Bangkok Danish

According to an article I came across today, language classes in Danish and Swedish are proving popular among quite a few Thai women in Bangkok. Most of these are women have Danish or Swedish husbands or boyfriends and want to be able to communicate better with them. Others are hoping to work with Scandinavian companies or study abroad.

They are being taught, for free, by an teacher of English originally from Denmark who also speaks Thai. His aim is to help Thai people planning to move to Denmark or other countries in Scandinavia to integrate and feel comfortable when they arrive. Language plays a major part in this, but understanding the culture is important as well.

Anecdotal evidence from my friends and acquaintances suggests that it’s often women who learn their partner’s language rather than the other way round. In some cases, the man would like to learn his partner’s language, but usually finds various reasons not to. Does anyone know of any studies about this phenomenon?

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This entry was posted in Language, Language learning.

5 Responses to Bangkok Danish

  1. Declan says:

    Well I know three foreign people with Irish spouses. A Spanish man has a wife who speaks Catalan and Spanish, but he also speakes English. A Frenchwoman and a Finnish woman both have husbands who do not speak their native tongues, even though the children in both cases speak that language. As a matter of fact, in the second case, the children speak Finnish as a first language, and speak English with a Finnish accent. That seems to pretty much fit in with your theory.

  2. Polly says:

    I know at least two husbands who learned their wives’ languages. Children generally follow the culture of the mother I’ve noticed. So, even if the wife learns the man’s language, the children will probably take after their mother. But, that’s just anecdotal, no studies that I’m aware of.

  3. Juliette says:

    I don’t know about any studies about the subject either, but in my experience it often depends on which country the couple decides to settle down in.

    With the traditional role-modelling in most (?) cultures still having the husband being the bread winner and the wife as the child carer, quite often the ‘logical’ choice for where to settle will depend on where *he* works and therefore *she* will learn her husband’s tongue more so than the other way around.

    I know lots of multinational couples, but very few where the man moved to the woman’s native country, save some where the woman lived in an English speaking country.
    Quite often I also find that these couples speak English between themselves in the home and even with some friends, even though one or both speak the other’s language too.

    The most interesting one is a relationship I can see developing near me at this moment between two women, one in The Netherlands, one in Brazil. As traditional role-model patterns do not apply there, it will be interesting to see how that one is going to work out ;-)

  4. Kiddee says:

    well, in my case, I admit that I have Finnish boyfriend and I would like to learn his language but also that he, aswell, want to learn my language. In my opinion, Language is not the only key for relationship but I think it’s an important key to understand each other more (literally and culturally) for the couple from different countries. It doesn’t matter which side want to learn their spouse language.

    However, at the moment I have loads of motivation to learn Finnish and I’m finding a place to learn. I used to be an exchanging student there and I found that this language is very fascinating. (so if anybody know anything about Finnish teaching in Thailand please let me know!)

  5. Kiddee says:

    forgot…hehe my e-mail is triomusicster@gmail.com