Four Things You Should Know When Starting to Learn Norwegian

Just Starting to Learn Norwegian?
Here are Four things You should Know:

So you have decided to start learning the Norwegian language? You´ll be happy to know that due to the many similarities between English and Norwegian, Norwegian has been named the easiest language for English speakers to learn by! Here are four useful pieces of information for those who are just starting to learn the Norwegian language:

  1. Pick the right written language form to learn - Bokmål or Nynorsk. For historical reasons, there are two different written forms of the Norwegian language; Bokmål and Nynorsk. They are so similar that if you are fluent in one, you´ll pretty much be able to understand the other one. However, as a beginner, you should start learning only one of the two forms. Most foreigners and immigrants learn Bokmål. Bokmål is by far the most widely used form, and it is used in all the largest cities of Norway (including in the capital Oslo) - so unless you´re living in one of the municipalities where Nynorsk is the official written form, you´re advised to start learning Bokmål.

  2. Be aware of the different local oral dialects: Throughout Norway, many different local oral dialects are spoken. However, if you are fluent in Norwegian, you will pretty much be able to understand all of these dialects, as they are not that different from each other. Typically, audio resources for learning Norwegian at lower levels mainly use the dialect spoken in Oslo and the surrounding areas, which is sometimes referred to as "standard østnorsk".

  3. Be aware of grammatical gender: Norwegian nouns are grouped into three categories according to the nouns´ grammatical gender. The three grammatical genders are hankjønn (masculine), hunkjønn (feminine) and intetkjønn (neuter). Whenever you learn a new Norwegian noun, it is essential to make an effort to learn which gender it is - if you don´t, you haven´t fully learned that noun. Grammatical gender of nouns doesn´t exist in English, but it exists in many other languages such as French/Spanish/Italian (two genders) and German/Romanian (three genders). Below are examples of the singular indefinite and definite forms of a masculine, feminine and neuter noun. The colour coded / underlined letters are indicators of which gender each noun is:

    • MASCULINE: en bil (a car) - bilen (the car)

    • FEMININE: ei jakke (a jacket) - jakka (the jacket)

    • NEUTER: et hus (a house) - huset (the house)

  4. Know the 6 language proficiency levels: A1, A2, B1, B2, C1 and C2. A1 is the lowest proficiency level and C2 is the highest proficiency level. Many Norwegian language textbooks, language courses and online resources for Norwegian language learners are marked with one of these levels. If you are a beginner, you should look for books, courses and resources marked "A1".

Ok, now you are ready to start learning the Norwegian language - good luck!

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