Norwegian – Week 1

Ah, Norway~

So I’m giving Norwegian ago. Sure it’s a bit ‘out of the way’ and to some, kind of a strange choice to go for to learn a language but that’s never stopped me before. I’m not planning a trip to Norway at the moment, I’m not that lucky, but I do find the language oddly attractive in a linguistic sense; it’s got a rich history, being descendent from Old Norse, the language of the Vikings and, at one time, much of Europe. But also, spoken Norwegian just sounds so exotic and enticing, its sounds seem really foreign and unusual to me and I’d like to be able to speak like that myself. I’ve heard it’s got a relatively simple grammar when compared to German or Polish, for example, but I’m going to test this out for myself.

As far as I know, Norwegian is really heavily dialectal, so the way people speak in different towns may be radically different from each other to the point where it can sometimes become incomprehensible. Norway’s a big place, so at times I wonder if learning Norwegian is even worth it if I won’t be able to understand anyone. But, with such an interesting linguistic background, I just couldn’t stay away. Norwegian has two main standards, both of which are taught in schools; Nynorsk (literally ‘New Norwegian’, an average of all Norwegian dialects in one language) and Bokmål (literally ‘Book language’, a version of Norwegian heavily influenced by Danish, also the most widely spoken standard), the latter of having more widely available resources for where I live.

I’m going to be learning on Duolingo which has a free course on Norwegian Bokmål. But I’m not using Duolingo just because it’s free, I’m using it because it’s a platform that I find works really well for me. Along with this, I’m also going to be talking with people from Norway through italki.com which helps you find language partners from all over the world to practice with. That whole philosophy of ‘use the language from day 1’ is going to be in full play here. Anyway, what’s going to be on the gender? Well, first of all, I’m taking time to learn the basic greetings:

  • God morgon – Good morning
  • God kveld – Good evening
  • Hvordan har du det – How are you?
  • Takk – Thank you
  • Hyggelig å møte deg – Nice to meet you
  • Ha det bra – Goodbye

Now I just need to try and memorise them.

Learning the greeting is almost the important foundation of the language and you always need to know how to introduce yourself and make yourself understood. I’ll tackle the grammar at a latter stage but this is what I need to focus on for now.

Speaking a little about grammar for a moment though, there is something unique which Norwegian has in common with most of the Nordic language actually; a suffixed definite article. By which I mean, essentially the word ‘the’ in English. In Norwegian, however, this isn’t always a separate word, but rather an ending to a noun. For example, the word for ‘museum’ is spelt exactly the same as in English, but to say ‘the museum’ you have to say ‘museet’. Or ‘woman’ would be ‘kvinne’ but ‘the woman’ would be ‘kvinnen’. I’ve also noticed this ties in with plurals too; ‘women’ would be ‘kvinner’, while ‘the women’ is ‘kvinnene’. This is probably going to be really confusing at first…

Anyway, that’s my little introduction to Norwegian so far. I’m going to write an update on my learning it every week (hopefully), and when I feel confident enough, I’m going to try and write (very poorly) an article in Norwegian.

Until then, ha det bra!

Title picture: https://norway.nordicvisitor.com/travel-deals/self-drive-tours/natural-wonders-of-norway/41/