Learn about the Norwegian language here, but wait - how many languages do they really have??
Norway has three, official, written languages.
Bokmål, Nynorsk and Same.
To further complicate things, two of the languages are known by two different names each, bokmål/riksmål and nynorsk/landsmål, both of these languages are spoken here and there around the country - no rules, however, the nynorsk or landsmål language is usually spoken in rural areas.
The third language is Sami and is spoken mostly in the utmost northern part of Norway.
Click on the link below to hear the Norwegian artist, Odd Nordstoga, sing a funny song in nynorsk/landsmål.
Another unusual fact to uncover is the three extra vowels in the Norwegian language....
WHAT? - You must be kidding!
Oh yes, Norway has three extra letters in their alphabet... Click on the letters to see how they are pronounced. æ Æ, ø Ø, and å Å. Doesn't that look like fun? You can't speak or write much Norwegian without these three little vowels.
To find out how these wovels are used in words, click
Norwegian Village. (above)
Learn more about the Norwegian language and the dialects of Norway...
To make the Norwegian language even more exciting and difficult, each village and town have their own dialect. Even a few kilometers away from our village, some pronunciations and expressions are different than ours - no surprise, Norway has hundreds of dialects.
The further away from your village or town you are, the bigger the difference in dialects. It is so pronounced, you can hear immediately what area people are from by the way they speak.
Which one of the 3 Norwegian languages are spoken in most rural areas?
Nynorsk/Landsmål is usually spoken in rural areas, and IF you speak in the dialect of that area - you understand everything, of course, BUT...if you don't understand, try English. HE-HE
Sometimes Norwegians have a hard time understanding each other. That sounds like a joke but listen to this...
A while back, I spent a few days in Oslo, the capital city, I did some shopping and needed some help to find a particular store. I asked someone for direction and spoke my Isfjord's dialect - believe me, or not, they did not understand me - so I chose to speak English instead and...NO PROBLEM, they understood me fine and gave me the help I needed.
My mother speaks riksmål in Helgelandsk dialect, totally different than the way I speak, in my landsmål Isfjord's dialect, but we two understand each other very well.
Both my sister in laws speak Norwegian, but different dialects, Marit speaks Landsmål in Hordalandsk dialect and Gerd Merete speak Riksmål in Trøndersk dialect.
Norwegian School Children (above)
In Norway, children begin learning English in first grade at the age of six.
My children and I spent one year there when they were 9 and 10 years old. They attended the same school I went to as a child.
It was a little difficult for them at first, but it became easier every day. Their friends at school were learning English and my kids were learning Norwegian, so they helped each other.
When the Norwegian pupils had English classes I taught my children Norwegian in a separate classroom. Of course, they learned Norwegian every day, at home and everywhere else.
Now, as adults, they both speak Norwegian. It's very natural and convenient for us to have conversations in Norwegian.
Students from all over the world come to Norway to study.
If you want to learn something – you can!
Foreign Students Skiing in Norway.
The same Students after Skiing... don't give up!!!
I began learning English on my own when I was nine years old. English was not part of the curriculum in the first six years of education in the public schools then.
One day when I was outside playing with my friends, English tourists, a couple from Cape Town, South Africa, spoke to me and pointed to our tall, beautiful blue mountain peaks.
Isfjorden Blue Mountains
I was pretty sure they were speaking English and I tried to communicate with them, but all I did was a struggle, waving my arms, and trying to make my Norwegian words sound English. Must have been very funny.
I made new friends, but communicating was difficult. I gave them my address and they began sending letters to me when they returned to Cape Town. Dad helped me reply to them in the beginning, but after a while, I could write English myself.
I quickly realized that in order to correspond with my new friends I had to learn English. Dad gave me a book on learning
English and I were hooked.
As a Norwegian, I had to work extra hard differentiating between v and w and making the th sound as in the word the correctly. It took a while, but I mastered it eventually. Well, that is almost true, sometimes I have problems with v's and w's - I think it is a Norwegian thing.
Because I had studied English on my own, English was a breeze when it became part of my curriculum in school.
I discovered early, if you want to learn something, you will.
So, if learning a language is on your list of things to do - hit the books now!