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Americanization in Denmark

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The American language is today one of the most popular spoken language worldwide. With only Chinese being superior to the American language, it is no wonder why the language, culture and fashion has rapidly sneaked up on Denmark, and has started to affect the native languages of the country. We hear or read words and songs from America every day. It could be a song playing in the radio, or a label on a dishwasher, and we don’t even think about it being American. A Danish writer called Dan Turéll once said when he was talking about his youth and the changes in the Danish community, “USA was like the big brother of Denmark”. Globalization is also a hot subject when talking about the Americanization. What are the threats and possibilities that globalization holds for us and the rest of the world? Easy communication all over the world is one aspect of globalization. This appears to be a good thing but many bad things can come out of it. Of course global trading and negotiating is a good thing. China can share their knowledge and science with USA and vice versa. But terrorists can also exploit the global communication for example the nowadays pirates in Somalia. They can kidnap some Danes and contact the Danish police or government and ask for a ransom.

Globalization also leads to the world “shrinking”. Cultures will be more alike because it is so easy to travel to the other side of the world and learn from other cultures, buy their food or items and adopt it in to your own culture. This can in worst case scenario end up with having a world that is the same no matter where you go. It doesn’t matter if you are in China or in Mexico. American words and sentences has for a long time, been adopted into the Danish language. At a young age the Danes learn English at elementary school. Therefore the language is accepted and known by a lot of Danes. The Danes use a lot of American words like fuck, download, Walkman and other words they don’t consider American because they have been in the Danish vocabulary for so long.

The Danish culture is being Americanized not only by words and sentences but with songs too. As an example of this I have chosen the Danish pop-band Nephew’s song “Va Fangool!” – Which is an American slang for “fuck you” They start the song by singing in Danish, but with a few grammatical mistakes. In the middle of the first verse they sing “you know what I mean” which isn’t Danish, but American. They also sing the chorus and the whole second verse in American before they switch back to Danish in the last chorus, only to finish it off with some more American singing. When you hear the music you know that the American part is in another language, but you don’t think about because you know the language and you understand the phrases.

In the music video, they show a fish called “Big Mouth Billy Bass” who is a fish that sings when you pass by it. It was very popular in Denmark in the late 1990s and early 2000s. The fish sang a few American songs like “Don’t worry, be happy” by Bobby McFerrin. The Danes started buying this “singing fish” and placed it in their living rooms. The song, along with the fish, shows clear signs of Americanization. And the directors making the videos all know too well what they are doing. And it’s no coincidence why they place the fish in the video. American music video makers are teaming up with makeup artist and a lot of other professionals to make their music videos appealing to the whole world. And the Danes pick up inspiration, fashion, and cultures from rap-artists, models and sports stars. This also distributes to the Americanization in Denmark. The Danes start wearing “bling bling” (expensive shiny jewellery and watches) like the rap stars 50cent and Snoop Dogg do. They talk the same slang and they look up to the stars.

The Americanization has just started and we will begin to see a lot more of this in the future. Already now it can be hard to tell the difference between an American teenager and a Danish teenager by looking at their clothes and jewelry. The Americanization has been successful because USA working hard on expanding globally by promoting themselves. Globalization is an odd thing, it fascinates me how there can be so big of a difference between the wealth and misery of different countries. Many people are afraid of globalization but I think we should embrace it and share the wealth all over the world to make it equal, to form peace and to distinguish poverty and misery. I don’t think any continent should have the ability, financial wise to dominate the world.

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