Saturday, March 26, 2011

Northerners Say It Best

Can one dialect sound more appealing than another? For Norwegians, this seems to be the case. In a recent survey conducted by InFact AS, Norwegians chose nordlendingene—those living in the far north of Norway—as most attractive sounding.

More than ten percent of respondents chose Norway's northernmost dialects as their favorite. It's perhaps a bit surprising, then, that sørlandsk—the dialect spoken in the far south—came in second place. The dialects spoken in Trondelag and Bærum (an community southwest of Oslo) tied for third place.

Why not judge for yourself? You can hear samples of all these dialects and dozens more on this audio database. The instructions are in Norwegian, but you can hear a sample by clicking the map of Norway. When the larger map appears, chose any location. Each dialect is identified by place (sted), municipality (kommune) and county (fylke). Listen to the sample by selecting one of the audio files (.wav or .mp3).

Want to learn more about Norwegian dialects? You can check out my feature story "What Did You Say?" in the March issue of Viking!

Amy Boxrud is editor of Viking magazine. She lives with her family in Northfield, Minn., where she’s a member of Nordmarka 1-585.)

Map image by NordNordWest.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Presidential Tour 2011

If you’ve been reading the last few issues of Viking magazine, then you’ve probably seen the ads promoting the 2011 Presidential Tour of Norway, which departs this fall and is hosted by International President Dan Rude. This is only the second time we’ve done a tour like this in the decade-plus that I’ve been with Sons of Norway, so it’s obviously a very special trip.

But what makes this trip even more special is that those who go will get to see the very best that Norway has to offer! From 800-year-old stave churches and UNESCO World Heritage Sites, to modern cities and upscale accommodations throughout, tour participants are in for a trip of a lifetime. Thos who decide to jump at this amazing opportunity will experience:
  • Local culture and cuisine in a number of Norwegian cities, including Oslo, Bergen Sogndal and more
  • The Oslo Folkemuseum
  • Seven stave churches, including Gol, Heddal, Lom, Urnes
  • The Viking Ship Museum
  • Hadeland Glassverk
  • The famous Flåm railway     
Over the next week or so I’ll be blogging about all the great places the tour will visit. Join me as we begin tomorrow with the first day in Oslo. In the meantime, if you want to learn more about the tour, be sure to contact Linda McCormick at Borton Overseas by calling (800) 843-0602 ext. 12.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

You, Too, Can Speak Norwegian!

I came across a blog post this week that highlighted many of the cognates between Norwegian and English. It's a great reminder of how approachable Norwegian is for us speakers of English. (Although my personal favorite cognate was omitted: egg.) You don't speak Norwegian yet? Learning it is easier than you might think!

As a student at St. Olaf, I was required to study three semesters of a foreign language. And while I chose Norwegian out of an interest in the culture and my heritage, there were others who picked it for its reputation of being the easiest language to learn. In addition to its similar vocabulary, the grammar and sentence structure are, indeed, very English-friendly.

Another reason to learn Norwegian: it's really three languages for the price of one! By learning Norwegian, you'll also find Swedish (especially when spoken) and (written) Danish quite understandable, giving you linguistic inroads to 20 million people.

You can learn a new Norwegian word or phrase each month by checking out Spread the Word, a bite-sized language lesson found in each issue of Viking magazine. You'll find language-learning resources on the Sons of Norway website, too.

So why not take a few minutter (minutes) to brew yourself en kopp kaffe (a cup of coffee), find yourself a comfy place å sitte (to sit), and do a little looking through an ord bok (literally "word book," or dictionary) to see just how easy learning Norwegian can be!

Amy Boxrud is editor of Viking magazine. She lives with her family in Northfield, Minn., where she’s a member of Nordmarka 1-585.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Glass Act

When Karen Hansen was researching "A Glass Act," the Viking cover feature for March, she came up with more glassblowing resources than we could pack into the available pages. For glassblowing enthusiasts, here are a few more sites to check out.

Pilchuck Glass School in Stanwood, Washington and Pittsburgh Glass Center offer classes for students at a wide range of experience levels. And if you're really serious about finding a glassblowing program, here's an article that can help you find the right one for you. To see artisans in action, you can watch live streaming video of glassblowers from The Hot Shop at the Museum of Glass in Tacoma, Washington. The live video is streamed during the museum's normal hours of operation.

Can't get enough of Norwegian glass? Join Sons of Norway International President Dan Rude on a Presidential Tour of Norway in September. The tour includes a tour of the Hadeland Glass Factory. For more information, contact Borton Overseas.

You can read Hansen's article about the history of glassblowing and southern Norway's "glassblowing belt" in the March issue of Viking!

Amy Boxrud is editor of Viking magazine. She lives with her family in Northfield, Minn., where she’s a member of Nordmarka 1-585.

