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  #321  
Old 04-05-2011, 10:45 AM
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Originally Posted by nwinther View Post
How many of those people that speak multiple languages, speak danish and IS NOT a native dane?

Several languages are similar. The latin group or Germanic group can have similarities that make them very easy to learn - if you know one of them already. With a little effort, I could claim to master four languages - Danish, Norwegian, Swedish and English. With a little more, I could learn German as well (already had 3 or 4 years in school). But all those languages (except english) have considerable similarities - especially the scandinavian ones. Learning Spanish and then Portuguese would be rather easier than learning Spanish and then Danish.

What makes it even harder to learn Danish is the constant temptation to switch to English. Most danes speak English and almost all public information can be obtained in English. With a minimum of help you can go pretty far in Denmark without absolutely having to learn the language. You won't be accepted into society and in most areas you'll have a hard time finding a job. But you can get your essentials and live a long full life without too much hassel.
Two that I know of. I am sure there are more...

And while yes, many languages are similar, many are not. So I still think speaking six, seven or ten languages IS a real accomplishment.

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Originally Posted by Muhler View Post
In Mary's defence I'd say it isn't that simple.

Mary has to be able to read and write Danish to almost perfection. She is expected to speak Danish not just fluently, but to master the nuances of the language. Including subtleties and sounds that simply doesn't exist in English. (Let alone our little habit of omitting words when we speak or cutting off the ends of words).
Oh, did I mention the constant use of irony? (Which can be a genuine problem in workplaces with different cultures).
Not only that, she also has to understand the natives. Copenhagener Danish sounds different from say Danish spoken on Southern Funen even though the words are exactly the same. - And that's pretty easy, because Danish spoken in Northern Jutland or Bornholm sound even more different!
And then there are dialects....
It's litterally no more than 100 years ago that Danes from different parts of the country would have had problems understanding each other.

I believe Mary may have needed an aspirin from time to time.

It'll be equivalent to dropping me off in Yorkshire or rural Louisiana. I may have learned to speak English, but I'd still be pretty lost...
Yes, but that applies to every language. Every language has its nuances, subtleties and sounds that simply doesn't exist in English. Think about Japanese or Chinese or Arabic, how difficult that is?
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  #322  
Old 04-05-2011, 11:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Cinderella5x View Post
Two that I know of. I am sure there are more...

And while yes, many languages are similar, many are not. So I still think speaking six, seven or ten languages IS a real accomplishment.
Indeed it is. But I'd say someone who can master up to ten languages has a gift for learning languages. And unfortunately few possess that talent.
To most of us it's hard work and endless practise.

It's my impression that Mary hasn't been born with a gift for learning languages, or she would probably have picked up other languages by now, besides English and Danish and perhaps a little French.
That means she must have had to work and work hard to get where she is now.
That's also an accomplishment, eh?

However, there is a considerable difference between learning the basis of a language. I.e. grammar, spelling, correct pronounciaton and to master a language, with all the subtleties, dialects, slang, accents.
That's the difference between newsreader-English and English as spoken by people in the street.
It's when you can do crosswords at a reasonable level and when you can effortlessly understand and chat with people on the street that you can say that you truly master a language.

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Originally Posted by Cinderella5x View Post
Yes, but that applies to every language. Every language has its nuances, subtleties and sounds that simply doesn't exist in English. Think about Japanese or Chinese or Arabic, how difficult that is?
Exactly my point. I mean: My point exactly. That's what happens when one accidentally think in Danish.
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  #323  
Old 04-05-2011, 11:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Muhler View Post
Indeed it is. But I'd say someone who can master up to ten languages has a gift for learning languages. And unfortunately few possess that talent.
To most of us it's hard work and endless practise.

It's my impression that Mary hasn't been born with a gift for learning languages, or she would probably have picked up other languages by now, besides English and Danish and perhaps a little French.
That means she must have had to work and work hard to get where she is now.
That's also an accomplishment, eh?

