Is Norwegian Hard To Learn

Is Norwegian hard to learn for English speakers?

Is Norwegian hard to learn for English speakers? It’s fair to say some Scandinavian languages are definitely harder to learn than others. Deciding you’re going to learn to speak Norwegian could mean you have a tough road ahead of you.

While it’s fair to say that Norwegian is one of the easier Scandinavian languages compared to tongues like Finnish or Icelandic. However, if you’ve never tried to learn another language before, getting to grips with Norwegian can be quite the challenge.

As with most things, having the right strategy in place for how you’re going to approach your education can make all the difference.

Today, we’re going to be introducing you to some Norwegian language basics to be aware of if you’re planning on learning the tongue.

We’ll also answer, once and for all, “Is Norwegian difficult to learn?”

Is Norwegian difficult to learn?

So, how hard is it to learn Norwegian? That’s likely to depend on who you ask. For people who already live in the Scandinavian region, it’s pretty easy to learn Norwegian, as there’s some overlap between the Nordic tongues.

One point to keep in mind before you begin looking into Norwegian language basis, is there are different forms of this language.

Minor languages like Sami are common in some parts of Norwegian, but the most common written languages are Nynorsk and Bokmål. Generally, most new students learn Bokmål, because it’s the language most frequently used in towns and cities, while the alternative is more common in rural areas.

The good news is Norwegian is a north Germanic language, and one of the handful of Scandinavian languages which can be quite simple for English speakers to follow. Norwegian shares a lot of components with the English language, and the vocabulary is pretty small compared to a number of other tongues around the world.

Norwegian language basics: The easy parts

So, is it easy to learn Norwegian, or are you going to struggle? For the most part, this depends on you. However, Norwegian isn’t quite as complex as you might think. You already know some Norwegian, in fact, as there are various words in the language almost identical to English.

This is because the Norwegian language comes from Old Norse, and the Vikings — similar to a lot of the English language. Words like anger, birth, cake, dream, and many others are all identical in Norwegian to the words we use in English.

It’s also worth noting the alphabet of Norway is pretty similar to the English language too. There are a few surprises in terms of inflections. There are a total of 29 letters, with three vowel sounds not found in English — æ ø å — but these are quite simple to get your head around.

Is Norwegian Hard To Learn

How hard is it to learn Norwegian?

The Norwegian language can be complicated for a range of reasons. First, it has a variety of regional dialects and accents to be aware of. Most people learning Norwegian will learn the Oslo dialect, commonly referred to as standard Norwegian, or eastern Norwegian.

If you’re living in Oslo or just learning for fun, this isn’t too much of a problem, but you might want to learn more about dialect if you’re planning to move to a specific part of Norway. Some dialects are definitely more complicated than others.

Some points to keep in mind:

Letters are complex

When you learn Norwegian, you’ll find it’s difficult to get the pronunciation of “R” exactly right. The rolling “r” sound is very common in this country. Some letters in Norwegian also have multiple pronunciations, which can be extremely difficult to come to terms with as a beginner.

Pronunciation is tough

Outside of coming to terms with the different sounds of languages, you’ll also need to think about various other pronunciation issues too. For instance, the meaning of a lot of words will depend on the tone or how you say them. A slight change in your voice could mean you’re saying a totally different word.

Complicated cognates

There are various cognates in Norwegian which look and sound the same as they would in English. This is a comfort to new learners of a language in some cases, but it’s easy to get too complacent. There are some terms out there which will look familiar but can end up leading you astray.

Some words are untranslatable

There are words which simply don’t translate in virtually all languages, but Norway seems to take the cake here. You might find yourself struggling to find the word for something in Norway that relates to something you would want to say in English.

How long does it take to learn Norwegian?

As one of the simpler languages on the list of options available from the FSI, Norwegian might not take as long to learn as you’d think. The recommended time scale for learning Norwegian is usually around 23 weeks, or 575 hours in total.

This is similar to the amount of time you would dedicate to learning something like Swedish.

Of course, if you’re planning on moving to Norway, you’d probably want to invest a little more time into becoming fluent. This could mean spending more time practicing your pronunciation and grammar.

Fortunately, there are plenty of people in Norway you can practice with — though you’ll have to make sure you’re speaking the right dialect.

If you’re keen to speed up the learning process, it always helps to have the right resources and materials on-hand.

Try something like:

Is Norwegian Hard To Learn

Is it easy to learn Norwegian?

Compared to other Scandinavian languages, Norwegian is one of the more accessible options for beginners. You can learn to speak Norwegian reasonably quickly, provided you’re willing to put the time in.

If you’re thinking of learning how to speak Norwegian, the following tips will help:

Revise your English first

A good grasp of English will make it much easier to take other languages on board. This is particularly true when you learn Norwegian, as a lot of the words between the two tongues are quite similar.

Listen to Norwegian

Pronunciation is often one of the most complicated parts of Norwegian, so listening to other people talk on the radio or in TV shows can be very helpful. There are even tools you can use for learning which allow you to listen to someone speaking the words to get the sound right.

Practice regularly

Practice makes perfect. The more time you dedicate to learning Norwegian each day, the faster you’ll pick up the basics. Commit a little bit of time each day to practicing your words and phrases.

You can even consider keeping a language diary where you record what you learn each day or asking friends to quiz you.

Visit Norway

Unless you’re lucky enough to have Norwegian friends nearby, you’re going to have a hard time practicing Norwegian in an authentic setting. Visiting Norway and speaking to some of the locals is a great way to expand your skills.

People in Norway are very friendly, so they often won’t mind helping you out.

Use the right tools

Experiment with books, learning applications, videos, and anything else you can find to teach you a little more about Norwegian language basics. You shouldn’t have too much trouble finding something suitable for your learning style.

Why Learn Norwegian?

If you’re wondering whether learning Norwegian is worth it — this all depends on you. If you’re looking for a Scandinavian language to discover, and you don’t want to expose yourself to anything too complicated, Norwegian is a good place to start. It’s one of the simpler Nordic languages out there, similar to Swedish and Danish.

Learning Norwegian, just like any language, can help to improve your memory skills, and make you more appealing when you’re applying for jobs. Having another language on your resume really gets attention when you want to stand out from the crowd. Something less common, like Norwegian, can also help to break the ice in your interviews.

Of course, one of the best reasons to learn Norwegian is if you want to move to Norway. If you’re thinking of taking advantage of the beautiful, happy lifestyle Norway has to offer, an education in Norwegian is a must. You could even test out learning the language while you’re figuring out if you want to make the move.

Scandification: Discovering Scandinavia.

Now read these:
How similar are the nordic languages?
Mastering the Danish language basics
Is Swedish hard for English speakers?
The basics of the Finnish language
Getting to grips with the Icelandic language

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