I have read that Kierkegaard besides his mother tongue danish only learned to speak a little german.

But he off course knew how to read and write greek and latin very well.

But how about other languages?

Related language anecdote:
When Kierkegaard lived the rule in Denmark was that dissertations were mandatory to be written in latin, but Kierkegaard applied to the danish King for a dispensation from the rules. His dissertation was therefore written in danish, but he made his verbal defense in latin.

1 Answer 1


See at least: Alastair Hannay, Kierkegaard: A Biography (2003), page 46:

He [Søren] entered the university in October with the good grades in all his entry examinations expected of a pupil from the School of Civic Virtue, and with distinction (laud prae ceteris) in Greek, history, French, and – to his fellow-pupils’ great surprise – Danish composition. His first university examinations (the two-stage propaedeutic second examination [Anden examen], which he took in April and October 1831, the first examination being for his school-leaving diploma) embraced science as well as the liberal arts. The first part comprised Latin, Greek, Hebrew, history, and lower mathematics. He received laud prae caeteris in mathematics and laudabilis in all the others. The second part comprised theoretical philosophy, practical philosophy, physics, and higher mathematics. Here he received laud prae ceteris in all subjects.

  • 1
    Good find. One should be aware of the fact that Hebrew at that time pretty much had been a dead language for centuries just like latin, see Wikipedia. Hence, it should not count as a spoken, but only written language in that list.
    – Philip Klöcking
    Jan 10, 2018 at 15:03

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .