hård OR svær
The words hård and svær are synonymous in some cases, but there are some tricky distinctions and nuances.
HÅRD | HARD
Physically/mentally demanding (high intensity or amount), causes suffering; physical attributes of an object.
Hård is usually something either physically or mentally demanding.
Hård træning, hårdt arbejde, hård konkurrence, et hårdt liv.
Hard training, hard work, hard competition, a hard life.
Think of this as something that makes you suffer a bit. A hard winter, having to wake up early every day etc.
It can, of course, also just be something that is physically hard… Like... en hård banan… A hard banana. Which isn’t what you may think. A hard banana is actually a tough person (A tough cookie, in English).
Okay, bad example, so how about a stone or a mattress ;)
SVÆRT | DIFFICULT
Result-based, methods/applying techniques, situations/problems, understanding.
Svært, on the other hand, is not focused on the amount or intensity of something, but rather the application or technique of something, the result or how easy it is to acquire a skill.
If we take training as an example: Running a marathon isn’t svært (if you have two legs and determination you can do it) but it can be hårdt (because of the training leading up to it and the strain it puts on your body).
On the other hand, It isn’t hårdt to stand on one leg for a full minute (it’s not extremely physically demanding and most people can do it) but it can be svært because you need to keep your balance.
In relation to learning a language
To learn more watch the video below.