Photo courtesy of Flickr user crankyuser.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Meet the 2010 Norwegian Experience Winner

Sons of Norway and Borton Overseas are very excited to announce the latest winner of the Norwegian Experience recruitment contest, Nancy Madson! As the 2010 winner, Nancy and a guest will be spending nine days visiting some of Norway’s most scenic and historic places, including UNESCO World Heritage sites and several stave churches.

A member since 1990, Nancy has held numerous lodge leadership positions and is currently vice president of Solskinn 6-150 and a District 6 zone director. I had an opportunity to speak with Nancy and learn more about her as well as the upcoming trip.

What do you like most about your lodge?
“We really are planning some great activities at the lodge. We have several cultural skills groups in hardanger, music and rosemaling, a literature blog and a folk dancing group as well as a lunch and supper club. We also are doing some great succession planning for our lodge leadership.”

Why did you join Sons of Norway?
“I grew up in Mankato, Minnesota and had always been surrounded by other Norwegian-Americans, but I never had any exposure to Sons of Norway until I moved to Southern California and saw an ad in the paper for a lodge that was just starting. I was so surprised that there were other Norwegians in that part of the country that I decided to attend the event. I had always had an interest in my heritage and had attended Nordic Fest in the past, but my interest really increased after the loss of my parents—when it is too late to ask questions about bunads and family recipes.”

Were you recruited?
“No, I attended a lodge meeting after seeing an ad in the local paper. It turns out that the meeting that I attended was only the 2nd meeting the lodge had ever held and they asked me to become the publicity director for the lodge—I hadn’t even officially joined yet but I said yes!”

Do you have any family in Sons of Norway?
“I have a sister and niece that are both members. At one time I had purchased gift memberships for all of my siblings and a distant relative in Norway. My nephew and niece both have a strong interest in their heritage. My nephew wants to learn how to make lefse and my sister has been teaching my niece and grandniece Norwegian baking. It’s really important to pass our heritage and traditions on to others. I don’t have any children, but I enjoy passing on those traditions to my nephew, niece and grandnieces.”

What do you like best about Sons of Norway?
“Many things…mostly the camaraderie. Getting together with people with a shared interest. Membership in Sons of Norway was also good for me on a personal level. I used to be terrified of public speaking! But, when I first became a cultural director I had to learn how to give presentations. Several leadership positions later, I’m much more comfortable and I now give leadership workshops.”

How did you find out that you’d won the Norwegian Experience contest?
“Dan Rude, our International President, left a message on my answering machine saying he would like to talk with me and that he would call back at a different time. My first thought was, ‘oh no something is really wrong in my district!’ Luckily, it was good news and a definite surprise!”

What are you most looking forward to when you travel to Norway?
“I’m really looking forward to seeing so many stave churches. I traveled to Norway in 2000 to attend the International Convention in Stavanger, but that was 11 years ago. I’m really looking forward to seeing the differences and things that have changed since the last time I was in Norway. I’m also looking forward to enjoying the trip with others. We’ll be joining attendees of the Presidential Tour so it will be a lot of fun to experience Norway with other members.”

The contest is open to anyone who recruited at least one new member last year. How many new members did you recruit and do you have any tips to share about recruiting?
“I didn’t recruit that many, 4. I know there are people who recruited many more people than me--it really is all the luck of the draw! Over the years we’ve tried a few recruiting ideas and letter writing campaigns, but simply asking others in your community works. Just recently I was at a Chamber mixer and someone overheard a conversation I was having with another person about lutefisk and that peaked the person’s interest. I always have copies of Viking magazine in my car, so I went out and grabbed them a copy and showed them what they’re missing.”

Be sure to check in with us in the coming months as we continue to blog about the big trip, and don’t forget you, too, can be eligible to win the Norwegian Experience! Check out the Norwegian Experience 2011 ads in the March and upcoming April issue of Viking to learn more or call 800-945-8851.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Norway's Skiers Dominate Nordic Worlds

Congratulations to Norway on their spectacular showing in the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships! When the games came to a close in Oslo on Sunday, Norway had amassed a whopping 20 medals, including 8 golds. The nearest competitors were Austria with 10 medals and Sweden with 5.

There were plenty of exciting moments during the championships, but one I found particularly moving was when 22-year-old Therese Johaug won gold in the Women's 30 km (18 mile) race. After a week of foggy weather, the sun broke through and helped energize the crowd of 100,000 fans to add an extra boost to the home-field advantage.

For more coverage of the FIS championships, check out this summary from the English language website "News and Views from Norway."

Amy Boxrud is editor of Viking magazine. She lives with her family in Northfield, Minn., where she’s a member of Nordmarka 1-585.