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  #181  
Old 10-26-2006, 01:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LadyK
She learned Danish, a notoriously hard language to learn (Prince Henrik still hasn't mastered it),.... But most importantly- After a couple of years of marriage, she and CP Frederik are still as happy and in love as they were when they got married.
Unlike Prince Henrik, Mary didn't have a heavy French accent to start with and, as a French speaker myself, I'm afraid that our accent (whether international from France or local like mine) is there to stay in any other language we speak no matter how hard we try to get rid of it. Like a big greasy stain!
My point: can we just stop putting down Henri with the accent thing - as far as I can see he can manage to live by, understand what people tell him, even engage in conversations and makes the Queen happy, like Mary makes his son happy!
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  #182  
Old 10-26-2006, 02:08 PM
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Sorry, I didn't mean to put him down. I just meant to give an example of how hard it is to learn. Mary has picked it up really quickly.
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  #183  
Old 10-27-2006, 04:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LadyK
She learned Danish, a notoriously hard language to learn (Prince Henrik still hasn't mastered it)
I have no problem with Mary BUT a huge problem with this statement that constantly does the rounds. Danish is not a notoriously hard language to learn, it's a European language using the latin alphabet, for a native English speaker it's not that difficult to learn. Prince Henrik speaks reasonable Danish, but he has a very strong French accent and that's what he's criticised for. Mary didn't learn Danish really quickly, she admitted herself that she's struggled with learning it as she had not learnt another language before. She also had some fairly intense Danish language training, something the 'people in charge' at the palace put into place as they learned with their mistakes when Henrik married into the DRF. Henrik was spoken to in French by everyone and was very slow to learn Danish, with first Alexandra and then Mary, it was intense Danish language lessons and being spoken to in Danish as quickly as possible.

Both Mary and Henrik recently have been given a hard time by a Danish tabloid which ran a poll asking their readers to vote on who speaks the worst Danish, Henrik or Mary.
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  #184  
Old 10-27-2006, 04:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charlotte1
Danish is not a notoriously hard language to learn, it's a European language using the latin alphabet, for a native English speaker it's not that difficult to learn.
Heck, I'm a German who has no problems understanding Dutch, Alsacien and even Letzebuergisch but I have no idea what people are talking about when I watch a Danish video. Absolutely no idea. And it is true that Danish is related to German, the related wordroots are there, I can recognize them when I see Danish in print, but the language is so difficult to get a grip on. My late husband who was an actor was able to imitate the sound of Danish and once he tried to teach me, but I said jokingly, sorry, this is not a language, this is some sort of disease of the throat. Which it isn't, of course, but it is difficult and I'm someone who has had no problems learning English, French, Latin, Italian, Spanish and Dutch...

So however bad Mary might master (or not) Danish, I can understand it and support her in her endeavour, even if she fails.
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  #185  
Old 10-27-2006, 05:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jo of Palatine
... but I said jokingly, sorry, this is not a language, this is some sort of disease of the throat. Which it isn't, of course, but it is difficult and I'm someone who has had no problems learning English, French, Latin, Italian, Spanish and Dutch...


So however bad Mary might master (or not) Danish, I can understand it and support her in her endeavour, even if she fails.
'..disease of the throat' LOL You're right - we really are awful at swallowing sounds. We're also really bad at distinguishing between the letters d and t - which means that it sounds funny to say the least when most Danes speak English -and make a lot of native English-speaking persons pull their hair in despair when we write a 'ledder', 'pud' our children to bed etc.

My late English born professor in English had lived in Denmark for more than 7 years when I studied languages; he did everything he could to avoid speaking Danish because he found it embarrassing that he still couldn't speak it properly (like the rest of us did) even though he had been able to learn other languages.

So based on what I have experienced with him and other foreigners I definitely agree that spoken concurrent Danish is very difficult for foreigners to learn - but if we Danes had a greater awareness of the way we speak and took greater care with the pronounciation it might perhaps have been easier to learn?


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  #186  
Old 10-27-2006, 05:37 AM
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Danish is definitly one of the most challenging European langauges to learn, and for good reason aswell.

It has a significant diminution and assimilation of vowels and consonants and is subject to a defining glottal stop which seems to be attributed by the manner in which some words and phrases are ardently projected.

Also, its obvious reduction in word sounds makes this a langauge that is really quite difficult for non Danish speakers to execute with proficiency. And this is just scratching the surface, really.

I think Mary is doing great and can only get better
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  #187  
Old 10-27-2006, 05:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UserDane


'..disease of the throat' LOL
I'm glad you took it as humourous, I certainly didn't want to hurt the feelings of the Danes.

