Denmark is one of the few countries which has a large English speaking community; despite English not being its native language. Danes are considered to be some of the best non-native English speakers in the world, but now the country wants its people to learn more foreign languages, in addition to English. Students at Roskilde University will have the option of taking French or German to supplement their degrees starting this autumn; Copenhagen University looking to follow suit.
Hanne Leth Andersen, the university’s prorector, maintains that it is imperative to open students’ eyes to other languages as it gives a broader insight into vocational material that are available in other languages.
“If you only use English and Danish sources, then you only have access to the part of the world that someone has decided to translate, and the tendency is to focus primarily on English in the Danish education system,” Andersen told Politiken newspaper.
The students will receive a language indicator in their diplomas indicating that they are proficient in German or French culture or are proficient to use either language in business situations, something that is not a coincidence.
Germany is Denmark’s most important export market and, along with French and English, German is one of the three working languages of the European Union. In an effort build, on language skills, students learn in secondary school; RUC has dedicated 1.3 million kroner to the new language endeavour.
“We don’t offer language proficiency courses, but if 90 percent of the students want that then we’ll have to plan for it,” Heidi Bojsen, international coordinator at RUC, told Politiken. “The starting point is that they are strong enough in German or French, and then we take it from there.”
Denmark is trying to make sure that all its nationals should know at least two foreign languages, apart from native Danish language. English is already a primary accepted and spoken language.
Such positive moves from Denmark will act as a major relief for foreign workers who always feel a hitch in moving to Denmark due to language constraints. Lately, many foreign workers have started developing confidence in the country as the myth of only Danish language as a primary language is slowly breaking. With sufficient moves from Danish government and acceptance of English as one of the primary language, Denmark is attracting a lot of skilled manpower from various English speaking countries. Now acceptance of other foreign languages is expected to further strengthen roots of Denmark as a promising destination for migrants.
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