Norwegian language learning by watching and doing / Entertainment / The Foreigner

Norwegian language learning by watching and doing. In the second of two articles, The Foreigner continues focus on issues regarding learning Norwegian, this time looking at alternatives to school/book learning of languages. You may be fortunate if you are learning Norwegian via English (because it is your mother tongue or your best second language). Throughout recorded history, the language of seafaring Norway has been intertwined with that of seafaring EnglandRelations The similarities between the two languages are so striking, that recent linguistic research at the University of Oslo suggests that English be reclassified from the West Germanic group of European languages to the North Germanic group, along with the Scandinavian languages.

learningnorwegian, norwegianlanguagetuition



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Norwegian language learning by watching and doing

Published on Wednesday, 24th July, 2013 at 11:04 under the entertainment category, by M. Michael Brady.
Last Updated on 24th July 2013 at 15:30.

In the second of two articles, The Foreigner continues focus on issues regarding learning Norwegian, this time looking at alternatives to school/book learning of languages.

Scandinavian keyboard
Scandinavian keyboard
Photo: Tomasz Sienicki/Wikimedia Commons


You may be fortunate if you are learning Norwegian via English (because it is your mother tongue or your best second language). Throughout recorded history, the language of seafaring Norway has been intertwined with that of seafaring England

Relations

The similarities between the two languages are so striking, that recent linguistic research at the University of Oslo suggests that English be reclassified from the West Germanic group of European languages to the North Germanic group, along with the Scandinavian languages.

The crutch of connotation is particularly useful for English-speakers. The best før dato on foods sold in shops clearly means the same ‘best before date’. A skip in Norwegian – pronounced nearly like ‘ship’ in English – means the same.  Innumerable other linguistic sleights of hand lurk in everyday texts.

If you know some German, you can use it to build your vocabulary in Norwegian. Words that are similar in German and English also are similar in Norwegian in most cases. A “locomotive” (English) is Lokomotiv (German) and lokomotiv (Norwegian); a ‘flag’ (English) is Flagge (German) and flagg (Norwegian).

But in many cases, the Norwegian word is closer to German than to English whenever an English word is completely different from its German counterpart.

A ‘conductor’ (of an orchestra is) is Dirigent (German) and dirigent (Norwegian); a ‘college’ is Hochschule (German) and høgskole (Norwegian); a ‘flower’ is Blume (German) and blomst (Norwegian); ‘work’ is Arbeit (German) and arbeid (Norwegian).

Child's play?

Other ways of learning are listening to or watching children’s programmes on the radio and TV. The vocabulary is simple and the actors speak clearly and slowly. Look for the word barne (child) in the TV and radio programme listings in newspapers (it should be noted here that the Norwegian word ‘barn’ is closely-related to ‘bairn’ in Scottish, for example).

Watching films on TV can be done with sound in your mother tongue and reading the subtitles in Norwegian. The subtitles sometimes are poorly synchronised with the sound, but their texts will enable you to grasp meaning as you listen to what is said.

If you read the Donald Duck comics as a child, try reading the Norwegian versions, Donald Duck & Co. and other Disney magazines and comics sold by newsagents. Language in comics is simple, colloquial, and correct. You can draw upon your familiarity with the characters in your mother tongue to understand situations and learn words without translating.

And for the best alternative approach to learning Norwegian, eavesdrop on children at play at a day-care centre or primary school. What do you hear? Constant babble. The children aren’t learning Norwegian; they’re just using it while engaged in other activities. Therein lies a cue. Forget about learning language and get involved in an activity focused on something else.

Cultural courses

Moreover, you can join a course dealing with a hobby you enjoy, such as those offered by local husflidslag (’handicraft groups’) or the Kultur og Fritid (‘Culture and leisure’) section of Folkeuniversitet (‘the Adult Education Association’). As the other participants most likely will be Norwegians, you will be immersed in the language, in a topic with which you are familiar.

It is also possible to volunteer for work with a local sports club, rescue service, outdoor life association, or the like. You will learn the language in practice as you work. If you compete in a sport, join its nearest club. Few players in a match on a football ground, for instance, will bother to translate for your benefit. So you will learn by doing.

If you like pre-school children, take a job caring for them at a local day-care centre, which most likely always is in need of part-time or full-time staff. Children use simple language, and they will tell you when you err.

Finally, if you’re a parent of small children attending a day-care or primary school, be sure to attend the parent-teacher meetings – if you’re single, however, mixing with your Norwegian single peers is an efficient language teacher.

As you learn, avoid native speakers of your own mother tongue, though, particularly if it is the language of your home and you must practise Norwegian elsewhere.

Further reading: Recent research suggests that adults can learn as readily as children provided they cast off some of their adult inhibitions; one of the more readable overviews on how that can be done is Old Schooled: You never stop learning like a child, by David Robinson, New Scientist, issue 2918, 24 May 2013, pages 32-35.



Published on Wednesday, 24th July, 2013 at 11:04 under the entertainment category, by M. Michael Brady.
Last updated on 24th July 2013 at 15:30.

This post has the following tags: learningnorwegian, norwegianlanguagetuition.





  
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