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.


Debbie said...

My parents spoke Norwegian in our home when they didn't want us kids to know what they were saying. At this point in my life, I wish I had paid more attention. :)

I follow a blog called "My Little Norway" and L-Jay has Norwegian lessons posted. I hope to work my way through them for my next visit to Norway. For now, I communicate with many of my Norwegian relatives on Facebook using Google Translate.

Thanks for the interesting post and also the available resources. I do want to learn to speak Norwegian.


Erik Evans said...

That's a great comment, Debbie. I'm a big fan of the folks who run the "My Little Norway" blog! The Norwegian lessons are very good and L-Jay often posts the most exquisite photos, too.

Dianne said...

I have found that if you try to translate from Norwegian to English on Google, there are a lot of words they don't translate at all and some are wrong. I wonder why that is? I even put in the correct extra letters that our alphabet doesn't have, using the Google Norwegian keyboard.