't tell.
posted by The corpse in the library at 3:33 PM on July 18, 2012


I had a weird Danish moment watching Broen, I had been doing my best to listen and match subtitles to spoken words, when at some point someone asks the question "Us too?" in the subtitles, and simultaneously the character asked what sounded very much like "Us too?" It was jarring.
posted by ltracey at 7:14 PM on July 18, 2012


How does Broen compare with Forbrydelsen? Forbrydelsen was like crack for me; I think I watched both seasons in about a week.
posted by desjardins at 8:24 PM on July 18, 2012


The corpse in the library:

> rød grød med fløde

We spent so much time on that in my Danish classes. So. Much. Time. And I could never get it right. Or maybe I did and just couldn't tell.


And that is not even the hard one, though it certainly is the most well-known one. Try "Røget havørred på rugbrød" (smoked trout on rye bread).
posted by bouvin at 1:51 AM on July 19, 2012


I would like to try røget havørred på rugbrød. I wonder if there's a Danish restaurant in NYC.
posted by moonmilk at 10:49 AM on July 19, 2012


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