How to Learn Danish: A Deep Dive Into Studying Dansk

Dreaming of traveling through picturesque Denmark, breezily ordering smørrebrød and making friends with locals? Or perhaps you’re hooked on gritty Danish TV shows and want to understand what that glowering detective is really saying.

Regardless of why you want to learn Danish, you’re in for a fun and rewarding experience. It won’t take long until you’re humming along with Danish music, coming out with those ironic jokes the Danes are famous for, and making (virtual or real-life) Danish-speaking friends.

Let’s take a look at some of the Danish courses, apps, and other resources available to you. We’ll also talk about how to create your Danish study schedule and whether Danish is really as difficult as it sounds.

A Quick Introduction to the Danish Language

Love history? Adventurous epics? The Vikings? You’ll love studying Danish. The oldest written examples of it in existence are runic inscriptions. It’s also the closest existing language to Old Scandinavian, the language of the Vikings.

Even today, there’s some degree of mutual intelligibility between Danish, Norwegian, and Swedish (although this can be overstated). This is in part thanks to the powerful fourteenth-century Queen Margaret I of Denmark. She defied gender-based norms for her period to unite most of Scandinavia – although she then had to make herself regent and appoint her male relatives as rulers. After all, it was the Middle Ages.

Danish also boasts some fascinating linguistic features. For example, while it has two grammatical genders, these are called common and neuter. This might come as a relief to language learners exasperated by the idea that a screwdriver is inherently masculine or feminine.

You also count in twenties rather than tens in Danish, something that might sound familiar to speakers of French, Basque, Cornish, and Yoruba. If it seems confusing to you, however, just think of the archaic method of counting in scores, with “three score and ten” adding up to 70. Voilà, you have the vigesimal counting system used in Danish.

Today, Danish is spoken by over 5 million people throughout not only Denmark, but also parts of northern Germany, Iceland, Greenland, and the Faroe Islands. And that’s not to mention Danish diaspora communities around the globe.

Although you might assume that everyone speaks Danish in Denmark, don’t be surprised if you also overhear Polish, Syrian, or Turkish. Despite tightening immigration policies, people from all over the world live in Denmark.

Oh, and expect to hear quite a bit of English, too. Danes are impressively good at speaking it.

How Difficult Is Danish?

According to the FSI, Danish is one of the most approachable languages for English speakers to learn. They estimate that it would take 24 weeks of 25-hour-a-week intensive study to achieve “professional working proficiency” (which has been compared to both B2 and C1 on the CEFR scale).

Of course, that still adds up to 600 hours – and besides which, learning a language via intensive courses is different from learning it in evenings and on weekends.

Still, whether you’re a full-time student, a Roskilde-based expat immersed in the Danish language, or a hobbyist learner squeezing your studies in during your commute, one thing’s for certain: Danish has quite a bit in common with English. In fact, even words that don’t look like English often sound like it. Take hej, meaning “hello” and pronounced “hi.” And these similarities could help you out as you learn this Nordic language.

If you speak some German, you’ll also come across words that look pretty familiar to you: gerne, at arbejde, nummer…

However, there is one thing that you might find quite different when learning Danish: the pronunciation. There’s a reason Scandinavians joke that speaking Danish is like talking with a potato in your mouth. For people who aren’t fluent in the language, it can be hard to distinguish the different sounds and work out exactly what word is being said.

What’s more, some phonemes are particularly tricky for Danish learners, such as the soft d. Add some homophones, 20 different vowel sounds, and silent consonants to the mix, and it’s easy to end up tripping over your own tongue.

Even though Danish has a lot of similarities with English, the truth is that no language is “easy.” No matter if your goal is to become fluent or simply to learn survival phrases ahead of a holiday in Copenhagen, you’ll need hard work and some patience to see success.

There are some things that can make it easier, though. Let’s take a look at how to learn Danish – without getting too stressed out or demotivated.

How to Learn Danish

We can’t give you a one-size-fits-all Danish study plan, because there are so many factors to consider: where you live, what you want to do with your Danish language skills, how you like to study, how much spare time you have…

However, what we can do is give you some advice for building a study schedule and choosing the right resources for you, so that your Danish studies are more fun, interesting, and effective.

1. Outline Your Goals

Knowing what you want to achieve won’t just keep you on track. It will also help you decide what to study.

Just travelling through the country? You’ll want to spend extra time on topics like directions, hotels, and numbers.

Want to keep in touch with a Danish exchange student via social media? Reading and writing will be important for you, and you can probably skip the business jargon in favor of slang and hobby-based topics.

Moving to Denmark? You’re going to have a longer list of topics to learn. Don’t forget to study immigration-related vocabulary! On the plus side, your trial-by-fire experience of living in the country will give you lots of opportunities to practice speaking Danish.

Regardless of your individual goals, you’ll probably want to build in time for all the main language skills – reading, writing, listening, and speaking – as well as vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation. Let’s be honest: it would be frustrating if, after six months of messaging a friend in Danish, they suddenly rang you and you couldn’t understand a word they said.

2. Decide How Often and How Long You’ll Study For

You’ll come across blog posts saying that you should study for an hour, 90 minutes, or even three hours a day. That’s not always realistic, though.

Some people have a relatively free schedule and can easily make time for studying. Others have to fit Danish studies in between different jobs, studying, social and family obligations, and more. So, forget the “golden rules” about how many minutes or hours a day you should spend studying.

It might sound counterintuitive, but don’t study too much. By too much, we mean: don’t study so much that you exhaust yourself, feel guilty about being too busy to practice Danish, or start to resent the time spent drilling vocabulary. Be realistic about how much time you have spare.

That said, it’s good to study more days than you don’t. If you’re struggling to find time for Danish, aim to study for shorter periods but more frequently. It will be more effective than one long, weekly study session, especially if your aim is spoken or written fluency.

