How do many of the citizens from the three Scandinavian countries speak such good English?
Is English taught from an early age? Culturally is English widely accepted there? Why? As an American I speak only four languages, English, German, Dutch, and Spanish. But that came from both hard work and exposure.
Let me show you some words in the Danish language which are very similar to the English language:
kan = can
flyve = fly
svøm = swim
lille = little
nu = now
øje = eye (øje is pronounced like aaye)
føl = feel
tal = talk
nummer = number
As you can see, there are many Danish words that are very similar to the English words. I think that’s an important factor that it’s easier for them to learn.
Grammatically, it is also very similar:
Jeg kan svømme.
I can swim.
Jeg = I
kan = can
swømme = swim
Må jeg gerne drikke noget vand nu?
May I drink some water now?
Må = may
jeg = I
drikke = drink
noget = some
vand = water
nu = now
As you can see, there isn’t much difference between how the words are ordered. of course there are some differences, however it is not a lot.
I looked from the Danish perspective, however Swedish and Norwegian are very similar to Danish so about the same can be applied to them as well.
Another reason is that in the Scandinavian countries, the kids usually have English classes when they are 9-10 years old. That gives them approximately 6-7 years of English and depending on where they go afterwards, their education might require an additional 2-3 years of English classes.
So they learn English for quite a long time at a young age, that might be another reason.
Another reason which I believe is very important is also how the English language is almost everywhere in Scandinavia. Of course they speak their respective language, however store signs might use English signs (for example “Sale” instead of “Salg”) and a lot of the movies and TV shows are from America and England. Most of the music is from there too so people get exposed to English lots of places. Then there are also videogames which do not get translated into a Scandinavian language (because it is not economically wise) therefore the kids slowly learn English by playing lots of videogames too.
Why German is scary – English Words.German Mouth