But I can't describe it any better - there are some sounds in Danish that I have never before heard anywhere else and I have no idea who to produce them with my mouth. I mean, yes, there are worse languages to learn, eg Thai, where the same word has up to 10 different meanings depending on how the word is being pronounced... But while I have the feeling I could eventually learn these pronounciation differences if I had to I have no idea how to produce some sounds the Danes use (in their throasts, I assume). And as I said I managed to learn the French, Italian and Spanish way to pronounce (had problems with the Spanish "R" at first, but could do it after several hours of trying).

Hm, saying that I guess the former foreign-born queens of Denmark had probably the same difficulty, but in their time the whole "polite society" spoke French anyway (eg in Prussia, while I just learned that the Danish nobility and court thought German was noble and thus spoke German - strange idea that) and there were no TV reports or interviews with Royality, thus it didn't matter that much as long as the servants understood what Her Majesty wanted.
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  #188  
Old 10-27-2006, 06:23 AM
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It certainly was no offense, Jo of Palatine I quite agree with your and Madame Royale's assessment of Danish as a language. I'm glad I was born with it and didn't have to learn it!
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  #189  
Old 10-27-2006, 09:34 AM
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Sorry for getting started on this. All I meant was I like Mary. People seem to like Mary. She tries really hard to do good for Denmark. The End
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  #190  
Old 10-27-2006, 10:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UserDane
It certainly was no offense, Jo of Palatine I quite agree with your and Madame Royale's assessment of Danish as a language. I'm glad I was born with it and didn't have to learn it!
But it's really weird because Mary was living and working in Denmark for at least a year, maybe two years, before her marriage, so you add a year to her four years as Crown Princess and have to wonder, why isn't she able to communicate well? Loads of people learn foreign languages best from living in the country and pick it up much faster than they would from a book far away from the country. So why after so much time, interacting with danish people everyday for this period, hasn't she learned the language better?
Put to that the fact that she has supposedly had Danish language tutors to supplement her daily-for-five years experience.

My conclusion is that Mary must know the language pretty well and the media has to be exaggerating her "difficulty." It wouldn't be normal in her circumstances and considering the time frame not to be at least proficient enough to be able to communicate effectively.
I'm sure she is doing fine.
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  #191  
Old 10-27-2006, 10:19 AM
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After reading the difficulties in learning Danish my impression of Princess Alexandra has taken my opinion of her to yet another height.

Even though the Danish sounds are quite difficult to learn, there is no reason for someone having lived in Denmark for some time to speak the language well, altough with an accent. I don't think Mary is trying very hard. She should be fluent in Danish by now. She may never loose her accent but that has nothing to do with speaking the language well.
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  #192  
Old 10-27-2006, 10:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grevinnan
After reading the difficulties in learning Danish my impression of Princess Alexandra has taken my opinion of her to yet another height.

Even though the Danish sounds are quite difficult to learn, there is no reason for someone having lived in Denmark for some time to speak the language well, altough with an accent. I don't think Mary is trying very hard. She should be fluent in Danish by now. She may never loose her accent but that has nothing to do with speaking the language well.
Sorry grevinnan, but I dont see any relevance to your post regarding the countess of Frederiksborg in a thread relating to the Crown Princess.

I do believe Alexandra has 'her own' threads for such discussions and really, it isn't a comparison about who is more fluent than who which having read the comment about Alexandra, makes obvious the statements intent.

And if I may ask, why should Mary be fluent in Danish by now? Do you expect her to be as fluent as her mother in-law or her husband? surely not. There's no doubt Mary will most probably always retain an accent and in some ways this can slightly prohibit the pronounciations full capacity, especially when speaking in a language that is not english based (it even happens within english based dialects). It also depends on how well the person can pick up on the sound and whilst Mary has done a great job (as I'm sure most would agree), there's no denying her pronounciation is not as guttural as perhaps, some would like or expect. The likeliness of Mary ever reaching a state of complete fluency when speaking the local lingo is probably not going to happen and there is no fault in this. She shall of course progress and better her language skills, but unquestionable and perfect pronounciation, probably not. Does this mean the Crown Princess hasn't tried hard enough? It wouldn't seem so and I, personally, can't see how anyone can justify otherwise.

I must admit that I see your post as a statement made by an indavidual (respectively) who hasn't themselves attempted to learn the language so wouldn't understand the processes it entalis and I also understand that its your view and whilst I'm not questioning your right to express it, I do disagree quite strongly and I'm sure you shall probably feel the same.

No offence is intended.
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  #193  
Old 10-27-2006, 11:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grevinnan
After reading the difficulties in learning Danish my impression of Princess Alexandra has taken my opinion of her to yet another height.

Even though the Danish sounds are quite difficult to learn, there is no reason for someone having lived in Denmark for some time to speak the language well, altough with an accent. I don't think Mary is trying very hard. She should be fluent in Danish by now. She may never loose her accent but that has nothing to do with speaking the language well.
Mary is speaking the language well, although with an accent, and she is fluent by now.

