Danish language

Danish((Dansk) belongs to the Eastern Scandinavian group of the Germanic branch of the Indo-European language family. Danish is closely related to Norwegian and Swedish. Those three languages evolved from Old Norse, which was spoken in the areas of Scandinavia that are now Norway, Denmark and Sweden.

To this day, Danes, Norwegians and Swedes can understand each other without the need for an interpreter. Despite the high degree of mutual intelligibility, it would not be appropriate to consider all three languages as dialects, because the Danes, the Norwegians and the Swedes see these languages as official languages standardized in their respective countries, with differentiated standards of writing and pronunciation.

Danish and Swedish became standardized languages before Norwegian. Since the Reformation they became independent languages, when the Bible was translated into each of these languages.


Denmark has its own Lutheran Church and its own Bible. Denmark developed a written language based on the language spoken in and around Copenhagen. Denmark also imposed this language on Norway.


After Sweden gained independence from Danish rule in 1526, it developed a written language based on the language spoken in and around Stockholm. When Sweden took over the Danish and Norwegian provinces, it also adopted the Swedish script.


Norwegians learned to write Danish during the four centuries of Danish rule (between 1380 and 1814). However, the spoken language evolved differently. After gaining their independence from Denmark, the Norwegians were left with a standardized spoken language which, although written like Danish, differed from it in its phonetic system and vocabulary. This language is known today as Bokmål. Therefore, Bokmål derives from ancient Norwegian in its spoken form, and ancient Danish in its written form.

Dialects of Danish

Danish is usually divided into two large dialectal groups.

  • Bornholmsk (Eastern Danish)
  • Sønderjysk (South Jutlandic)

Standard Danish is based on the East Danish spoken in and around Copenhagen. It is spoken in big cities, taught in schools and used in the media. Since the territory of Denmark consists of many islands and peninsulas, there are many other regional dialects, and not all of them are mutually intelligible.

Speakers of Danish

Danish is the de facto national language of Denmark. It is the national language of Greenland together with Greenlandic, and a compulsory subject in primary schools in the Faroe Islands.  Danish is also used by the Danish minority in Southern Schleswig, an area of Germany bordering Denmark, where it has a protected minority language status. It is spoken by 5.4 million people in Denmark.

It is also spoken in Canada, Germany, Greenland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, United Arab Emirates and the United States. The total amount of Danish speakers worldwide is estimated at about 5.6 milion.

Translation agency for Spanish-English-Danish

Now that you know a little more about the Danish language, you might be interested to know that we offer professional translation services from both English to Danish and from Danish into English. We specialise in translation from and into Spanish.

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