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Spread of the Danish Language

Map No.


Danish is spoken as a first language by roughly 5.3 million people, in at least 11 territories. It is the de facto language of Denmark, and until June 2009 was an official language in Greenland, where it is spoken by most of the population as either a first or second language.

Danish has many similarities with Norwegian and Swedish; in fact, all three are largely mutually intelligible, and are often considered as dialects of a Scandinavian continuum.

There is a community of Danish speakers numbering around 50,000 in Southern Schleswig, part of northern Germany near the border with Denmark. There are also Danish speakers in the United States and the United Kingdom.


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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - Non Commercial - ShareAlike 4.0 International License. For any commercial use (including in publishing) a map use license needs to be obtained.

Technical Notes

The map shows the proportion of all people who speak Danish as a first language that live in that territory in 2005. This smaller map removes the countries where Danish is dominant. This map therefore only shows 3% of all speakers of Danish. The territory omitted is Denmark.

The maps in the 2005 language data series are made from data on the number of people speaking a language as their first-language, that is the language they would use at home.

Data sources
This map uses data several sources, the main one being Ethnologue (15th Edition, 2005). Estimating the number of speakers of a language is fraught with difficulty on several levels (last accessed January 2009). We aim to map as complete data as possible and therefore estimate data for missing values. The language numbers we use and publish are rough estimates, and should not be taken as definitive. In some cases, missing data for very small territories is not used in the cartogram and that area is therefore omitted in the map.

All modifications to the original data source are noted in our data sheets. Data for this map will soon be available as a download.

Download data file

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