However, there is a considerable difference between learning the basis of a language. I.e. grammar, spelling, correct pronounciaton and to master a language, with all the subtleties, dialects, slang, accents.
That's the difference between newsreader-English and English as spoken by people in the street.
It's when you can do crosswords at a reasonable level and when you can effortlessly understand and chat with people on the street that you can say that you truly master a language.
As to the bold above - maybe you are correct. That would explain why everyone tends to think learning one foreign language was a big accomplishment for Mary.

I think it also depends if you are learning the language and are living in the country that speaks that language or if you are learning it while living somewhere else. The second is even bigger accomplishment.
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  #324  
Old 04-05-2011, 11:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Cinderella5x View Post
I think it also depends if you are learning the language and are living in the country that speaks that language or if you are learning it while living somewhere else. The second is even bigger accomplishment.
Well, if you learn Danish without ever going there, and then suddenly you are picked up by a ufo and dumped in say Aarhus and told to live there for a month, only speaking and reading Danish and without the locals taking any considerations at all towards you, you'll soon learn the difference between school-Danish and everyday-Danish.
If you can manage that well, without going to bed with a blinding headache before noon or crying yourself to sleep at night, then I'll not only take off my hat in your honor, I'll also bow to you.
- That's a precious gift indeed. And I envy those who have such a gift.
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  #325  
Old 04-05-2011, 12:08 PM
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I do hope Mary speaks English to her children as the latest brain research shows considerable aptitude for aquiring another language before age 6. Then the next optimal time is before age 12.
Which is why learning another language as an adult, or after age 12, which is common in the US, is harder.

BTW, Danes, how is Marie's Danish coming along? She already had at least English and French...
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  #326  
Old 04-05-2011, 12:16 PM
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I think Mary was very motivated to learn danish, I woul if I was going to be the next CP in Denmark or for the matter any other country or language. Some people has a great hability, my husband can speak 7 languages, and he is amazing, he is british and his second language is danish, and he does not have any accent , at that point that some of the danes think he is from Kobenhavn, my fatehr was danish and that was my first language but after his death when i was too I lost the language and when I came back to study in my teans I had some how a lot of vocabulary! My husband can esasy speaks sewedis and norigian , I couldn't, I think it depends not only in your ability but how much you want to speaks the language and how motivate you are, of course the best it is to live there for a while!
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  #327  
Old 04-05-2011, 12:22 PM
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Danish is definitely a difficult language but with programs like Rosetta Stone one can learn quickly. I'm sure Mary used Rosetta Stone or something similar and I'm sure she had a language instructor and on top of that I'm sure Fred spoke the language to her often and helped her where needed. With dedication and persistence it's easy to learn another language.
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  #328  
Old 04-05-2011, 12:25 PM
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Originally Posted by CrownPrincess5 View Post
Danish is definitely a difficult language but with programs like Rosetta Stone one can learn quickly. I'm sure Mary used Rosetta Stone or something similar and I'm sure she had a language instructor and on top of that I'm sure Fred spoke the language to her often and helped her where needed. With dedication and persistence it's easy to learn another language.
Is that an endorsement or advertisement? I doubt Mary used a multimedia course given she was already in the country and could speak Danish with practically everyone around her. Immersion is the best way to learn a language and with dedicated tutors, I think it's hard to go wrong if you work hard enough.
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  #329  
Old 04-05-2011, 12:33 PM
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Originally Posted by lancchick

Is that an endorsement or advertisement? I doubt Mary used a multimedia course given she was already in the country and could speak Danish with practically everyone around her. Immersion is the best way to learn a language and with dedicated tutors, I think it's hard to go wrong if you work hard enough.
Um I have no affiliation with that or any other program but I think it's silly to suggest that it's not possible for her to use such a program. I know many people (including people in Europe) who've used those programs along with immersion, tutors etc. I think she used whatever she could to able her to learn the language quickly. I can probably bet money that Mary used some sort of "multimedia". Whether the multimedia was something like Rosetta stone or something from a tutor I don't know, but I'm sure she did.
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  #330  
Old 04-05-2011, 12:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Muhler View Post
In Mary's defence I'd say it isn't that simple.