3. Decide on Your Study Materials and Resources

In this article, we’ll share dozens of Danish courses, apps, textbooks, grammar guides, YouTube channels, podcasts, movies, novels, news sites and more. You might also like to:

  • Keep a journal, write short stories, or start a Danish-language blog
  • Create an audio diary: record yourself speaking about your day (and remember that nobody has to listen to it – not even you)
  • Follow influencers and Danish-language hashtags (and not just #hygge) on social media
  • Set your search engine, phone, and social media accounts to Danish
  • Find forums, Facebook groups, and hobby-based blogs in Danish
  • Take an interest in Danish history, politics, and culture; you’ll soon find yourself reading Danish-language websites and books to find out more than would be possible in English
  • Label things in your flat or house with Danish words
  • Start doing Danish crosswords
  • Write your shopping or to-do list in Danish
  • Try to create Danish puns and rhymes

Bear in mind that someone else’s ideal study method might not work for you. Maybe they love Duolingo and you hate it. Or perhaps they love watching movies and you get bored 20 minutes in. We all have our preferred study methods (and interests!), so try a few things out to see what works best for you.

And remember: the best resources for you could change over time. You might eventually need to drop your once-favorite course, or perhaps you’ll find you get on better with a resource once you’ve reached a conversational level of Danish.

Some Extra Danish Study Tips

  • Learn Fillers: Since most Danes have a high level of English, you might find one of your biggest challenges is getting people to speak Danish with you. While they think they’re doing you a favor by switching to English, you should try to talk in Danish as frequently as possible. To subtly signal that you don’t need them to change languages, try brushing up on Danish fillers. They will help you exude linguistic confidence, even while you’re searching for the right word.
  • Do Pronunciation Drills: Given how tricky Danish pronunciation can be, it’s worth spending some time on this. Even though you don’t need a perfect Danish accent, learning correct pronunciation early on will save you time later and perhaps help convince Danes that you don’t need them to switch to English.
  • Be Patient and Celebrate Successes: Learning a language is hard and takes time. Instead of fixating on what you can’t do, focus on your successes – whether that’s successfully purchasing a train ticket, having an hour-long conversation in Danish, or navigating the Danish healthcare system.

Resources for Learning Danish

Textbooks, courses, podcasts, and classes: there are plenty of ways to learn Danish, even if you’re thousands of miles away from Copenhagen.

Online Danish Classes and Language Exchanges

There’s no better way to learn a language than to put it into practice. And since actually speaking Danish might be one of the most challenging parts of learning the language, classes and language exchanges can be invaluable.

Online Classes Where You Can Go at Your Own Pace

italki is one of the oldest and most well-known language-learning marketplace, which gives it a significant advantage: it has the most teachers. It also tends to be slightly cheaper than competitor companies. And while quality isn’t its selling point, if you search enough, you’re bound to find a teacher you get on with.

Plus, we’re a fan of its community features, which you can access via the app. These include a forum and the chance to publish your writing or audio recordings for community corrections.

Alternatively, you might like Verbling. Although it has fewer teachers, we like its payment processing options as well as its online classroom. Teachers are also vetted before they’re allowed to join the platform.

Verbal Planet also has a handful of reasonably priced and well reviewed Danish teachers. If you’re looking for plenty of feedback, it might be a good choice for you: the teachers will evaluate your speaking, listening, reading, and writing after each class. If that sounds stressful, though, you might be better off skipping this platform.

Preply also has several Danish teachers. However, we feel that teachers aren’t always fairly compensated for their time or work and, when you purchase classes, you have to commit to at least five with the same teacher. While we liked their classroom technology, it’s not our favorite platform for finding teachers.

Amazing Talker, at the time of this article’s publication, has just one Danish tutor – but hopefully that number will keep on growing.

Group Online Classes

You can book online private and group classes with Danskbureauet. It doesn’t give you the flexibility and range of choice that websites like italki and Verbling offer; in fact, after your free trial, you have to sign up for a minimum of 12 weeks. However, you’ll benefit from a structured syllabus, and the teachers have many years of experience.

With Copenhagen Language Center, you won’t have to make quite such a long commitment. Their group courses last for 7–8 weeks and go from complete beginner up to B2/“pre-advanced.” As well as the video classes, you’ll be expected to do two to five hours of private study every week.

Laerdansk Online/Netdansk is also designed for long-term, online learning, although you only have to commit to four weeks at a time. They estimate that it will take you 12 weeks to reach A1, 16 to reach A2, and so on. Their courses should take you up to C1.

Community Feedback

Sometimes, you don’t want an hour-long class or Danish pronunciation drills. You just want feedback about whether or not you’re saying something right or an answer to a quick question. You can turn to forums and community-feedback apps for this.

The HiNative app will let you ask questions and also answer other people’s queries. We think it offers a lot of value for any language learner, even if not all questions or answers are entirely useful.

On Langcorrect, you can share Danish writing and essays in order to receive feedback from other learners. Don’t forget to help out the community by correcting someone else’s writing, too.

The WordReference forums are another place to post questions and receive answers. And while Reddit’s Danish Language sub isn’t very active, it’s still worth searching for past posts.

Language Exchanges

Ready to not just study Danish but actually use it? It’s time for a language exchange.

There are plenty of apps you can use, such as HelloTalk (reviewed here), Speaky (reviewed here), and Tandem (reviewed here). While they all work in a fairly similar way, there are some differences, so make sure to check out the reviews as well as our HelloTalk vs Tandem showdown.

If you want to move from app-based to real-world exchanges, MeetUp has 25 different Danish-language groups around the world. Can’t find one near you? Try a general language exchange to see if any Danes come along, or start your own group. Alternatively, you could browse local Facebook groups for options.

If meeting up with strangers, however, remember to stay safe: meet up in public spaces, don’t feel pressured to give out your contact details, and leave if you feel uncomfortable.

Online, App-Based, and Audio Danish Language Courses

Taking a language course, whether you go at your own pace or follow a fixed schedule, can add structure to your studies. They can also be motivating, since you can measure your progress in modules and levels. And even though you won’t find Danish on Rosetta Stone or Busuu, you’ve got plenty of language courses to choose from.

