Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Norway: where dinner is lunch and lunch is LUNSJ.....

A confounding moment for me as a German speaker is the Norwegian word for "dinner" as in evening meal: it's middag. Now "Mittag" means midday in German and "Mittagessen" is lunch....so basically the Norwegian word for dinner is midday/lunch. And the Norwegian word for lunch? LUNSJ.....Don't the Norwegians find it confusing that their word for evening meal is basically midday? Do they all eat dinner early? Does it have something to do with the long days of Norwegian summer?  Is there another word for supper/dinner that duolingo is not telling me about?

Friday, July 1, 2016

Thoughts on Norwegian (Bokmål)

Thoughts on Norwegian (Bokmål)

So I casually decided to start learning Norwegian via duolingo--mainly because I'm reading the first volume of Knausgaard's Min Kamp

I still find it a bit mind-blowing that there are two different written versions of Norwegian, and then there are the many dialects,which people use for speech. Apparently Norwegians do not speak the way they write. Of course this is true of other languages, but it seems that Norwegians have taken this idea and made it official. To an outsider it seems confusing, but Norwegians probably navigate the issue fairly smoothly,except when they deliberately want to make it political. (From what I gather "Nynorsk" is a somewhat artificial attempt to lessen the influence of Danish on the language, since Bokmål is apparently close to Danish).  I have yet to find a definitive answer to the question "what language did Knausgaard write his books in?", although I think it was probably Bokmål

(Bokmål) Norwegian seems to be a very economical language – even minimalist, which conforms to my admittedly probably superficial notions of Scandinavian sparseness in terms of design or aesthetics. It of seems to get by with fewer words than English: Example:

Jentene leser avisene.  

The girls are reading the newspapers.

One reason for this is that it adds the definite article to the noun-sort of like an adjective ending in German,which is kind of cool. 

My favorite Norwegian words so far are: Gaffel (fork), and Edderkopp (spider). 

I’m learning it with duolingo—which seems to be a fun and game-like way to get started on a language. It in no way replaces classroom language learning but could be a nice supplement to what a student is learning in class.