The Danish language is not considered to be overly hard to learn compared with other languages. Reading and understanding of the text can certainly be mastered by a foreigner.
However, speaking Danish is a different story. The biggest limiting factor in speaking the Danish language is in fact the Danes themselves. Danes generally have enormous difficulties in understanding foreigners. The majority of Danes seem to be incapable of understanding even the slightest mispronunciation or improperly conjugated verb or noun. They also seem to have incredible difficulties in picking up what someone is trying to say who has an accent. They of course can be excused for this. There is obviously a reason for it. There are in fact a couple of generally accepted reasons.
  • Firstly, there are only 6 million Danish speakers in the world.
  • Secondly, English is widely throughout the world and anyone who has grown up with the English language as their primary language has heard countless people from all over the world speak very poor English. The result is that English speakers have unwittingly become very talented at deciphering someones intended meaning no matter how thick the accent, how poor their grammar etc. Danes do not have this ability. They simply haven't had the experience of hearing many different people from around the world attempt to speak their language. It should also be mentioned that Danes also have difficulties in understanding each other. There are many different dialects in Denmark, and no matter where someone is from in Denmark they will have problems understanding what someone from some other region within the country is saying or vice versa.
  • The third factor surprises many visitors. Generally Danes are very good at speaking English. Not only do they tend to be able to speak English, but they're also very willing to use it. If you are attempting to speak Danish with a Dane and there is even the slightest stall or hesitation in your conversation and they know that you can speak English they will switch to English. For the Dane, this is an opportunity to improve their English. This of course can be very frustrating for anyone who is trying to learn Danish, but it can be very comforting to anyone who simply wants to have a conversation without the misunderstandings.