Language Matters

Kathleen Stein Smith, Ph.D

Cocoa by Candlelight (Why do so many foreigners want to copy Denmark?)

“HOW big is the world’s appetite for things Danish? Foreign audiences have already binge-watched the country’s noir TV series (such as “The Killing” and “The Bridge”) and raved over the new Nordic cuisine of Noma, Copenhagen’s trend-setting restaurant. This autumn, publishers are testing the limits of the world’s Danomania. Before the Christmas season, at least nine English-language books will come out devoted to explaining the elusive quality ofhygge.

Hygge is difficult to pronounce. (Try “hew-geh”.) It is also tricky to describe. Writers have tried “the art of creating intimacy”, “cosiness of the soul” and “cocoa by candlelight”. It is an attitude rather than a recipe, evoking relaxation with close friends or family. Many see it as a quintessential element of Denmark’s national character.”

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Languages do matter!


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