The Puzzle of Danish

Professor Morten H. Christiansen receives 5,8 mio. kr. from the Danish Council for Independent Research - Humanities for new research project

2017.05.04 | Anne-Mette Pedersen

Short project description:

Danish is an unusual language: because its sound properties tend to obscure the beginnings and ends of words, Danish children appear to be delayed in learning their native tongue, and even adults seem to require more time to understand one another. This poses fundamental challenges to longstanding theoretical assumptions: that all languages are equally easy to learn and use. Preliminary research has revealed some of the difficulties Danish children face during language acquisition, yet we know very little about the impact on adult Danish usage patterns. Through an integrated series of psycholinguistic experiments, we will test what Danes hear, understand, and how they communicate. Comparisons will be made to Norwegian—a related language with a more “transparent” sound structure. The proposed work not only has wide-reaching implications for the study of language and cognition, but also for society, touching on how we might improve Danish language skills and instruction of L2 learners.

Read more here - press release from the Council (in Danish).

Contact:

Professor Morten H. Christiansen, School of Communication and Culture - Centre for Child Language and School of Culture and Society - IMC

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