Conversational Course

There is a gap in the market of people who will teach you to speak Danish. The gov has sponsored the Sprogskole movement who teach you how to pass the Danish tests so they can get money from the kommune but there is no one (especially in deepest darkest Jutland), who will teach you conversational Danish.

It is a bit frustrating. My next test is only reading and writing (and I think she said listening but, ironically, I didn’t catch it properly) and that is good because they are my best skills. My passive skills are way better than my active, my writing is miles ahead of my speaking. What I really need is practice speaking.

Today, a kid asked me for a word and apart from the fact I got the wrong one… I said udbryde instead of nedbryde (outburst/outbreak vs breakdown)… she was all like “what what? HAHAHAHA SAY IT AGAIN WHAT? HAHAHAH” and then she quite patiently coached me in how to say it but to get there we had to have the whole shebang of piss taking.

I have toyed with the idea of teaching kids something like Thai or Hungarian (something they do not know, I mean, I can’t speak either of those), and just laughing and pointing… then showing them that this impedes learning. But you know, the trickiest thing about being a teacher is having to constantly bear in mind who the adult is.
As it is *still* me, I have to only do things that will help them learn. Even if the thing I want them to learn is “don’t be an asshole”.
I will have to think of some other way. But it is a losing battle, the entire culture seems to be geared up to not accepting foreign accents, seeing foreign accents as amusing or “wrong”. Are there no foreign characters on tv here? (I don’t know, I have no tv)

If a French man says “zee” we don’t say “HAHAHAHHAHAH it is THE… THE! Say THE!” we just nod. If we feel the need to take the piss we will do it decently behind their backs. It is not their fault they are foreign and if they had had a choice they would surely have been born English speakers. Or something like that. We are less dick-tastic about it, is what I mean.

So yeah, I need someone to teach me how to speak and there is no one because the sprog skole market is sewn up. I refuse to practice with people I know in case some of them prove to be dicks about it and I do not want to fall out with people/think less of them if I can help it. I will still have to work with them after, you see.

There is the added problem of while I can identify it as a learning need, I cannot build up the motivation to take steps towards doing anything about it. When it is speaking practice time in the lesson it is always at 7pm and I am bloody knackered out by work and two hours of grammar exercises, so sprogskole is out. Even if I found a teacher, somehow, I would still feel awkward about speaking Danish.

I think this is very sad and reflects very poorly on this nation. I always “get” speaking last, even in my first language I was relatively old before my first words but I hear from Mum that they were “these are gorgeous sausages, aren’t they?” and I was to later explain “I have been practising speaking in bed at night”

But I was speaking way more in Swahili and Japanese and I never got beyond beginner with those languages. They are straightforward to pronounce and there are cultural factors at play. Japanese speakers are way better at managing other people’s feelings, they will try to protect others from embarrassment where possible (as a cultural thing, I mean) and Swahili is a trading language, it is apparently impossible to have the wrong accent, they will be all like “cool, where is your accent from!?”

French, while tricky to pronounce in the initial stages, is fine after you get used to it and the French are usually p good about how you say things. They translate your accent, as a rule.

Welsh, is rock hard to pronounce, especially since I cannot tell the difference between LL and CH but the language movement in Wales is different, people are pleased that a saes is having a go. As a rule.

It reflects very poorly on the Danish view of the world that I do not get that vibe. That me having a go and sticking my neck out is greeted with derision and amusement. It is not that it is a minority language, it is not that there are so few foreign speakers, it is codified rudeness and an inferiority complex about English skills manifesting as “a sense of humour”.

One of the most important things my Teaching English as a Foreign Language instructor ever taught me was “Do not correct every little mistake, OF COURSE you can speak better English than your students, good for you, you do not need to push it down their throats”

I will learn Danish, just out of bloody mindedness but it is not obvious how.