About language

Communicating in Scandinavian:

Lectures and activities implemented during the preliminary course will be conducted in both Scandinavian and English.

Don’t speak too quickly
Try to overcome the feeling that a slower speech rate is unnatural. Don’t be afraid to pause between phrases when you speak. Also try to avoid using sentences that are too long. That way, it will be easier for the listener to keep up.


Articulate carefully
Articulating clearly and in a way that is more similar to written language makes it easier for the listener to recognise the words. Names should be pronounced extra carefully – they are not as recognisable in other languages as normal words.


Avoid quickly pronounced filler phrases
Avoid the frequent use of “I kind of think that”, “so to speak”, “if I may say so”, “if I can say so”. While the listener is trying to work out what he heard, he will miss out on the most important part of the rest of the sentence.


Pay attention to the words
Some words in your own language may not exist in the other languages. In many cases however, there may be a less commonly used synonym in your own language which is a direct equivalent to a word in the neighbouring language. For example, Danes and Norwegians will say “bara” in stead of “kun” while Swedes say “bare” in stead of “endast”, and so on. Other words occur in the different languages, but with different meanings. Try to avoid abbreviations. If they are necessary, read them aloud in their entirety, explain them and write them, if possible.


Numbers often cause problems
Use the counting method: “tyve-en, tyve-to, tjueen” etc., not “en-og-tyve, to-og-tyve” etc. Danes should use “femti, seksti” and not “halvtreds, tres”. Participants speaking Swedish should avoid the term “två och femtio”. In Norwegian and Danish, this can be understood as 52.


Repeat and explain
If you sense that your listeners have trouble keeping up, it is often a good idea to repeat what you said in a different way. Try to find synonyms for the key word.


Try to overcome the feeling that it is unnatural so speak in a more Scandinavian way
It is more important that the other party understands you than that you feel unsophisticated.


Listen ahead
If there are words you do not understand, you should ask or note them down, but avoid pausing to reflect on them. If you do, you can easily miss out on the overall context. If you lose the thread, don’t give up but keep listening.


Admit it and speak up if you don’t understand
In that way, you can lend moral support to others. It often turns out that others have difficulties understanding it too. It’s important that you come to understand.