Depending on your learning style, you might find you prefer an audio course (great for improving your listening and keeping your hands free for other tasks), an app (easy to squeeze in a few minutes here and there), or one with a wide mixture of activities. We’ve included a variety of course styles to help you pick the right one for you.

Mango Languages has a heavy focus on speaking Danish and will quickly get you to build your own sentences. We think it’s best for beginner-level learners, and we like how you can compare recordings of yourself speaking Danish to native speakers. It helps you see where your pronunciation isn’t quite right, and you can pause the lesson to practice it as many (or few) times as you wish.

Speakdanish is a popular course with a heavy focus on pronunciation. However, we felt it was unengaging and hard work compared to other courses, so try out the free content before you commit.

If you’re an aural learner, or simply like to learn on the go, Pimsleur might be a good fit for you. We find it fairly effective, and it gives you lots of listening and speaking practice, although we would have liked more grammar explanations. Bear in mind that each lesson is 30 minutes long.

For something more bite-sized and with more grammatical explanations, try Babbel. We also like its speech-recognition technology that gives you feedback on your pronunciation, although we found it occasionally didn’t work as we had hoped.

While we wouldn’t use DanishClass101 as a standalone course, we think it makes for an excellent supplementary resource. It has a huge range of audio and video lessons on Danish vocabulary, grammar, and culture.

Dansk Her&Nu/Dansk her og nu is a free online course supported by the Danish government. If you already know some basic Danish, it’s a great resource. However, we wouldn’t recommend it for complete beginners studying alone. Not only does it not use any English, but you start off with some fairly long texts.

Strokes International’s Danish course might seem a little old-fashioned – and we’re not talking about the vocabulary. You’ll need to download it onto your computer before you can use it. Despite that, it seems to be a fairly thorough and effective course.

Lower-intermediate learners might like Glossika. Although it can be buggy and we found several language errors, it could be a good option if you’re learning additional languages alongside Danish.

Bluebird Languages has several short, free video clips you can watch. It has a strong focus on speaking and listening, but we found some mistranslations and the occasional grammatical error.

Sundhedsdansk is designed to help people new to Denmark understand the healthcare system and learn extremely basic medical vocabulary and phrases. It seems too superficial and is all in Danish, so we’d recommend pairing it with further word lists, a dictionary, and flash cards. Be warned that at times it seems more concerned with teaching you to wash your hands and use a handkerchief than with how to communicate with a medical professional.

You’ll also find some Danish courses on Udemy. Since Udemy is just a marketplace, the depth, teaching style, and quality of the courses can vary greatly. Make sure to read the syllabus and reviews before you sign up for one.

Danish Courses Like Duolingo

Duolingo gets a bad rap, but don’t write it off without trying it. We think it can be a fun (and free!) additional resource that will add a touch of gamification to your studies.

That being said, if you’re looking for a quick, fun, gamified language app, you’ve got a lot to choose from – and some of these Duolingo competitors, while less well-known, might be a better choice for you.

When we compared Memrise and Duolingo, we felt Memrise was slightly better for more serious students while still being fun for beginners. It also has community-made Danish courses on everything from numbers to grammar. In fact, you’ll even find a couple on Duolingo’s Danish course.

Looking for another Duolingo-esque option, but with a few more features? Try Ling. We’re a fan of the native audio (unlike Duolingo’s text-to-speech automated audio), as well as its slightly more well-rounded approach to learning a language. Even so, we think it’s probably best suited to beginners.

Mondly, on the other hand, left us disappointed. There’s nothing outright bad about it, but it feels slightly disorganized and we just think there are better options available.

Danish Language Courses You Should (Probably) Avoid

Once upon a time, DanskABC was probably a great resource. It’s reasonably priced, designed for students with some basic Danish knowledge, and has a wide range of materials. However, it relies completely on Adobe Flash Player. If you’ve already got some basic Danish knowledge, we think you’ll be better off trying out some of the other upper-beginner courses we’ve mentioned, such as Danish Her&Nu or DanishClass101.

The same goes for Online Dansk. It looks fairly promising, and despite being Danish-only, it’s still beginner-appropriate. Hopefully, they’ll redo the course without Adobe Flash Player in the near future. Until that happens, we’d choose one of the other courses on our list.

Moving on from courses that are just technologically outdated, there are some that we can’t recommend because they have a poor educational foundation, contain numerous errors, and in our opinion, are more likely to leave you frustrated and demotivated than speaking Danish.

17 Minute Languages promises to teach you Danish in just 17 minutes a day, but we found it dull and full of bad translations or misleading explanations.

Transparent Language is low on explanations, and we’re not convinced you’ll be able to create your own sentences or communicate in Danish after using it.

When we tried Cudoo, we felt that the course was superficial, lacked explanations, and had almost zero effective exercises for drilling material. It seemed like a waste of our time.

As for Language101, it’s eye-wateringly expensive and left us frustrated and overwhelmed. It’s also set up in such a way that beginners have to start off by constantly marking their attempts to speak Danish as “wrong” – something that seems masochistic and extremely demotivating to us.

Danish Vocabulary Builders and Word Games

Ever found yourself ordering toast for breakfast, even though you don’t really like toast, just because it’s the only word on the menu that you understand?

That’s where flash cards, world lists, and vocabulary games can come in handy. They’ll soon get you saying grød (porridge), blødkogte æg (soft-boiled egg), and appelsinjuice (orange juice, not apple) instead.

Drops is a fun app that will remind you to memorize words for a few minutes every day. We were impressed with the amount of vocabulary you can learn.

You might also like the Simply Learn app from Simya Solutions. We think it’s a pretty good app, but it probably wouldn’t be our first choice. Firstly, it only has half as many words as Drops for you to learn. Secondly, it’s from the same team who built Ling, which we mentioned above. Since Ling also teaches some basic grammar, reading, and writing, we’d probably pick that above Simply Learn.

Looking to also test your reading comprehension and word recall? Try Clozemaster. It will show you a series of Danish sentences, and you’ll have to fill in the gap with the correct word. If you understand Danish pretty well but can’t remember words when speaking, this could be helpful. Bear in mind that there’s no structure, so the sentence difficulty will vary. We’ve reviewed it in detail here.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re learning Danish through English, Somalian, or Vietnamese: Lexin Billedtema has themed vocabulary for you. The only requirement is that you know the name of your language in Danish, as the initial page is Danish only.

