Monday, February 6, 2012

Learning the Language

I waited awhile before taking my first Norwegian class...and I'm glad I did. 

After a wildly crazy summer that included the wedding and a family camping trip not long after, moving 5200 miles away from my sunny hometown, family, and friends, setting up a new apartment, and starting a new job...I needed to rest. That was okay because I knew and had no problem speaking a few key phrases even before I arrived. I could, for example, say "Can you speak English?" (Snakker du engelsk?), "I'll have a white wine, please" (Jeg vil ha et glass hvit vin, takk), and "Where is the toilet?" (Hvor er toalettet? And hope that when they answer they use more body language than descriptive words...).

I knew my numbers, the alphabet (sort of, there's 3 extra letters in the alphabet that aren't exactly easy for people learning the language: æ, ø, å; plus the "r" is notoriously awkward for Americans), and I knew other things like the days of the week, months of year, etc.) I could get by, and that was enough for the first 5 months. 

And then the darkness came. And the family get-togethers. And the general desire to communicate - to listen comprehensively and speak coherently. I spoke to people about where to take a class, did some research, and 3750 NOK later (roughly 650 US $) plus another $200 ish for books, I currently sit in a class of about 12 other students with a fantastic teacher who speaks just slow enough. 

I leave class feeling quite confident - until I run into the real world where people don't speak that slowly or that patiently. Or maybe they speak an entirely different dialect. This is tricky business, this learning a new language thing. In any case, I can read a bit more, and I'm understanding a lot with all these new words I've learned. 

This is good...just a few more months and *cross your fingers* I'll be able to have a decent conversation! 


  1. Glad to hear your new class is going well, in my opinion its all down to the teacher in small classes (Well okay maybe not ALL but a lot of it.) Sadly I forked out a fortune and ended up in a class of around 30 with a teacher that took one of the (paid for) days a week off and left us to it! I may as well have stayed home on those days. Either way - It wasn't worth it and has tainted the idea of Norwegian classes for me as I spent a fortune and the pace was just too slow for me (mainly as the class had many non-english speakers and hte class was taught in English/Norwegian.) Sigh.

    I envy your lovely class, hope it all continues well - I might look for another school and brave the language classes again!

  2. I can relate to the feeling! The course will do wonders & stumbling through convo's with the in-laws makes you better and better each time you do it : ) Lykke til!!