Mary has to be able to read and write Danish to almost perfection. She is expected to speak Danish not just fluently, but to master the nuances of the language. Including subtleties and sounds that simply doesn't exist in English. (Let alone our little habit of omitting words when we speak or cutting off the ends of words).
Is she? The present consort seems to be far for that level, Queen Silvia's Swedish is not exactly perfection etc etc. But still she deserves credit to marry into a foreign culture and and her willingness to adapt, incl language which she will never speak anywhere near to "native".

Her fellow CPs who were "subjects" already have a much easier ride, still Mary seems to have quite "arrived" in Denmark, in contrast to the present consort Henrik.
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  #331  
Old 04-05-2011, 12:59 PM
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I thought Mary already spoke Danis quite well; if with a bit of an Aussie accent. If you watch the 1st presentation of the twins on leaving the hospital Mary spoke both in Danish and English.
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  #332  
Old 04-05-2011, 01:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Duke of Marmalade View Post
Is she? The present consort seems to be far for that level,

Mary seems to have quite "arrived" in Denmark, in contrast to the present consort Henrik.
I agree. And yes, Mary is expected to master Danish, so for that matter is our Marie. - Or they'll get a pretty rough treatment.

Prince Henrik is an interesting example. He has lived in DK for more than 40 years, he is supposed to be good at languages, and yet his spoken Danish is poor. He can hardly speak a single coherent sentence without basic grammatical mistakes. Mistakes which in my opinion should have been eradicated by now.
His accent is very heavy, something that would have been forgiven and considered charming, had his mastery of Danish been better. He litterally speaks "circus Danish", and that is not considered a compliment!
To rub salt in the wound both Mary and la Marie speak a better and more correct Danish than Prince Henrik.
However, Prince Henrik's understanding of Danish and all the subtleties of the language and culture is excellent. He is very fond of a group of entertainers called Ørkenens Sønner = Sons of the Desert. You cannot appreciate their humour without a thorough understanding of Danish wordsplays and innuendoes, something they specialise in.

Denmark and the Danes is basically a tribe or a village if you like. If you really want to be accepted you assimilate into the tribe. And that also includes learning the language and becoming good at it.
Once you are accepted by the tribe you are considered "one of us" and you'll find shelter and protection within the tribe and if need be we'll close ranks around you. - No matter what the odd republican tabloid may come up with.
Mary may have been an Australian, but if the Aussies give her a hard time and go too far, they'll be told to stay on their island down there and leave our Crown Princess alone!
The annoyed reaction by Danes when Mary get some heat in the Australian press is actually genuine.

National psycology is a comlicated subject but I hope this provides a general picture from the view of the ordinary Dane.
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  #333  
Old 04-05-2011, 06:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Muhler View Post
Prince Henrik is an interesting example. He has lived in DK for more than 40 years, he is supposed to be good at languages, and yet his spoken Danish is poor. He can hardly speak a single coherent sentence without basic grammatical mistakes. Mistakes which in my opinion should have been eradicated by now.
His accent is very heavy, something that would have been forgiven and considered charming, had his mastery of Danish been better. He litterally speaks "circus Danish", and that is not considered a compliment!
To rub salt in the wound both Mary and la Marie speak a better and more correct Danish than Prince Henrik.
However, Prince Henrik's understanding of Danish and all the subtleties of the language and culture is excellent. He is very fond of a group of entertainers called Ørkenens Sønner = Sons of the Desert. You cannot appreciate their humour without a thorough understanding of Danish wordsplays and innuendoes, something they specialise in.
I agree here. I know someone firsthand who has met Prince Henrik, the prince consort, several times. He report that PH actually speaks a very varied danish with irony and subtleties. So PH´s understanding of the danish language is very very good and I doubt that many danes can provide such a varied vocabulary as he can
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  #334  
Old 04-05-2011, 07:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Cinderella5x View Post
As to the bold above - maybe you are correct. That would explain why everyone tends to think learning one foreign language was a big accomplishment for Mary.

