Languages of Denmark

Languages of Denmark [1][2]

Danish dialects
Official languages Danish
Regional languages (Officially recognised)
Minority languages German
Main foreign languages English (86%)
German (47%)
Swedish (13%)
Sign languages Danish Sign Language
Common keyboard layouts
Knowledge of the German language in Denmark, 2005. According to the Eurobarometer,[1] 58% of the respondents indicated that they know German well enough to have a conversation. Of these 15% (per cent, not percentage points) reported a very good knowledge of the language whereas 33% had a good knowledge and 52% basic German skills.

The Kingdom of Denmark has only one official language,[3] Danish, the national language of the Danish people, but there are several minority languages spoken through the territory. These include German, Faroese, and Greenlandic.

A large majority (86%)[1] of Danes also speak English as a second language; it is mandatory for Danish students to learn from the first grade in Folkeskole. In the fifth grade of Folkeskole, a third language option is given, usually German or French. The vast majority pick German (47% of Danes report being able to speak conversational German). The third most widely understood language is Swedish, with 13% of Danes reporting to be able to speak it. [4]

Official regional languages


German is an official minority language in the former South Jutland County (part of what is now the Region of Southern Denmark), which was part of Imperial Germany prior the Treaty of Versailles.[2] Between 15,000 and 20,000 Ethnic Germans live in South Jutland, of whom roughly 8,000 use either the standard German or the Schleswigsch variety of Low Saxon in daily communications. Schleswigisch is highly divergent from Standard German and can be quite difficult to understand by Standard German speakers. Outside of South Jutland, the members of St. Peter's Church in Copenhagen use German in their Church, its website, and the school that it runs.[5]

The German minority operates its own system of primary schools with German as the primary language of instruction as well as a system of libraries throughout South Jutland. It also operates a German high school located in Aabenraa (German: Apenrade).

Beside this there are also 28,584 immigrants from Germany in Denmark by 2012.[6]


Faroese-language postage stamps.

Faroese, a North Germanic language like Danish, is the primary language of the Faroe Islands, a self-governing territory of the Kingdom. It is also spoken by some Faroese immigrants to mainland Denmark. Faroese is similar to Icelandic, and also the Old Norse language spoken in the Scandinavian area more than a millennium ago.


Greenlandic is the main language of the 54,000 Inuit living in Greenland, which is, like the Faroe Islands, a self-governing territory of Denmark. Roughly 7,000 people speak Greenlandic on the Danish mainland.

See also


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