Duolingo is the most popular way to learn languages in the world. Best of all, it's 100% free!

https://www.duolingo.com/NicknameK

Will I be able to speak Norwegian at all?

NicknameK
  • 13
  • 9
  • 8
  • 6
  • 6
  • 6
  • 5
  • 5

Hello all. I have a question to Norwegina native speakers mostly: If I learn Bokmal, will I be able to understand spoken Norwegian?

2 years ago

18 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/hpatyahoodotcom
hpatyahoodotcom
  • 25
  • 25
  • 25
  • 24
  • 19
  • 15
  • 14
  • 7
  • 7
  • 6
  • 1515

Norwegian is not different than other languages, so why not?

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/LINHARS
LINHARS
  • 18
  • 14
  • 11
  • 8
  • 6
  • 5

I agree with you. Most languages have different 'dialects', Norwegian is not any different than for instance French. French in the South-West and in Paris are quite different, but not impossible to understand if you learn French.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/dkahn400
dkahn400
  • 25
  • 25
  • 25
  • 25
  • 25
  • 4
  • 2
  • 1177

As an Englishman there are places I can go in England and barely understand what is being said.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Roknomx

Agreed.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/NicknameK
NicknameK
  • 13
  • 9
  • 8
  • 6
  • 6
  • 6
  • 5
  • 5

Because Norwegian has many dialects, and Bokmal and Nynorsk are mostly written systems

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/hpatyahoodotcom
hpatyahoodotcom
  • 25
  • 25
  • 25
  • 24
  • 19
  • 15
  • 14
  • 7
  • 7
  • 6
  • 1515

Don't worry about it. I find the Norwegian dialects very cute. Bokmål and Oslo dialect should cover your travel needs, but after a while, you will be able to understand other region as well.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/LINHARS
LINHARS
  • 18
  • 14
  • 11
  • 8
  • 6
  • 5

I don't know how you got the impression that bokmal and nynorsk are ''mostly written systems'' You've got it wrong. Norwegian people speak either bokmal ( maybe 80%) or nynorsk ( the rest, about 20%). The dialects are either mostly like bokmal or nynorsk. If you have learned to speak, read and understand bokmal, you can speak with everyone you'll meet in Norway.

You can start listening to the Norwegian radio at NRK.no. P2 is the culutural station, Alltid nyheter sends news in Norwegian, Swedish and news from BBC, P1 is easy listening and some sport, p3 is for young people. I listen to Alltid nyheter and P2 on an internet radio. I am Norwegian, speak bokmal, and live in France. After finishing the Norwegian tree you ought to understand some of it. They will speak mostly bokmal, but dialects and nynorsk as well.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Middangeard
Middangeard
  • 25
  • 16
  • 13
  • 11
  • 9
  • 8
  • 6
  • 6
  • 6
  • 5
  • 5
  • 4
  • 4
  • 4
  • 3
  • 2
  • 974

I think the issue with it being a "mostly written system" is that in practice, what is written and what is actually said are often very different things because of how the dialects treat the spoken language. Norwegian often skips over letters in words or words in sentences. It is a bit difficult for non-native speakers to understand sentences sometimes when there's a bit of a disconnect between what's said and what's actually written. It's basically something that requires immersion to be able to get 100%.

The wikipedia entries for bokmål and nynorsk do show that there are no native speakers of either and that it is a written form only, stating that each are written standards. This is pretty consistent with what I've read about the two in any other class I've seen explaining the two forms.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/kjetting

80% do not speak bokmål. No one speaks bokmål. Many dialects in eastern Norway are very close to bokmål, but bokmål is a written language.

Still, I agree with the part about being able to speak with and understand most Norwegians if you know bokmål.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/LINHARS
LINHARS
  • 18
  • 14
  • 11
  • 8
  • 6
  • 5

I think it is very stupid to confuse those who want to learn Norwegian by this discussion.

The word 'dialect' can for some people mean two different languages, like for instance the difference between mandarin and Shanghai-dialect. They are two totally different spoken languages, although the written language is the same.

Norwegian bokmål is not at all like this. The Norwegian dialects have some small variations that has no practical importance for a foreigner who learn Norwegian at Duolingo.

NicknameK asks if he will be able to understand 'spoken Norwegian' as if this is something totally different from bokmål. When Norwegians stress this as a big problem, it is just to make things more difficult than it really is.

