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Having lots of Norwegian friends, I set up a Duolingo account some time ago to learn Norwegian. I managed to fill my first pyramid with gold circles (which means you’ve done all the practice and testing required for that level, and passed) and then I let it slip by the wayside.

Although many Norwegians speak English, most of their written culture is in Norwegian. I also find it horribly ignorant when a person moves to another country and refuses to learn the language. So last week I re-visted my Duolingo profile. My first-stage pyramid is looking less than impressive these days:

The problem with Duolingo is that it often doesn’t take into account context of a sentence, nor does it factor in the half a dozen or so dialects, variations in spelling and pronunciations of different phrases all over the country. Most Norwegians can understand each other without issue, however, so that’s something. According to Duolingo, you can pronounce a Norwegian word almost any way you can think, and somewhere in Norway you’d meet someone who pronounced it the same way.

I’m not entirely sure if I believe that, but we’ll see. My aim is to put in 30-60 minutes a day trying to get those gold circles back. At the very least, being able to ask for help, order food and ask for simple directions is something that I feel will be integral to my life in Norway, once I am there.

Tags : bilingualduolingolearn another languagelearn norsklearn norwegiansolo female travelertravelervan life

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