Whether you’re already in Norway or you’re thinking about a move, your journey towards learning Norwegian in 2018 starts here.
Are you ready to learn Norwegian in 2018? Modern tools and technologies have transformed language learning, but the fundamentals still remain. Here’s our top tips for learning the language over the next 12 months.
Yes, really. This is especially relevant if you haven’t ever studied a foreign language, or haven’t learned one for years. Understanding the structure of English makes it so much easier to take on board how a new language differs. So if you don’t know your past participles and subject-verb agreements, take a moment to brush up on your native tongue. It will be time well spent! It’s also a useful exercise for non-native speakers as you’ll almost always need to learn Norwegian through English, no matter your native language.
It’s a marathon, not a sprint. Language learning is a ‘step’ process. You’ll make little breakthroughs along the way, such as your first conversation in a coffee bar, the first time you complete a conversation with a Norwegian who doesn’t feel the need to switch to English, the first time you understand a newspaper story, the first time you complete a phone conversation in Norwegian, and so on. But the in between steps can be tough. It can often feel like you’re making no progress until you achieve one of these ‘steps’, but in reality you’re making progress every time you study.
Online courses & apps
Online courses are springing up to help beginners learn Norwegian. These are especially useful for people living outside Norway and/or find attending regular classes in-person difficult. The two I’ve personally used in the past are the more traditional lessons of Norwegian Class 101 and the story-based approach of The Mystery of Nils. Studying online can also be a great accompaniment to in-person classes, which brings me on to…
Apps such as Duolingo and Memrise are a great way to reinforce what you’ve learned in the online courses, every single day. Both apps are free and offer paid versions with more features, but we’ve found the free apps to be really useful.
Vary your approach
Don’t just rely on one book or one course. The best way to learn any language is to absorb as much material as you can in as many forms as possible. Remember that a language isn’t just about reading! Norwegian TV, YouTubers, NRK podcasts, online newspapers, apps, and films are all great ways to mix up your language learning. If you’re starting out, try the Klar Tale online newspaper and podcast, written and spoken in simple Norwegian.
Don’t ignore dialects!
Norwegian has a rich variety of regional dialects. Most Norwegian learners will be learning to speak and hear the Oslo dialect, sometimes referred to as standard Norwegian, or eastern Norwegian. That’s fine if you’ll be living in Oslo or are just learning for fun, but if you plan to live in Stavanger, Bergen, Trondheim, rural Norway, or the Arctic region, you must include some local language resources into the mix!
If you’re not already living in Norway, visiting the country is a great way to put the theory into practice. We’ve heard from many people who’ve learned Norwegian from books in the USA only to have come to Norway and not understood a word. Start planning your trip using our Norway travel guide and give yourself a hard deadline for your language learning journey!