Friday, October 17, 2008

Want to Learn Norwegian?

This week we've got another great article from the Culture desk! Colin Thomsen has put together a great piece about where folks can find Norwegian language lessons online.

Want to impress your relatives? Need to learn a few phrases for that trip coming up? Got some old letters you’d like to translate? Whatever your goals, Sons of Norway can help you get started learning the Norwegian language.

Our website,, has two great language programs for members. The first one, “Norwegian in 5 Minutes a Month,” consists of 37 lessons of simple phrases, written in Norwegian with English translations and pronounced by native speakers. They are all aimed at the beginner level, but they will give you a sense of what the language sounds like and how it works. The second, newer program is called “Norwegian for Reading Comprehension.” As the title indicates, this program focuses on reading for general understanding, rather than speaking or writing. Norwegian for Reading Comprehension shows you how the Norwegian language works and teaches you a strategy for breaking down sentences, paragraphs and passages piece by piece. Since there’s so much variation in the Norwegian language, this program includes instruction on the two different forms of the written language as well as tips about reading older texts.

To try either of these programs, just sign into the “Members Login” section of If you’re not yet a member, you can join instantly by clicking here.

If you’re interested in studying Norwegian at a local university, check out this list from the Less Commonly Taught Languages project. For more information and help about learning the language generally, check out Norskklassen, a free online community and resource bank. There are also many fine books, CD-ROMs and other tools available from Viking Magazine advertisers.

Lately we at the Culture Desk have been spending more of our free time than we would like to admit brushing up on our Old Norse with this free online introduction to the language. Old Norse, of course, is the language of Viking-era Scandinavia, the ancestor language that spawned modern Norwegian, Swedish, Danish, Icelandic and Faroese (and a few others…more on that another time). Generally speaking languages have become much more user-friendly in the last thousand years, so the grammar of Old Norse can be quite challenging. But then again, we at the Culture Desk never shrink from a challenge, especially one that’s grammatical in nature. This course starts nice and slow and uses a healthy dose of humor and sarcasm that we appreciate, plus it emphasizes vocabulary words that one needs for reading myths and sagas. Pretty cool.

Pretty cool, indeed. Thanks again, Colin. We hope you enjoyed today's blog post and hope you'll let us know what other kinds of information you'd like to learn about in the future. Leave us a comment below and let us know your thoughts. Have a great weekend everyone!


BlommisLis said...

I just want to say the Norwegian language learning resources posted on the SoN website are just fantastic. There's so much to pick from at every level of mastery! I grew up in Norway and lived there for 9 years, from age 9-17. We started learning the language before we left the US. Dad taught us at home and through our associations with the Sons of Norway lodges in the Brooklyn, NY area. We spent many hours sounding out words and trying our hand at pronouncing words we never dreamed of. Talk about calisthenics of the tongue! Woooowwwww.

Thing is, it's never too late to learn language! You bond with people and and form life long connections you never forget. I'm 48 now. I live in the Tampa Bay area of Florida's west coast and finally have some time to enjoy some "refreshers" in Norsk and Nynorsk. I also want to brush up on every day Norwegian and ultimately enjoy a serious immersion back into advanced Norwegian.

We have lots of Norwegian books and literature on hand that I can read at mom and dad's place which is great, but I also wanted on-line tools. When I attended Eikeli Gymnas, I chose a language education track. You haven't lived until you've translated from Engelsk to Norsk Bokmaal to Nynorsk and back. It's wild! Then you factor in learning German and French, REALLY wild. You learn so much in the process, too. can imagine my delight on perusing all the Norwegian language resources at the SoN website. It's a huge feast for any language buff. The research and sound bites are phenomenal, and I must confess, they made me very homesick. I miss Norway very much and hope to return there in the future to connect with family and friends. Anyway, I just wanted to say - mange takk - for an outstanding language link!

Mexican Viking said...

Hi Erik!
What's the best way to contact you?

Erik Evans said...

The best way to contact myself, or Colin, who originally wrote this post is to e-mail eevans at