‘wegian Wednesday


Early on while learning Norwegian I realized it has, like many languages, its own set of quirks and things that make you pause and take a closer look. One of the first among these was the word “gift” (pronounced “yift”).

One definition of the word is “poison”.

Another is “married”.

What does that say about Norwegians and their views on marriage? Likely nothing but it does make you think.

This Will Come In Handy When?

We’ve all read guidebooks that include handy phrases for when you’re vacationing in some far off exotic place. Or maybe taken a language course/used an app that introduces you to helpful expressions you can sprinkle in conversations to sound more like a native speaker.

I’ve been puttering about with Duolingo for a bit now and while I find it a fun way to expand my Norwegian skills I’ve been noticing an odd trend among what they seem to consider “helpful phrases”.

Case in point:



And then I came across this:


Kudos to whoever is in charge of the Norwegian division of Duolingo.

I’ll keep y’all updated if I come across any more clues regarding the body on the floor.

Norwegian Reading List

I love books. I love walking into a bookstore and wandering about the aisles, the smell of books, and the feel of a physical book as I make my way through its pages. While it’s always been a pleasure to lose myself in a story for hours on end I can’t say the same thing for when I’ve tried to tackle reading a book in Norwegian. The going is slow and at times I skip over large chunks of type simply because I don’t want to take the time to fetch a dictionary and try and figure out what’s happening. But still, over the last couple of years, I’ve been picking up books in Norwegian at the bookstore, at the Salvation Army store and other used stores. Compiling a stack (a small one) that I hope will inspire me to keep trying. I try to find books that I’ve already read in English as I think knowing the story beforehand will help with the translating as I go. That’s not always easy but I’m always on the lookout. If anyone knows where to find Norwegian versions of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series I’d be very much grateful.

Books in Norwegian

Books from left to right are:

  • Harry Potter og Ildbegeret (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire) – J. K. Rowling
  • Harry Potter og Fangen Fra Azkaban (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban) – J. K. Rowling
  • Harry Potter og De Vises Stein (Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone) – J. K. Rowling
  • Morder Uten Ansikt/Hundene I Riga (Faceless Killers/The Dogs of Riga) – Henning Mankell
  • De Levende Døde (Pet Sematary) – Stephen King
  • Steppevandringen (The Plains of Passage) – Jean M. Auel
  • Det Brennende Landet (The Burning Land) – Bernard Cornwell
  • Menn Som Hater Kvinner (Men Who Hate Women, better known as The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo) – Stieg Larsson
  • Den Hvite Løvinnen (The White Lioness) – Henning Mankell
  • Frelseren (The Redeemer) – Jo Nesbø
  • Bridget Jones’ Dagbok (Bridget Jones’ Diary) – Helen Fielding

I’ve read the English version of six of these books so, in theory, I shouldn’t have that much trouble getting through the Norwegian versions. And I’d like to say that I resolve to make my way through half this stack by the end of the year but resolutions and me don’t get along too well.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I think I’ll go see what a certain young wizard is getting up to…

A Sign of Fluency?

I’ve yet to reach the point where I can seamlessly switch from speaking English to speaking Norwegian. Where I can confidently answer and chat in the language of the country I now call home. Speaking Norwegian, for me, still takes effort, thought and time. In one language I can express my thoughts and feelings fully and in a myriad of ways, injecting humour and a sense of myself in every sentence. In the other I feel constricted, fumbling around trying to pick out the appropriate word and trying not to sound like a toddler. Feeling incredibly self conscious when I do put in the effort doesn’t help one bit.

"That moment when you start to think in two languages at the same time"

“That moment when you start to think in two languages at the same time”

I do find moments where the words come to me, when I know exactly what to say and how to say it. When I know my thoughts are fully formed with words that occasionally include the letter Æ, Ø or Å. And it’s a fantastic feeling but those moments still don’t occur often enough.

Other than in some of my dreams.

I’ve woken up several times in the past year from a dream where the words flowing out of my mouth were not English. And not just in dribs and drabs, a short phrase here and there. Oh no. It was a full on torrent of ideas, thoughts and feelings. A roaring waterfall of words flooding out of me. Though I never remember what I had been saying, there is no doubt I had been speaking fluently in Norwegian. Or at least what my dreaming mind considers to be Norwegian.

One of my Norwegian language teachers had said that when you start to dream in a foreign language that’s when you really begin to integrate the language into your everyday life.  A sure sign of fluency. Not sure what it means if in my dreams I’m speaking some kind of dreamland, made up Norwegian which may or may not actually make any kind of sense or bear any kind of resemblance to the actual language.

Has anybody else experienced this? Have you started to dream in the language you’re learning? And did it make sense in your dream?