Once you’ve clicked on the right language, you’ll be taken to a table of contents in your own language. Click on a theme to see labeled illustrations. You can then switch the labels between Danish and your own language, and listen to audio recordings. There’s no inbuilt way to practice output or drill the language, so you’re best off making your own flash cards.

If you’re vacationing in Denmark or going on a business trip, and not actually looking to master the language, uTalk could be a good option. It contains phrases on topics ranging from shopping and directions to military peace and going skiing. We like that all the phrases have been recorded by native speakers. However, if you’re the type of person who gets frustrated at not scoring 100%, this might not be the app for you – some of the memory games are pretty hard.

Loecsen contains 17 themed word lists. We like how much control it gives you over how you drill them, not to mention the way it tracks which words you struggle with.

LingQ might appeal to you if you’ve already mastered a lot of the basic vocabulary, or you’re regularly reading a lot in Danish. You can look up words while reading texts, and the app will automatically add them to a list and nudge you to review them. While we think it’s a helpful reading tool, we find the review system slightly disorganized.

Sometimes the best flash cards and word games, however, are the ones you’ve made yourself. And while some people might find pen-and-paper versions are the most effective ones, more aural learners – or people who simply don’t want to carry a large pack of flash cards around with them – might prefer to use an app.

Anki will let you create your own flash cards or download someone else’s shared deck. For example, this one is well rated and has over 8,000 cards. We like that you can add audio and pictures to the flash cards, as well as how Anki adjusts to how difficult you find a particular word or phrase.

Alternatively, try Brainscape. It’s similar, but with a slightly more modern interface.

Danish Grammar Guides and Exercises

For many students, grammar is the most frustrating, confusing, and fiddly part of studying a language. And while studying just grammar can be a boring way to learn a language, sometimes, you need to review a grammatical concept or do some exercises to check that you’ve understood it correctly.

Try Basby. Whether it’s word order, declension, or any other aspect of grammar, this website contains English-language explanations along with some brief exercises.

Still struggling? Vores Fællessprog is more superficial than Basby. However, we found the explanations to be more accessible. Click the buttons at the bottom of the screen to be quizzed on the content in a pop-up window.

Looking for some more in-depth exercises? Drill your conjugations with The Danish Study. We think it’s a useful supplementary tool.

Danish Textbooks and Reference Books

A textbook can give structure to your studies and will normally include plenty of exercises. Whether you study alone or with a teacher, it can also help you measure your progress and stay motivated. We would recommend getting some additional speaking practice, however, and it’s worth bearing in mind that most textbooks teach slightly formal language.

If you like a lot of exercises, Complete Danish: Beginner to Intermediate might be a good starting place for you. The audio files are available from their website.

Colloquial Danish is another decent option if you’re just looking to learn the basics. Don’t forget to download the audio recordings.

Despite its name, Beginner’s Danish can be a bit challenging if you’re starting from zero. This might be a better option if you’ve been studying Danish for a little while, perhaps with apps and podcasts, and are now looking for something to give you structure.

For upper beginner and intermediate students, Danish Tutor: Grammar and Vocabulary Workbook is a highly praised textbook with plenty of exercises.

The Ultimate Danish Phrasebook is designed to teach you more natural Danish than most phrasebooks, with lines like “it was fashionable when my mother was young” and “let’s take it easy.” Whether you find it useful or a gimmick will likely depend on your level of Danish.

Learn Danish on YouTube

When it comes to learning Danish, YouTube has one very big advantage: you’ll get plenty of practice at listening to how words are pronounced. Here are some of the ones that most impressed us.

The YouTube channel Mic’s Languages has a playlist dedicated to learning Danish. Mic also has a handy blog post on Danish pronunciation.

On Danish Mastery, you’ll find over 300 videos. A lot of them are members-only content, but there are still enough free ones that it’s worth checking out. Besides, the premium packages are affordably priced, so if you really like these videos, it could be worth the investment.

David Jørgensen has a wide range of videos teaching you Danish. Bear in mind that almost no English is used, not even for the video names.

You’ll also find some of the courses and apps we’ve already mentioned have their own YouTube channels. DanishClass101, for example, has playlists dedicated to level-appropriate listening comprehension exercises, as well as themed playlists and their quick-and-simple Danish in Three Minutes series.

Danish Fiction Books and Poetry

What’s the first Danish author you can think of? If you said anyone other than Hans Christian Andersen, we’re impressed. Yet while Den lille havfrue (The Little Mermaid) isn’t a bad choice for your first book, there’s plenty more to Danish literature than this sad little love story.

You can legally download free children’s books in Danish from Children’s Books Forever. Alternatively, if you’re looking for something accessible yet still designed for adults, try bilingual readers.

Learn Danish with Starter Stories: Interlinear Danish to English contains literal word-by-word translations of six different stories. The authors have also published , Learn Danish with Short Stories, and Learn Danish with The Little Mermaid.

Short Stories in Danish for Beginners is a slicker option than Interlinear Books. You won’t get the literal word-by-word translation, but rather a short story, summary (in Danish), word list, and set of comprehension-based questions.

Manga Method isn’t a typical bilingual reader, but it’s a fun addition to your studies. This website contains manga and comic books translated into multiple languages. Double click on the text to read the translation, or click once to hear an audio recording of the speech.

Ready to challenge yourself with books designed for fluent, adult speakers?

Fans of Nordic noir and detective novels will probably like Jussi Adler-Olsen. Plus, you’ll find reading his novels gives you a good conversation-starter – he was voted “Favorite Author of the Danes” three years running, after all.

For a more literary (and slightly spooky) novel, try Celestine by Olga Ravn. This unsettling novel about a woman obsessed with a ghost has been praised for its beautiful metaphors and language.

Jakob Ejersbo is considered one of Denmark’s modern literary giants, known for his gritty and realistic novels. Try Eksil, which explores the relation between European expats and locals in Tanzania, or Nordkraft.

