Learning Norwegian

Updated 2009-09-02 09:35

Learning the Norwegian language is like learning a combination of caveman grammar with the addition of some interesting monkey noises. There is a weird juxtaposition when learning the language. The grammar seems amazingly simple--so far, yet the teacher pretends its incredibly difficult. And, Norwegians from different areas of Norway can barely understand each other because of the varying dialects, so the grammar must be simple in order for them to communicate with the next city, 45 minutes away. Thank goodness Seattlelites don't speak differently from Gig Harbor residents! I am seriously considering establishing my own dialect. It will be the special "foreigner Norwegian." We'll see if it catches on.

Learning the caveman grammar is simple at this point. Unlike Spanish, the verbs do not conjugate with the subject. For example, I am eating is Jeg spiser. Directly translated it is: "I eating." (sound caveman like??) You are eating is Du spiser. Directly translated: "You eating." The sad part is, the teacher took 7 days of classes, totaling at least 13 hours of class to teach us this simple concept. The grammar is simple at this point, but the pronunciation is rough.

Norwegians have three extra vowel sounds. Think of the English alphabet, then add three monkey noises that are a variation of the already existing A, E, and O vowels. That is the Norwegian alphabet. The difficulty comes with making these noises. My American ears are not trained to hear these sounds, and my tongue is not used to being less active.

Unfortunately, because the extra vowel sounds are difficult to master, the Norwegian instructor thinks that learning the language is difficult, and thus teaches us at a pace too slow for preschoolers.

Simple conclusion, learning Norwegian is not nearly as difficult as Norwegians think it is for foreigners. Their language seems simple and straight forward. Learning to sound like a Norwegian (and make unusual monkey type ahhhhs and ohhhhhhs) is the most difficult part. Of course, my opinion may change greatly when we get into past tense and other technicalities.

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.