I think it also depends if you are learning the language and are living in the country that speaks that language or if you are learning it while living somewhere else. The second is even bigger accomplishment.
here is where things get interesting. Australia is a country marked by diversity where a single language dominates. English speakers are famously unilingual because of American/British cultural dominance. Could Australian members comment on the role of languages other than English in their country? Then I am certain we can explain why the Crown Princess is focussing on Danish rather than French, German or anything else that comes along, quite simply because her upbringing in a unilingual environment precludes linguistic ambition!
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  #335  
Old 04-05-2011, 10:11 PM
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here is where things get interesting. Australia is a country marked by diversity where a single language dominates. English speakers are famously unilingual because of American/British cultural dominance. Could Australian members comment on the role of languages other than English in their country? Then I am certain we can explain why the Crown Princess is focussing on Danish rather than French, German or anything else that comes along, quite simply because her upbringing in a unilingual environment precludes linguistic ambition!
I think your last sentence is key. It's different when you grow up in a place where one language is very dominant and I would also suggest it's very different when the one language you know is English. As a native English speaker I know I've been spoiled in my travels in that I've never had to concern myself with not being able to communicate with the local people in my own language. There are plenty of decent, (not perfect), English speakers everywhere and for the most part they don't hesitate to speak English to you even if you're able to converse in their language. They want to make you feel at home in their country. Or they want to sell you something. Or they want to practice their English. Or your accent in their native tongue makes them want to gouge their eyes out.

I've never seen the evidence that Mary is slower or less talented than most at learning a new language. I suspect she's about average in terms of how most unilingual, native english speakers would do if asked to become fluent in a second language in their late 20s. To me, someone in her situation learning one language is an accomplishment, moreso than what it is for some people in different situations to learn multiple languages. I have a friend who has an Italian-Canadian mother and a Chinese-Canadian dad. He grew up in Montreal. So he's fluent in French, English, Italian and Mandarin. That's unusual and impressive but IMO it's not an accomplishment because he learned all those languages as a baby/young child. It would be an accomplishment for him to master a fifth language now, as an adult.
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  #336  
Old 04-05-2011, 10:23 PM
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I have a friend who has an Italian-Canadian mother and a Chinese-Canadian dad. He grew up in Montreal. So he's fluent in French, English, Italian and Mandarin. That's unusual and impressive but IMO it's not an accomplishment because he learned all those languages as a baby/young child. It would be an accomplishment for him to master a fifth language now, as an adult.
Bravo to your friends' parents for the time and effort they put into making sure he learned their native languages. it's THEIR accomplishments and efforts that should be applauded in that case.
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  #337  
Old 04-05-2011, 11:54 PM
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here is where things get interesting. Australia is a country marked by diversity where a single language dominates. English speakers are famously unilingual because of American/British cultural dominance. Could Australian members comment on the role of languages other than English in their country? Then I am certain we can explain why the Crown Princess is focussing on Danish rather than French, German or anything else that comes along, quite simply because her upbringing in a unilingual environment precludes linguistic ambition!
As you said, Australia, while being a multi-cultural society, is unilingual. The majority of people speak English as either their mother tongue, or as a second language if they immigrated here.

Those who know how to speak a language other than English, are a) have a foreign background, b) learnt a language in school - carrying through to high school, or c) wanted to learn a different language and put themselves through language courses.

I would say that option a) is the one which is most common in how Australians learn another language. We have a vast assortment of nationalities here - Chinese, Greek, Italian, Lebanese just to name a few. Those who immigrate here will usually speak their native tongue at home with their families, and with their communities. Therefore, their children are exposed to the language from birth and learn it alongside English (sometimes in place of English). This is how I learnt Macedonian - by being surrounded constantly by my Macedonian family from the day I was born. I am fluent in Macedonian, to the extent that there are certain words and things that I only associate with the Macedonian translation (I remember starting primary school and hearing everyone else say 'Grandma/Nan/Nana' and thinking, who is this 'Nana' person? - because I only ever knew 'Baba', the Macedonian translation, despite having an Australian mother ).