EB' s article about Mary's problems was quite exaggerated, if you ask me.
And they actually focused their critic on the accent,
which in your opinion "has nothing to do with speaking the language well".
The speech they were referring to was not that bad IMO,
I admit the pronounciation of some words was very bad,
but then others were spoken with purest Danish tongue.

Mary does not learn the language as easy as Alexandra
and her pronounciation may never be as good as her ex-sister-in-law's,
but she is definitely trying hard IMO.

And the article itself stated that Alexandra's talent in that respect is extraordinary
and that Mary's main problem is to be constantly compared with her.
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  #194  
Old 10-27-2006, 11:58 AM
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Isn't the discussion of accent or not a never-ending discussion in many countries? I seem to remember having read somewhere that queen Silvia - a by all account gifted linguist - still after approx. 30 years in Sweden, speaks Swedish with an accent (don't know if it is true); and both Maxima's and Mathilde's accents have been mentioned as well.

For some it's easy, for other it's not quite as easy - not necessarily of any fault of their own.
Therefore I don't see the point of a direct parallel all the time between Alexandra and Mary. They do things differently and at different pace (Mary has conceived considerabley quicker than Alexandra; does that mean she is better at that than Alexandra then?
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  #195  
Old 10-27-2006, 12:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UserDane

I seem to remember having read somewhere that queen Silvia - a by all account gifted linguist - still after approx. 30 years in Sweden, speaks Swedish with an accent (don't know if it is true)
Accent doesn't matter but yes, it takes many, many years to overcome one's accent. Of course Mary still has her native accent. Loads of people speak a foreign language brilliantly but of course still have their original accent.
Unless you're a kid or teenager, an accent is hard to overcome.
I overcame an accent when I was 13 because of a regional move (and I mean, in a matter of weeks, I sounded totally different) but it was because of my age. For an adult, it takes several years, 10 or more might be average. I guess it some it never goes away, or not totally. For most, I should imagine there would be at least something of a trace of the native accent even after 30 years, maybe a tiny bit, hardly audible, but still there.
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  #196  
Old 10-28-2006, 06:47 PM
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I just have to put in my two cents on this thread:
Firstly, Iam a Dane but until i was 16 i lived abroad. I spoke danish at home but it was mixed with english ( i had learned all those horrible gutteral sounds we danes make in our language). And yet, here we are, SEVERAL years later, i can stil muck up the language although iam fluent. Its hard to switch between two languages, i still speak english daily. You need a word in danish and for the life of you, it only appears in english . Iam sure Mary has these difficulties. ( and despite using the Latin alphabet, trust me, danish is hard because of i.e. the terribel noises we're asked to make...noises that just shouldnt appear in polite society)
As to her accent; I think many people have the habit of shifting their accent to their surroundings...when i speak with a Briton i immediatly start twisting my vowels to suit. And if your surrounded by so many different accents Iam sure you can get muddled...thus her accent.
But what a lovely voice she has to go with it....
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  #197  
Old 11-07-2006, 02:55 PM
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Mary's engagement interview.



Her accent's pretty weird, but ... I can still hear abit of Australian!
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  #198  
Old 11-07-2006, 03:06 PM
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I think it's perfectly natural to start to absorb the accents around you. In the US if you are born in the South for example, it's a much harder accent to loose than a mid-Atlantic states accent. Prince Albert's accent reflects that of a mid-Atlantic state because his Mother was from Philadelphia. Many people with strong US accents like the South take diction lessons to loose it when they begin careers because it distracts from what they are saying and can in some cases actually cause their careers to stall. I knew someone at work who grew up in Brooklyn NY, a place with a strong accent, she took diction lessons because she said she found no one would take her seriously when she had it. As soon as she lost it her career moved forward.
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  #199  
Old 11-07-2006, 04:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by foiegrass
Mary's engagement interview.



Her accent's pretty weird, but ... I can still hear abit of Australian!
Thank you for posting the link- I have never heard this before. Good lord- no wonder Mary's Danish is not up to a very good standard standard if her practice is with Fred.

The interviewer had a clear accent and individual words were easy to pick out but Fred mumbles even in his native language. Mary needs to get someone else to practice with - understanding him must have been hard.

The interview also confirms her change in her English accent from Australian to "whatever".
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  #200  
Old 11-08-2006, 03:06 AM
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I was born and raised in Chicago and lived there for 19 years before my family and I moved to Alpharetta, GA. I've noticed that some of my words are taking on a slight Southern intonation, only because I've been listening to the accent for going on 7 years.

I wouldn't be surprised if Mary's accent when she's speaking English reflects the kind of language she is accustomed to hearing on a day-to-day basis.
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