Monthly Archives: March 2015

How to learn Norwegian

Norwegian is actually a fairly obscure language when it comes down to it. There are only 5 million speakers of Norwegian in the entire world, and not a ton of demand to learn it, so that means that most language learning companies ignore Norwegian. For instance, Rosetta Stone does not currently offer a Norwegian program (though they do offer a Swedish program). No matter, there are still plenty of resources out there, it’s just a matter of finding them. I have bought 2 textbooks, a Norwegian-English dictionary, and I am using a deck of Anki flash cards. If you aren’t familiar with Anki, it’s flashcard software, which follows a supposedly researched pattern of presenting you with flashcards as soon as you were about to forget them, and does continual review. It has been fantastic for helping to increase my vocabulary, and helping it to stick. Additionally, the deck of flashcards that I have also include a native speaker saying the phrases, which allows me to hear the correct pronunciation, as well as practising hearing Norwegian. The 2 textbooks that I have are really nice as well. One of them is a textbook that came with audio CDs, which are useful for practising listening skills, and the other textbook is actually a book that explains the Norwegian grammar, in a clear, precise, English way. This has been very helpful to making my Norwegian be not just intelligible, but actually correct.

The textbook with the audio can be found here, and the grammar book can be found here. The dictionary I use is here, though I suspect that any dictionary will do just fine, and the set of flashcards that I use can be found here, and the program you need to download (anki) can be found here.

Oh, and one last super important thing, I’ve made a bunch of Norwegian friends to help me out when I have specific questions that the books don’t answer, and to have conversations with in Norwegian. That is an incredibly important part of truly learning the language! 800px-Flag_of_Norway_tiny

Why I am obsessed

Many people ask me why I’m obsessed with Norway, and why I have latched on so hard to the idea of visiting there, learning the language, and maybe one day moving there. I figure the first blog post should explain the reason that I’m so obessed with Norway!

Norway is an absolutely beautiful country. From the fjords, to the snow, to the quaint city life, it is a gorgeous place.

HDRtist HDR -

Taken from flickr user Dave Hilditch Photography CC BY-NC 2.0

Norway is a unitary constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary system of government, wherein the King of Norway is the head of state and the Prime Minister is the head of government. In practice however, the King does not involve himself in the politics of Norway, and all decisions are left with the elected government. So in practice, Norway is a democracy, the same as the US. Norway’s government tends to have a very socialist lean, which is something that I really enjoy. A country’s government should take care of its citizens, and Norway definitely does that, in many ways. The taxes are high, but that’s fine, as the taxes are used to provide very good services to Norwegians.

Norway is incredibly LGBT friendly, far more so than any state in the US. Nationally, sexual orientation and gender identity and expression are protected, and culturally speaking, the vast majority of the population has absolutely no problem with LGBT people.

The primary language of Norway is Norwegian, although most people between the ages of 10 and 60 speak English fluently. I have always wanted to be bilingual, so why not Norwegian!

Norway’s climate is relatively temperate, given how far north it is, due to the coastal nature of most of the country. Oslo, the country’s capital, has relatively mild, but warm summers, and nice and cold winters. The average high in July in Oslo is 22°C (72°F) and the average low in the winter is -7°C (19°F). And Norway gets plenty of snow in the winter, far more than Mississippi! Norway has an average of 53 snowy days a year, compared to Mississippi 0-1. All parts of Norway get snow in the winter, and many of the mountains have snow year round at the top. And I absolutely love snow and winter weather!


Satellite photo of Norway, Sweden, and part of Finland in the winter of 2003

There are plenty of other reasons I am obsessed with Norway, but these are all I can think of offhand. The bottom line is that Norway is an awesome country, and I am very excited to visit! 800px-Flag_of_Norway_tiny