For option b), the individual would have to be very diligent to learn enough of a languge at school to be able to converse/get by with. Most primary schools offer a language (usually Italian, French, Chinese/Japanese), and you have one class of it a week. And half of the time in primary school, you play various traditional games/etc in LOTE class. You have a better chance of learning the language properly if you carry on studying it throughout high school (but then you have to go to a high school which teaches that language). In high school, especially the later years when language becomes an 'elected' subject, there is more class time devoted to LOTE (my high school had 5x48minute LOTE classes a week once you got to year 10). But even with taking a language throughout schooling, you still do not learn everything you need to know about that lanuage. I learnt German in high school, after doing Italian in primary school. I can converse, read and write in German to an extent, but I am no where near what I would consider 'fluent'.

Option c) requires ambition and drive to learn another language. You would have to put yourself through a language school and work really hard to become fluent in that language.

The role of LOTE in Australia is very limited if you do not have a foreign background. It is not necessary for you to speak anything other than English, because everyone else does. If you speak another language, great, that works in your favour, but is not a requirement.

In relation to Mary, she studied French in high school. Would she be fluent? Probably not. Would she be able to converse in French now? Maybe, given how well she did in high school and how much she remembers. Being around a family which has French as one of its main languages would assist her in her French if she wanted to, but she would most likely use Danish or English instead of French. Being raised in a unilingual society would no doubt have had an effect on Mary and her ability to learn a foreign language, and I wouldn't be surprised if she thought it best to focus on Danish to master that instead of trying to learn four or five other languages just because.
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  #338  
Old 04-06-2011, 12:46 AM
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I've always been impressed at Mary's grasp of Danish. I've never learned the language, but in various videos of Mary speaking, she does a wonderful job. It had to be difficult in preparing for a wedding into a Royal Family, learning about Denmark and it's culture, learning to be a Princess and then learning the language. I would have been clawing the walls in stress. I had read that Mary's language lessons were grueling and that staff were to speak only Danish to her in their dealings. If I'm wrong, I'm sure one of our Danish posters will correct me.
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  #339  
Old 04-06-2011, 05:03 PM
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WOW! Sorry to bring this up all over again! whatever the case may be with her Danish, "I" personally think she has done a great job in learning a difficult language. "I" know that it is very difficult for myself to learn another language no matter how exposed I am to it. And after watching that video and hearing both her and her husband, I still commend her. It just "sounds" very difficult, hence my statments.
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Old 04-06-2011, 09:37 PM
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Denmark and the Danes is basically a tribe or a village if you like. If you really want to be accepted you assimilate into the tribe. And that also includes learning the language and becoming good at it.
Once you are accepted by the tribe you are considered "one of us" and you'll find shelter and protection within the tribe and if need be we'll close ranks around you. - No matter what the odd republican tabloid may come up with.

National psycology is a comlicated subject but I hope this provides a general picture from the view of the ordinary Dane.
I don't mean to jump on you...
I'm not too fond of the term assimilate/assimilation. A person can adapt but to assimilte into another culture, way of living is not very achieveable. In my opinion, to assimilate is to convert. To completely change oneself, erase. IMHO.
Mary is who she is not because she was born and raised in Denmark like yourself. Mary has adapted well into your country. Sure Mary is a Danish citizen, a danish princess and all that technical stuff. But what i'm trying to convey is that Mary, Marie, and Alexandra,and Henrik have all adapted, familiarized,and immersed themselves into Denmark and everything Danish.

I just wouldn't use the word assimilate.
It's a very strong word and has a strong meaning. I agree with you a 100% when you say national psycology is a complicated subject.
Also, I understand what you mean when you describe Danes and their view on aceptance and one-of-us. I'm sure everyone in other countries has a stance on that concept.
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