Grammar teaching in Denmark

NB Denmark is one of the high performers in PISA tests.

(Information supplied by John Dienhart, Anette Wulff, Merethe Sorensen, Nigel Vincent, Chet Creider and Sofie Ljungbo Jensen.)

  • Background information about Danish schools (in English)
  • Sentence analysis
    • Paul Diderichsen (1905-1964) published in 1957 a table-based system for analysing sentence structure in Danish in terms of sætningsskema or feltskema, similar to the system proposed by Becker for German but with different details adapted to Danish.
    • This system is still in use in Danish schools.
  • Almen Sprogforståelse (literally ‘general understanding of language’; the normal Danish for general linguistics is almen sprogvidenskab).
    • This course was introduced in the Sixth Form [i.e. last years of secondary school] Reform of 2005 and is taught to all students in the part of sixth form called ‘stx’, in the first half year of the three years they spend in sixth form.
    • (2017) The Danish “gymnasium” is undergoing reforms at the moment, and in several respects, this has also involved changes for Almen Sprogforståelse. The course now runs from mid- August to mid-October with 15 modules in both the General language class and the Latin class and the exam result is now an official accredited grade.
    • An English translation of the syllabus for this course.
    • A good source for more information on practical aspects is the Ministry’s collection of material and links.
    • The textbook.
    • Motivation:
      • Because a certain understanding of language is fundamental in the world we live in.
      • To help the students see the similarities among the different foreign languages they’re learning and to be able to apply a common terminology when talking about grammar of different languages.
    • In addition to this new course, government documents (in Danish) on the teaching of English at sixth-form college and technical college, require explicit knowledge of grammar (‘analyse and describe the grammar and stylistics of the English language using the proper terminology’, ‘apply basic knowledge of the structure and grammar of the English language for linguistic analysis, understanding of texts, and communication’). In both Danish and English students must now be able to perform a certain level of linguistic analysis of a given text.
  • The VISL project 
    • an article by Anette Wulff about this project to help in the teaching of grammar.
    • [John Dienhart 1997] Here at the University of Odense (Denmark), our curriculum for the English degree includes an obligatory three-semester course in English grammar to Danes at the undergraduate level. A major portion of the course (approximately 30%) is devoted to the grammatical analysis of sentences. This includes the identification of form (word classes, group and clause structure) and function (at the clause level and at the group level). It also includes the use of phrase structure trees for diagramming sentences. Over the past year we have been building an interactive web site for >working with our system. Though the site is far from finished, it is operational (except for the occasional server problems). The URL is The site also contains material for the syntactic analysis of German, and French. Spanish and Danish are on the way.

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