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Learn Norwegian like you've always wanted to

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Why should you learn Norwegian?

  • In written form, the language has two variations: Bokmål and Nynorsk.
  • Norwegian belongs to the family of North Germanic languages.
  • Norwegian is the official language of the Kingdom of Norway.
  • The language shares many similarities with Danish.
  • Learn Norwegian

The benefits of language acquisition

In the twenty-first century, multilingualism is becoming the norm. It’s estimated that over half the world’s population is at least bilingual and this figure is growing. So where do you fit into this changing world? Do you see yourself as part of a dynamic population of world citizens, or stuck on a shrinking monolingual island? The real question should be: why not learn another language?

If you’re at all curious about the world beyond your own day-to-day routine, learning Norwegian increases opportunities for career, living, travel, friendship, adventure and love. The more languages you speak, the bigger your world becomes.

And there is absolutely no reason to be discouraged, or to tell yourself you don’t have the talent for it. The idea that only children can become bilingual is simply a myth. You can learn to speak another language no matter your age or educational background; maybe you’ll never be mistaken for a native speaker, but you will be able to communicate – and that is what languages are for. Speaking a language is about connection, not perfection. So let’s ask a new question: who do you want to connect with?

Learn Norwegian like you've always wanted to

A language is more than a bunch of words and rules for how to put those words together; it is another world. Speaking Norwegian gives you access to the world of 5 million native speakers in Norway. Norwegian is considered one of the easiest languages for a native English speaker to understand. The grammar and sentence structure are very similar to English, but with fewer irregularities.

The language is pronounced very differently from English – and includes some sounds that English doesn’t have – but mastering new sounds becomes easier with practice. Because both languages have Germanic roots, they also share thousands of cognates – words that sound the same and have the same meanings. Consider these sentences in Norwegian – made up almost entirely of Norwegian-English cognates:

Norwegian English
kan can
hjelpe help
meg me
hvor where
nasjonalparken national park
du you
er is
Kan du hjelpe meg? Hvor er nasjonalparken? Can you help me? Where is the national park?

Not only is Norwegian relatively easy to start understanding early on, speaking it will give you a huge head-start to understanding other Germanic languages like Swedish, Danish, Dutch and German. With Babbel, you can learn Norwegian without going to classes, hiring a tutor or investing in expensive software. For an affordable monthly subscription, you have access to hundreds of hours of interactive courses that get you speaking right from the first lesson. Babbel’s integrated speech recognition can even help you improve your pronunciation. We add courses on a regular basis, so the opportunities to learn and improve are always growing. And if you own an Android phone, the key to speaking Norwegian is already in your pocket.

Open up a new world and uncover new opportunities

Having a little Norwegian in your conversational repertoire will open up the world to you on multiple levels:

  • For Business – Being bilingual isn’t just good for your resumé, it can change your career. Knowing some Norwegian can be extremely advantageous for anyone doing business in Scandinavia. Because so few foreigners speak Norwegian, learning the language gives you a rare skill and can make you an in-demand specialist.

  • Traveling – Even though most Norwegians can speak some English, they obviously don’t speak it to each other. When you can speak the local language the country opens up to you in ways that monolingual foreigners could never even guess.

  • Living Abroad – When you speak Norwegian well enough to travel without a phrasebook in hand, the idea of staying longer in Norway can become tempting. Cities like Oslo and Bergen offer opportunities for students looking for a semester abroad, and professionals looking for good pay and a high quality of life.

  • Brain Training – Even if you decide to only learn Norwegian as a hobby knowing multiple languages will keep your brain healthy and nimble, even in old age. This is because knowing another language creates another network of connections among your neurons. The higher your neural interconnectivity, the better your memory and problem-solving skills.

  • Norwegian Culture, Unfiltered – Whether you want to stay up all night with friends around a midsummer bonfire, explore the sparsely populated fjords of the West coast, get into Oslo’s Black Metal music scene, or learn how to really cook lutefisk, speaking the language will let you participate more directly. Additionally, knowing Norwegian will provide unfiltered access to the literature of Henrik Ibsen, Jens Bjørneboe and Cecilie Løveid. And if you are among the 4.6 million Americans who can claim Norwegian ancestry, learning the language can also help you get closer to your roots.

Classroom or books? This is how you learn Norwegian most effectively

Although Norwegian isn’t a widely-studied language in the United States there are still many ways to learn the language:

In The Classroom Classroom instruction with a teacher and other students is the most traditional approach to learning a language. Many Americans have already learned a language this way in high school, although often not with the best results. Many people who are motivated to become fluent find that classes offer a good balance between language instruction and chance to listen and speak.

Via private tutor Learning one-on-one with a tutor allows for a completely tailored learning experience and more opportunities to practice speaking. Compared to a classroom where the teacher has to split attention among dozens of pupils, private tutoring usually yields quicker results. However, private tutoring doesn’t come cheap; you’ll need to be prepared to pay a high hourly rate for an experienced tutor.

With audio courses For people with money to burn on learning a language, but not enough time to commit to traditional methods, multimedia courses are a good alternative – whether you practice listening and speaking with CDs in the car, or use interactive courses on your home PC in your free time. The main drawback to these methods is high up-front cost and material that can quickly become outdated.

By conversing with tandem partners Tandem learning is a technique where two people who want to learn each other’s languages take turns as teacher and as student. For example: if you meet for two hours, you can speak in Norwegian for one hour and then switch to English for the next hour so that you both get some practice. But be aware, just because someone is a native speaker does not mean they are a good teacher. This can still be a good option once you already know some Norwegian and just want to practice, but you must be prepared to teach your counterpart English. Tandems are free for both parties, but a significant time commitment.

Free online courses There are hundreds of ways to learn Norwegian for free on the web. From Norwegian grammar wikis to online courses, there’s no shortage of information out there, but it’s often presented in a cluttered and inconsistent way that’s harder to read than a grammar book.

Learn Norwegian with Babbel and become fluent

Learning with Babbel costs you less per month than your morning coffee, is ad-free and has been made by a team of language experts, educators and designers – so you are guaranteed a professional learning experience from the comfort of your own home. Here at Babbel we believe that the key to effectively learning Norwegian, or any language, is having fun. Commitment and discipline will always be important factors, but real engagement is what helps you to retain information and maximize your learning potential. Here’s what you can expect from Babbel’s online Norwegian program:

  • 20 day money-back guarantee
  • Four aspects of language acquisition
  • Regular course updates and new lessons
  • Babbel Community to connect with other users
  • Learning content organized by topic and theme
  • Android app fully integrated with the web application
  • Learning materials stored in a personalized Review Manager