All together now, say after me .. “rød grød med fløde”
Although I’ve been many times to Denmark I’ve never managed to learn a significant amount of Danish. Part of the reason is that most Danes speak perfect English, but another aspect is that Danish is impossibly difficult to pronounce. People have told me that it’s a bit of an advantage in this respect being a Geordie, because the dialect of the Northeast of England has some similarities with Danish. There’s obviously some truth in that. For example, the Danish word for “home” is “hjem” which is pronounced in almost exactly the same way Geordies say it, as in “gannin’ hyem”.
However, this marginal advantage hasn’t helped me get to grips with Danish. To see why, consider this seemingly innocent phrase rød grød med fløde. This is, in fact, a dessert dish but that’s not the point. It’s so difficult for foreigners to pronounce that it’s often used humorously as a tongue-twister and, more seriously, was used by members of the Danish resistance in World War 2 to weed out interlopers.
Listen to how this is pronounced by actual real Danish people, and you’ll probably understand why I never got to grips with the language.