If you’d like something a little more escapist, it’s worth giving the historical novel Vi, de druknede by Carsten Jensen a read.

Podcasts in Danish

Podcasts are a win-win option: you get to practice your listening with material that you find interesting. And you can do it while you’re jogging, commuting, cooking, or doing whatever you want to.

If you’re a foodie, Så længe det kan spises might be a good choice for you. Each episode is short – or “bite-sized,” as the podcast’s creators like to say – and takes place in a different Danish restaurant.

Third Ear is a Danish podcast so popular that one of its episodes was signed up for a cinema adaptation. Its serialised stories and cliffhangers make it an entertaining option. Bear in mind that even though the podcast is in Danish, one of the co-hosts is famous for his British accent.

Love debates, ethics, and philosophy? Try Mads & Monopolet. Since they cover a wide variety of topics, you’re bound to find something interesting.

Harddisken is no longer updated, but techies might find its back catalogue of episodes interesting.

If none of these podcasts appeal to you (or you’ve already binge-listened to them all), try searching for something more to your tastes on DR. There are plenty of podcasts to choose from.

Danish TV and Movies

From natural phrasing to Danish culture, there’s a lot you can pick up from watching a TV show or movie. Plus, it will simultaneously challenge your listening skills and give you a chance to unwind.

You can watch Danish-language TV shows via DR or, of course, Netflix. If you’re using Netflix, try combining it with the Chrome plugin Language Learning With Netflix. It gives you greater control over the subtitles, which we think is particularly helpful when you’re ready for Danish-language ones.

If you’re a fan of the crime genre, try Broen or Forbrydelsen. The political drama Borgen has great characterization and a gripping plot. Applaus explores an actress’ relationship with addiction and her children. Looking for something more lighthearted? Watch the romantic comedy Italiensk for begyndere.

News, Music, and Other Resources for Learning Danish

Listening to Danish-language music will get you spending more time immersed in Danish and introduce you to additional vocabulary. Plus, whether you’re into electronic music or metal, you’ll find something you like in Denmark’s eclectic music scene.

The quickest way to find artists you’ll like is probably to listen to playlists. Try this Danish Hits playlist on Spotify. Alternatively, search for a genre-specific one, such as Danish Rap or The Sounds of Danish Pop.

Reading the news in Danish will also get you learning new vocabulary. Perhaps even more importantly, it will help you make small talk, stay up to date on current affairs in Denmark, and understand how new policies affect you.

DR Ligetil intentionally uses easy-to-understand Danish, so it’s a great place to start. As you become more confident with Danish, you can then try other news sites, such as Berlingske, Ekstra Bladet, Politiken, BT, News, and SN. You can also listen to Danish radio.

When you come across new words, look them up in a dictionary like Den Danske Ordbog. And, to make sure you’re pronouncing them right, use Forvo or Adgang for alle.

Danish might sound challenging. The pronunciation can seem incomprehensible. And the lack of Danish learning resources could be off-putting. Yet once you get started learning Danish, you’ll discover that not only are there many opportunities to practice it, but it’s a surprisingly rewarding language to learn.

Nothing beats the feeling of making a new Danish-speaking friend, reading a Danish-language book, or making Danes laugh with your witty jokes for the very first time.

Held og lykke! Best of luck.

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Resource Image

Although Lexilogos seems to have entirely neglected its aesthetics, it holds more than meets the eye. If you click on one of the 130+ languages listed at the bottom of the page, you will find a series of resources to support your studies. This is especially useful for less-studied languages, like Marathi, Basque, and Pashto. Although the lists don’t provide recommendations for applications, they do provide a list of dictionaries, keyboards, news sites, books, and research papers. Additionally, if you switch to the French version of the site, there are even more languages and resources available for you to explore.

Within each language’s page, there is also a dictionary search function. You will notice that more commonly studied languages will have dozens of dictionaries to choose from, while less commonly studied languages may only have one or two.

Overall, Lexilogos is a great option for finding resources for less commonly studied languages. They regularly update their site, so make sure to check back if you don’t find what you’re looking for the first time around.



Quick Review


Duolingo is a super popular free language-learning app. It’s available for desktop as well as mobile and offers over 90 different language courses in over 20 different languages — there are currently 35 languages with English instruction. The Duolingo approach is gamified and easy to use, but the bite-sized lessons don’t offer much in the way of in-depth practice. The Duolingo tag line is “Learn a language in just five minutes a day.”


It’s easy and fun to use, but some pronunciation and grammar instruction is of low quality, especially for Asian languages.


The app works well for learning the basics, but there’s little speaking practice and grammar instruction is limited.


It’s a lot of content for free, but you’ll need to use supplementary resources.

Languages: Duolingo offers 35 language courses with English instruction, three of which are constructed languages. Courses are available in most popular languages, including Spanish, French, German, etc.


Duolingo is totally free. Duolingo Plus offers a few additional features and is available for:

$12.99/month (paid monthly)
$6.99/month (12-month subscription)



Price: Subscriptions start at $14.95/mo

Quick Review


Pimsleur is one of the most popular and longest-standing resources out there for learning a foreign language. Its courses place a strong emphasis on aural and verbal communication skills, paying less attention to grammar explanations and reading or writing skills. There are over 50 language courses available with Pimsleur, and the bulk of the material is taught with audio lessons.


The platform is extremely well designed and easy to use. The content seems to be of high quality at all levels.


Timely repetition and active practice work well, and lessons build on each other nicely, but the “intermediate fluency in 30 days” claim may be a stretch.


The subscription option provides good value for some, but there may be more efficient ways to learn some languages.


There are courses in over 50 languages; you’ll find popular ones like German, Spanish, and Mandarin Chinese alongside less common languages like Albanian, Finnish, and Haitian Creole.


Subscriptions of either $14.95/month or $19.95/month are available for courses with at least 60 lessons. Prices otherwise range from around $20 to over $500. All purchases come with a 7-day free trial.

What is Pimsleur?