Go to Wikipedia 'Bokmål' and you can read more, if interested.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/lindrhound
lindrhound
  • 17
  • 14
  • 11
  • 6
  • 6
  • 5
  • 4
  • 3

You won't have any more problems with Norwegian than you will with any other language. I don't understand why people are trying to make it more difficult than it is. If you learn Bokmål then you will understand spoken Norwegian.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/LINHARS
LINHARS
  • 18
  • 14
  • 11
  • 8
  • 6
  • 5

Thank you for this comment, lind754918. I don't understand why so many Norwegians want to frighten people away from learning Norwegian.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ingebj
Ingebj
  • 22
  • 22
  • 20

Yes you will for the most part be able to understand (and hopefully speak). Nynorsk is used mainly in some parts of Norway. The issue with dialects in Norwegian has been covered in several places on the forum here.

Generally, Norwegians tend to modify their spoken Norwegian towards a more standard bokmål (or nynorsk) when interacting with foreigners, but listening comprehension exercises are needed anyway. From the comments here on Duolingo it is quite clear that it takes some time to see the link between the way a word is written and how it is pronounced

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/kjetting

Most Norwegians speak some dialect, as we're very proud of these. Sadly, you'll never get a chance to hear spoken Norwegian if you go here, since we're all very proud of our English skills and most Norwegians will prioritize showing off this instead of speaking the language you're trying to learn.

Oslo dialects and much of the eastern part of Norway speak dialects pretty close to bokmål, with some variations. The southern tip of Norway is also pretty bokmål, but influenced by Danish with p, t and k mostly pronounced like b, d and g. West coast has German r's and more words that differ from bokmål. There are also many differences in language "melody", and regional words. Further north there are also a whole lot of variations.

In different dialects, the word "jeg" can be either "eg" (with a hard g), "æ", "je" or even "i" (pronounced like english e).

You'll still be able to understand a lot. Norwegians understand each other, and the root structure of the language is mostly the same.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/kubelnaby
kubelnaby
  • 25
  • 12
  • 12
  • 8
  • 7

I find this topic very interesting. It is an issue i have with learning bokmål, too. I mean, I like Norway very much and that's why I'm trying to learn bokmål (and maybe at some point in the future also nynorsk), but I get the impression that people in norway only speak bokmål (or nynorsk) when needed, like in written papers at school or university, or on the national television, otherwise they immediately switch to dialect, even to write an sms. I don't know of any other country in Europe where dialects are so widely used and that makes Norwegian language system fascinating but also a bit frustrating for people who would like to speak to Norwegians in their language.

Also, at this point, I wonder if on the internet there are courses for norwegian dialects

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/fveldig
fveldig
Mod
  • 14
  • 14
  • 13
  • 12
  • 11
  • 11
  • 9
  • 5
  • 5
  • 3
  • 500

Even Norwegians have trouble understanding each other sometimes because of the dialects. You'd probably understand most people living in Eastern Norway, which is where most Norwegians live. But you'd need some more practice beyond Bokmål to understand other major dialects. If you've learned Bokmål, it shouldn't be too hard to continue from there. The differences between the dialects aren't too big, but they will need some practice to recognize.

Pronunciation of 'jeg':

http://www.its-learning.com/content/ebok/www.ebok.no/htmlbilder/img1389-989228680.html

Inflection of masculine words in indefinite plural ('hester', 'biler'):

http://www.its-learning.com/content/ebok/www.ebok.no/htmlbilder/img1388-989228606.html

Variants of 'ikke':

http://www.its-learning.com/content/ebok/www.ebok.no/htmlbilder/img1392-989228810.html

Present case of irregular verbs ('kommer' and 'sover'):

http://www.its-learning.com/content/ebok/www.ebok.no/htmlbilder/img1391-989228772.html

These aren't 100 % correct, but they work as a reference point.

source: http://www.its-learning.com/content/ebok/www.ebok.no/itsolutions/html/4801_dialektkart.html

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/emily.harless

While Bokmal is only a written language (formally), it is the written form that is most similar to spoken Norwegian. Nynorsk was an attempt at standardization of the Norwegian language, which is now used in official documents. Nynorsk attempted to blend all dialects, which would (theoretically) allow everyone to understand it equally. I haven't studied any Nynorsk yet, but my S.O. (who is Norwegian) said that no one (where he's from - on the Oslofjord) uses Nynorsk in any sort of communication. From what I can tell (after spending 3 months in Norway (living with a Norwegian family), Bokmal is a safe bet when it comes to learning a written language that you want to translate to spoken word. (I could go on to explain why Bokmal isn't a spoken language and why other dialects cannot really be learned on this kind of system, but I digress...)

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/aslevidarg

Hey I speak norwegich, you should learn both bokmål and nynorsk to understand norweich fully

7 months ago