Danish Language Blog

Danish Lessons with Mick Jagger Posted by on Jul 27, 2014 in Culture

IMG_1944Mennesker i alle afskygninger. Telte og lejre/camps. En stor, blå himmel. Orange Scene. Øl og rytmer. Kærlighed. Venskab. Skænderier. Nætter uden søvn. Sved og gammelt tøj. Nøgenløb. Støv. Urin. Fællesskab. Latter. Solbriller. Armbånd. Masser af musik. (People of every shade/kind. Tents and camps. A big, blue sky. The Orange Stage. Beer and rhythms. Love. Friendship. Quarrels. Nights without sleep. Sweat and old clothes. Naked run. Dust. Urine. Togetherness. Laughter. Sun glasses. Wristbands. Lots of music.)

People never leave Roskilde Festival unchanged. Having promised myself on four previous occasions that this would be my last year among euphoric music fans streaming with sweat, I finally couldn’t resist the names on this year’s Festival poster: Rolling Stones, Stevie Wonder. I joined my team of frivillige (volunteers) of the previous years – a multilingual group headed by members of the Danish Youth Organisation for the language Esperanto. This year we were going to be in a bod (booth) selling mad (food) to festivalgæster (festival guests). Roskilde Festival is run entirely by volunteers, so my shifts in the booth earned me an entrance billet [biLET] (ticket).

Roskilde Festival is HUGE (the biggest of its kind in Northern Europe). In the days of the main concerts, which were also the days of my stay, July 3rd to 6th, more than 100,000 visitors were enjoying themselves in front of the 7 festival stages or in the camp areas (enormous plains of grass and mud). If you feel like going for a swim – or don’t feel like standing i kø (in the line) for et koldt brusebad (a cold shower) – there is a lake. If you want to eat or relax or play games with friends, there are restaurants, cafés, art exhibitions, gamerooms, anything. If you haven’t got money to pay for your vegetarian burger, you can collect plastic cups from the concert areas and get pant (refund money). Roskilde is a place that’s bursting with creativity and new ways of doing things; for instance, this year they were trying to make energy out of fry dripping.

A place of creativity…

A place bursting with creativity…

Roskilde might not be the best place to learn Danish – after all, a majority of the bands, including the Danish ones, sing in English, and a lot of the informations are given in English. However, Roskilde is an excellent place to get to know Danes! The festival is also a very important ”ritual” in the lives of many Danes, and an invigorating melting pot for Danish culture, music or otherwise.

Most of the concerts I had a chance to attend were great. Okay, there even was a bit of fun for students of Danish:

Sangeren MØ.jpg

“Sangeren MØ” by Kim Matthäi Leland – Eget arbejde. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

is an energetic lady who may be on her way to become the Danish ”Björk”. sings in English, but her name is proudly Danish and means ”maiden”.

– All the foreign artists say Ros-KIL-deh, even though the correct pronunciation of the name is ROSkilleh.

– Mick Jagger may have been browsing Transparent Language’s Danish pages. He paused a lot of times during the Rolling Stones concert to drop a line of Danish to the cheering publikum (public, crowd, spectators). Things like

Hvordan går det, Roskilde? (How is it going, Roskilde?)

God nat! (Good night!)


Now, get back to those studies. You’ve got a year to fine-tune your dansk for the next Roskilde Festival.

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About the Author: Bjørn A. Bojesen

I was born in Denmark, but spent large parts of my childhood and study years in Norway. I later returned to Denmark, where I finished my MA in Scandinavian Studies. Having relatives in Sweden as well, I feel very Scandinavian! I enjoy reading and travelling, and sharing stories with you! You’re always welcome to share your thoughts with me and the other readers.