Frankly, it’s an institution. The name comes from linguist Paul Pimsleur, author of many books on language acquisition and applied linguistics, and developer of what is now known as the Pimsleur Method.

Dr. Pimsleur wrote the first Pimsleur Language Program in 1963, and the courses were first available on cassette tapes and books before becoming available digitally.

Given that the lessons are largely audio-based, the Pimsleur courses are often advertised as a convenient way to study a language while completing chores, cooking, driving, or doing anything that doesn’t require all of your attention.

The courses consist of core 30-minute audio lessons as well as some extra practice activities that touch on a variety of skills, but there’s a heavy emphasis on speaking and listening skills.


The Pimsleur Method: An Overview

There are four main pillars in The Pimsleur Method. The first, Graduated Interval Recall, works just like a type of spaced repetition system (SRS). It’s an effective method for committing new terms to long-term memory in an efficient manner.

Where it differs from other SRS platforms like Anki or Memrise is that the intervals in which you review words are time based rather than performance based. The method seems to work well in conjunction with the active role listeners take in the audio courses.

The second is what they call the Principle of Anticipation, which means that there are frequent pauses in the audio lessons that allow you to work through scenarios on your own before hearing the correct response. This makes active participation an integral part of the Pimsleur Method.

The final two mainstays of the method are Core Vocabulary and Organic Learning. These concepts essentially mean that learners are only exposed to the most necessary vocabulary words and that learning happens in the context of relatable, usable conversations.

How We Did this Review

With the aim of achieving a more comprehensive perspective for this review, I teamed up with All Language Resource’s very own web manager, Hunter.


“I’ve always considered myself an aural learner so I was really looking forward to trying Pimsleur. It seemed like something I would really benefit from. I tried the beginning levels of Spanish to see what I could learn and the advanced levels of French to see how far the course could take someone.”


“I was excited to try out the Pimsleur course to see if the audio lessons worked for me. I don’t consider myself to be much of an aural learner and typically gravitate toward resources with an interactive or visual bent. I tried the beginning levels of the German and Japanese courses as well as the advanced Spanish lessons to see what I could learn.”

Quick Opinions

I think it’s safe to say that, overall, Hunter and I are both fans of Pimsleur. We both agree that it’s something we would recommend to beginners that are interested in an aurally focused course. Generally, we found it to have high-quality audio, well-structured lessons, and a nice design.

My biggest gripe with the platform was the lack of visual content, which is hard for me to deal with. Meanwhile, Hunter found himself wishing that lessons would progress at a faster pace, especially at the lower levels.

Here are our individual overall ratings of the platform:

Hunter: 3.8/5 Stars

Brian: 4.2/5 Stars

Overall combined rating: 4/5 Stars

Try a free 7-day trial of Pimsleur

First Impressions

It’s hard to deny the slick, premium feel that permeates the Pimsleur platform. Both Hunter and I came away with similar things to say about our initial impressions of the resource.

Pimsleur Interface

We agree that the design quality inspires confidence in the efficacy of the resource and that it made us excited to use it. The audio quality is also immediately recognizable as excellent.

I found myself wishing very early on that there was a transcript to follow along with, as I’m prone to spacing out when there’s only audio to focus on. Hunter seconded this wish, even though he identifies as an aural learner.

A Pimsleur Course Overview

Core Audio Lessons

These 30-minute lessons are where most of the learning happens in a Pimsleur course, and we think they’re done really well.

Audio Lesson

This is what you’ll spend most of your time doing with Pimsleur: listening to audio lessons. The Pimsleur Method strongly suggests doing one per day, and this method works nicely if it fits into your schedule. Anyone with a commute that’s longer than 30 minutes, for example, could find that these lessons are easy to add to the routine.

Note, though, that these lessons can require quite a bit of concentration. Passive, distracted listening isn’t going to work very well.

The audio lessons are very interactive, meaning you’ll get to participate in the conversation. The narrator offers some explanations and guides the lesson, and you’ll get plenty of opportunities to practice your pronunciation with male and female native speakers.

The lessons also build on each other exceptionally well, especially at the beginner level. Each lesson provides sufficient review for the previous lesson, and you’re constantly building upon what you’ve already learned.


Hunter mentioned that he thought the explanations in the audio lessons were exceptionally well done, and I have to agree — the location of explanations within lessons feels very intuitive. In our experience, you aren’t kept in the dark for very long at any point — an explanation seems to appear just as you start wishing for one.

It could be nice, we both agree, if there was something more in the way of grammar explanations. This isn’t to suggest lengthy explanations or taking away from the practical focus of the lessons, just that a little bit of grammar support for those that prefer to think things through would be helpful.

Practice Activities

These activities certainly aren’t the main show in a Pimsleur course. They’re simple, quick, and not required.

I found myself enjoying the opportunity to actually see the language I was learning and thought that, though basic, the exercises were engaging enough to keep me interested.

I also appreciate the fact that you can get some comprehensive review this way. You can select from as many of your completed lessons as you like when choosing what material to practice.

On this screen, learners choose which lessons they would like to review.

It’s nice to be able to review material that you might not have seen for a while instead of only one lesson at a time.

It might be nice if the platform kept track of which words you repeatedly had trouble with, but the interval recall works well at providing timely review in the audio lessons.

Hunter wasn’t a fan of these activities. As someone that prefers audio lessons, he says he found himself wanting to skip them altogether.

Maybe it’s good that activities using the written form are available for people like me who prefer visual material, but they won’t really get in the way of a learner that’s happy sticking to the audio.


This is the first practice activity you’ll likely engage with, and it’s also the most basic.


Practice is really simple with these flashcards — you can choose whether you’d like to translate from your target or source language, and then you’ll be shown the audio and written form of some material from the current lesson. Don’t expect any extra information like noun gender, verb tense, or word type!

After viewing and listening to the word or phase and then clicking to reveal the translation, you’ll either select “Skip” or “Got it.”

Selecting “Skip,” presumably because you weren’t able to come up with the correct translation, means you’ll see the flashcard repeated at the end of the set.

