Weekly Highlight: 21.05.2008


Language tough for Danish children, too

The Danish language is a mouthful for the nation’s small children learning to speak their mother tongue.
Foreigners aren’t the only ones who have a hard time learning the Danish language. A new study shows that Danish small children are slower than toddlers in other countries at picking up their native language’s nuances, reports MetroXpress newspaper.
The study, conducted by the University of Southern Denmark’s Centre for Child Language, showed that Danish children on average have a vocabulary of only 80 words at the age of 15 months. Conversely, Swedish children at the same age can handle 130 words, while Croatian toddlers have mastered up to 200.
‘The research shows that by the age of two, Danish children are nearly up to speed,’ said study leader Dorthe Bleses. ‘But it’s good to be aware of the challenge, as some children need to hear words and phrases several times before they get it right.’
According to the study, the primary reason Danish children lag behind in language comprehension is because single words are difficult to extract from Danish’s slurring together of words in sentences. Danish is also one of the languages with the most vowel sounds, which leads to a ‘mushier’ pronunciation of words in everyday conversation.
‘It’s more difficult for a Danish child to figure out where the holes are in a sentence – where one word stops and a new one starts,’ said Bleses. ‘In Swedish the distinction is much clearer.’
The study examined languages in 18 countries, the results of which will be published in an upcoming edition of Cambridge University’s Journal of Child Language. (RC)


Shoplifting Hit Record High in 2007
Published 19.05.2008, 08.40

Shoplifting hit a record high last year in Finland, reports the newspaper Keskisuomalainen. Police say that over 45,000 cases of shoplifting and petty theft occurred last year. The number has grown by 25 percent in ten years, and is 77 percent higher than 20 years ago. Some 16 percent of thieves were minors last year.
According to police, self-service shops have made shoplifting easier. However, improved surveillance has led to an increase in apprehending thieves.

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