When driving many miles through the interesting and very often changing countryside, there is time for reflection. Occasionally with music. This is something Anders is in charge of. With his great collection of music on his iPod. Or we listen to a podcast, which will often give us some topics to discuss. My latest idea is that I will practice my language skills and thus write a little weekly blog here on our website. Otherwise I might forget everything. Particularly my Danish, although I hear this every day when Anton and Anders are talking (this blog was originally written in Danish - and later translated into English). However, I do translate all of Anders’ blogs from Danish into German. And doing this pretty well, if I may say so myself!
To begin with Anders was not exactly happy with my translations. His “artistic soul” was hurt because I did not make a greater effort to strike the exact same “tone” and did not use enough of the “painting” words to describe the meaning. We Germans are using less words and prefer shorter sentences. But by now I do have a better understanding of his writing style and I have changed my working methods. This way I can translate more relaxed. Sometimes I feel like I am back in school at Studieskolen in Copenhagen. Back then I had to submit weekly papers for evaluation. For me this was done with more or less success. I have to admit that I was not, and still am not, the big Danish guru. It doesn’t help much if you are lazy and lack the passion for the language. As a German it IS rather easy to learn Danish, as soon as the first obstacles are over. The worst problems are with pronunciation and the “melody” of the sentences. I once heard that about 70% of the Danish vocabulary derives from German. And all Danes can relate to the saying “Ordnung muss sein” - There must be order! It sure must have been great times a few centuries ago when everyone at the Danish court in fact spoke German! :-)
It is a lot easier to learn a language as a child. Or growing up bilingual like Anton. It is remarkable how he is able to switch between German and Danish. However, sometimes he does mix it up a bit. Mostly when he is talking to Anders in Danish. The reason for this is most likely that Anders and I are speaking German with one another. An old habit. Since Anders moved to Munich back in 2005 we have done this. Back then we switched from English. I was pretty strict about this. The result being that Anders is fluent in German by now.
All the six years we lived in Copenhagen we just never got to switch to Danish at home. I felt comfortable having a small “German Island” at home. The disadvantage is that I never got as fluent in Danish as I could have been. I never had any great ambitions to get better, because I understood everything, and could in fact express myself in Danish - albeit with a heavy German accent. I will never become a real “Dane” either. I am pretty OK being German - with all its prejudices. The only difference between me and most other Germans is that I do TRY to speak Danish. Furthermore I also try to learn and understand the Danish humor! :-) This is a tough one, but I am working hard on it, every day!