Quick Match

Despite what the name and description seem to insinuate, there isn’t a timed element to this activity.

Quick Match Title

Instead, it’s pretty much a straightforward multiple-choice quiz: choose the correct translation from a list of four.

Quick Match Activity

Speak Easy

This activity is actually the closest thing to a transcript of the audio lesson. You’ll get to listen to and see the phrases in a conversation, listening and repeating as you wish.

Speak Easy Activity

You can listen to each phrase individually or let the entire conversation play through.

Speed Round

Unlike Quick Match, this activity is aptly named. Words and phrases make their way down the screen in Space Invaders fashion (for the uninitiated), and you’re tasked with selecting the correct translation before they reach the bottom.

Speed Round Activity

There are some satisfying sounds that accompany correct answers, and you can watch the points bar fill up to try and set a new record, but it’s mildly fun at best in my opinion.

Reading Lessons

The reading lessons in Pimsleur start off teaching how to read phonetically. After the sound system has been covered, you begin to see reading comprehension exercises in the course.

Spanish Reading Lesson

The image above shows the first reading lesson in the Spanish Level 1 course. Your job is to read the word aloud and then listen to a native speaker to check your pronunciation.

As you progress, the utterances become longer and more complex. You can view translations at any time by selecting the icon in the upper-right corner.

Spanish Reading Lesson Level 5

This system works fine for Latin alphabets, but it requires some tweaking for Asian languages like Japanese.

For non-Latin alphabets, you’ll have to spend more time learning the individual characters that make up the writing system. In the Japanese course, you’ll cover hiragana in Level 1, katakana in Level 2, and begin with kanji in Level 3.

Japanese Reading Lesson

Japanese Kanji Chart

I think I would’ve liked to see some SRS-style practice for learning Japanese kana, though it’s easy enough to get this kind of practice for free with user-created materials on either Anki or Memrise.

It would probably be best to incorporate some kind of complementary study resource if you want to learn to read Japanese relatively quickly.

You will allegedly be able to read at the same level you can speak after 30 lessons, but the aural and reading lessons are delivered at different speeds.

I see the value in teaching pronunciation separately from reading — especially for languages without highly phonetic writing systems. However, I think I prefer a more traditional method that presents words and their written form in tandem as you’re exposed to them.

I think the big takeaway here is that Pimsleur courses, historically audio-exclusive, still aren’t designed to provide comprehensive reading and writing practice. It’s nice that they provide some practice and exposure that’s certainly helpful in some way, but Pimsleur is best at teaching listening and speaking skills.

Some courses offer Culture Notes instead of reading lessons. In each lesson if you swipe the main image you will find the cultural notes.


Pimsleur pricing is complicated; your location and the language you’re studying will both influence how much it will cost. There is a 7-day free trial with all purchases.

It isn’t clear which countries have access to the subscription option, but if you live outside of the US, Canada, Australia or the UK, you’ll have to access it through the Pimsleur app.

Pimsleur Subscription Ad

Subscriptions are available for all languages that have at least 60 lessons, and the recurring price depends on how much content is available. Here are two examples:

Castilian Spanish (2 levels, 60 lessons): $14.95/month

Latin American Spanish (5 levels, 150 lessons): $19.95/month or $149.95/year

In the above examples, the Castilian Spanish course doesn’t offer the practice activities that come in addition to the audio and reading lessons. This appears to be true for all $14.95/month subscriptions.

There are also one-time purchase options that are available for all languages. They range from around $20 for five-lesson bundles to over $500 for all of the lessons in a popular language like French.

In addition to the above variations, what you’ll pay depends on where you live. For a Castilian Spanish subscription, for example, you’ll pay $14.95/month if you’re in the USA, $18.95/month in the UK, and $16.95/month in Australia. These prices are all in USD.

Alternatives to pimsleur

Pimsleur is one of the bigger players when it comes to language-learning resources, but it’s certainly not your only option.

olly (I will teach you a language)

Olly Richards, the creator of I Will Teach You A Language, has written a series of books for beginner and intermediate learners to improve their conversation skills in several languages. He also has a Short Stories series.

Most of the languages use the most common words in your target language, with natural phrases that you would overhear locals using while conversing amongst each other. In the short story lessons, the plot follows the same characters and adventures, with some adjustments for cultural differences.

Rocket languages

The things that Rocket Languages  do well are developing a logical and thorough curriculum and providing ample practice opportunity. Reading, writing, and listening practice with native-speaker audio will get you a bunch of exposure to the language. Their program is extremely thorough and has lots of practice to ingrain memorization of the langauge.


italki is the most flexible and affordable place to find a tutor for the language you’re learning. They have a huge number of teachers offering classes to students of over 100 different languages. As a learner, you’ll be able to find a tutor that best fits your learning style, schedule, and personality. Teachers are able to set their own prices and make their own schedule. Check our our full review here!


Babbel is similar to Pimsleur in that it’s a major player in the language-learning sphere and that it caters to learners looking for a comprehensive resource.

It differs by providing more of an early emphasis on learning the written language, which some learners may prefer. This makes it potentially more appealing to visual learners or those that are interested in developing their reading and writing skills in tandem with their verbal and aural skills.

Babbel provides listening and speaking practice in conversation exercises that use speech recognition technology to give feedback on pronunciation. This is our full review of Babbel.


FluentU is a language-learning platform that uses real-world videos and interactive subtitles to create an immersive learning experience. The videos take on a variety of forms, including commercials, music videos, interviews, and more. Accompanying quizzes give users the chance to practice language used in videos.

FluentU offers videos in nine different languages and is available for iOS, Android, and on the web. Most of its content is beyond the beginner level, but it has videos for learners at all levels. Check our full review here!

Final Thoughts

Pimsleur has been around for decades, and that’s no fluke. It’s a quality resource, and it teaches languages well. The fact that it all started with a renowned linguist and author on language acquisition is no side-note, either.

Compliments aside, I don’t think Pimsleur is the right choice for every learner. I wouldn’t even feel comfortable saying it was the right choice for most learners.

