Aarhus University Seal

Variation in spoken language

As opposed to the written language, the language in conversation is not ruled by norms which constitute what is right and what is wrong. Therefore there exists a certain variation in the language of conversation. People speak Danish with different regional and social variants, or they use actual dialects, speak with an accent, and so on. On the other hand there are so many common traits which makes it possible for people with very different linguistic backgrounds to communicate. 

Ideally, this website samtalegrammatik.dk, should be able to summarize the grammar in all of the conversations which are led in what the conversation participants perceive as Danish. Actually, we are limited by our data (for more go to Data) and our knowledge about variants of Danish, which means that samtalegrammatik.dk as it looks right now, is built on variants which are very close to standard Danish with a slight tendency towards the accents you find on Funen and in mid Jutland. This is because most of our data is collected in these areas. In our opinion this is a sufficient basis for our purpose. People, who are learning Danish as their second language, are typically being taught a version of Danish that is close to this standard, and for research purposes it is also a good way to start. Our data will also complement the amount of Copenhagen Danish that has been prevalent in earlier descriptions.

The differences between variants we have noticed so far, are mostly to be found in sounds and morphemes (for more, go to Sounds and Morphemes), while it seems that other parts of the Danish grammar are roughly the same in the variants that we have access to describe.

In the end, our description should be complemented by descriptions of other Danish variants. For this, we will have to cooperate with sociolinguists and experts of dialects.

Further reading

Dialekt.dk is a website which gives us thorough and accessible information about Danish variants. You can for example find an overview of grammatical differences between dialects and a lot of examples of different variants.

Ordbog over Dansk Talesprog is a part of the Center for language change at Copenhagen University and complements samtalegrammatik.dk with a focus on the words in the spoken language. It is built on a large sociolinguistic corpus of the spoken language.

Talesprogsbutikken.dk is also a part of the Center for language change at Copenhagen University and has a sociolinguistic angle on the spoken language.