Between Hunter and I, the platform seems better suited to his learning style. My preference for visual content means I probably wouldn’t purchase access to a Pimsleur course unless it was for a language without many alternatives.

Even though Hunter prefers audio lessons, he still probably wouldn’t become a subscriber to Pimsleur unless he was an absolute beginner of the language he was learning. He felt that the material sometimes progressed too slowly.

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Price: Free

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iLoveLanguages seems similar to iLanguages and Learn101 in that every language has the same content and grammar. The eighteen 30-minute beginner ‘lessons’ in every language are essentially lists of phrases and vocabulary words, with audio recordings by native speakers.

The site seems to provide a local teacher for each language, but for some reason, the same teacher offers at least 11 of the languages (including Gaelic, Basque, Filipino, Marathi, and Cantonese). Oddly enough, this teacher also appears in stock photos around the internet. Considering that the website advertises each language class as being taught by a native speaker, perhaps be cautious if you are considering taking a class from this site — maybe try italki or SpanishVIP for private lessons instead.

iLoveLanguages may be helpful if you want to hear native speakers pronounce words in South-Eastern languages, like Marathi, Gujarati, Vietnamese, or Malay. You can compare the pronunciation with the speakers from either iLanguages or Learn 101 (but not both, as they use identical audio files). You could also check out Forvo, which is probably the most extensive pronunciation database on the internet right now. 


Master Any Language

Price: Free

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Master Any Language has a counterintuitive interface with activities that are frustrating to navigate. Its only perk is that it supports less-studied languages, but even if you do find yourself lacking resources in your target language, this website will probably detract from your learning. You will jump through hoops trying to find the audio recordings by native speakers, so you may want to try ilovelanguages or Learn101 instead; they have low ratings, but they won’t make you lose your motivation to learn altogether.

Most of the activities on Master Any Language are matching games that require you to click on two identical characters, words, or letters: the purpose of this is unclear because it tests neither recall nor recognition. Another activity asks you to form or match nonsensical sequences of words (Ex. Find the sentence identical to “el el el el tchèque tchèque tchèque el el tchèque tchèque”….).

Ultimately, you would probably be better off trying to decipher a page of text with absolutely no guidance than to even attempt to wrap your head around MAL’s activities.



Price: Free

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Verbix is a verb conjugator website and app developed by an independent non-profit organization. It conjugates over 100 languages, including Old English, Latin, and Yiddish

The amount of information on the conjugation page varies depending on how common the language is. At its best, it will display nominal forms, most common verb conjugations, verbs that have similar conjugations, translations, synonyms, antonyms, cognates, and a section on etymology. Sometimes there are sample sentences (without translations) that seem to come from articles and books. The final section on additional information seems a bit random, and its purpose is unclear.

To conjugate a verb in another language, you have to know the verb in its infinitive form. Unfortunately, although Verbix has a translation function, it doesn’t seem to cover all of the available languages, so you may not be able to find the verb you are looking for in the first place.

A fun page to explore is Verbix’s list of over 6000 languages with a map depicting where each of these languages is spoken. Otherwise, Verbix seems a bit random and incomplete. It may be a helpful resource for less commonly studied languages, but check out Reverso Translation, Cooljugator, and SpanishDict first. 

Also, if you want to practice verb conjugations in Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, or Latin, check out Conjuguemos



Price: Free

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Tatoeba is a sentence-focused reference dictionary, not word focused. Therefore, by searching for a word in any language, you are searching for examples of that word in context. The site is community-driven, but you don’t have to be multilingual to contribute to the site — it needs native-speaking writers to expand the example database and proofread user sentences.

All of the translations are interconnected: even if there is technically no direct translation from Zulu to Chinese, an English translation for the same sentences in both languages will provide direct translations between them.

Although Tatoeba supports about 388 languages, about 200 of these languages have less than 100 sentences, and about 58 have less than 10. Nevertheless, the database is continuously growing, and with more community members, the less common languages may have a chance to develop further.

It is prohibited to use a translation tool or copyrighted sentences to contribute to the translation database. Unfortunately, some contributors write in a language in which they are not proficiently fluent. As a result, the site has grammatical mistakes and sentences that don’t sound natural. You may have to do some digging to figure out if the contributor is a native speaker or not.

Because of the potential user errors on the site, you may want to check out WordReference, Pleco, SpanishDict, Kanji Study , and Linguee to find words in context for more commonly studied languages.


Learn with Oliver

Price: Free Trial, with premium plans starting at $96/year

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Learn With Oliver is a simple website that offers SRS flashcards with audio recordings by native speakers, random videos and articles with a list of keywords, choose your own adventure stories, writing practice with corrections by native speakers, and progress tests. The flashcard words and sentences seem to have been randomly chosen rather than curated to specific learning goals, so they are probably better used as enrichment than as a primary learning tool. The site as a whole is probably best for learners who already have a good grasp of basic vocabulary in their target language.

The mixed exercises use spaced repetition to first introduce you to new words, then get you practicing through various word order, fill-in-the-blanks, listening, writing, and multiple-choice activities. Each “card” (more like “page”) allows you to see an overview of each word with example sentences.

A cute perk you will receive after completing each day’s lesson is a “reward link,” which is typically a cute or funny picture on Reddit.

If you’re looking for alternatives to some of the features on this site, LangCorrect may have a larger community of language learners to support you in improving your writing, Readlang and the Zhongwen Chrome Extension will help translate words on most websites, Yabla will teach you languages through video clips, and sites like Readle (German) and Du Chinese can help with your reading comprehension.


Vores Fællessprog

Price: Free

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Looking for something that will help you understand Danish grammar? Try Vores Fællessprog, which will break down word order, verbs, conjunctions and more in 11 different languages.

You can also drill your understanding by pressing some of the buttons at the bottom of each screen. While they’re not overly intuitive, they’ll load up quizzes in a pop-up window.

Our biggest gripe with Vores Fællessprog is also our favorite thing about it: it’s simple and easy to understand. The explanations are clear. Unfortunately, this is partly because it’s quite superficial. If you find you need something more in-depth, try Basby instead.