My experience in Norway after completing tree 1.0!
Hello learners of Norwegian! I just wanted to share my experience now that I finally having some "on the ground" experience using the language. But before I begin, I want to thank all the contributors, the folks who upload documents to the translation site and the other members of the Duolingo Norwegian community! I am also going to apologize in advance for the wall of text. The post is also detailing the studying that I did prior to Duo.
Five and a half years ago I visited Norway to go cross country skiing in Geilo. I was there for about a week in the middle of the winter, and I had one phrase that I used the whole time... "Unnskyld meg, snakker du engelsk?" At which point anyone I spoke to switched directly to English (as I had hoped!) But I fell in love with the country and upon returning home I began to study the language in more detail.
I started out with Teach Yourself! Norwegian, which I honestly think was a great place to start. I went about halfway through the book, listening to the exercises here and there. I made many stacks of slash cards and did all of the activities. I put in probably about an hour a day. Not sure how long I worked solely with the book, probably 6-8 months, but I eventually moved on.
I then found a tutor at practicenorwegian.com, whom I did about 3-4 months worth of lessons with. He was a native Norwegian and after a few consultation lessons had me pick up Stein på Stein, based on where he thought my level was. This book is an intermediate level book on the Norwegian language for immigrants to Norway. I did one hour long lesson a week with my tutor and he gave me assignments from the book and from his own curriculum. He was a superb tutor and the only thing that kept me from continuing lessons with him was that I'd recently finished a graduate degree and had found my first real world job and I no longer had the time or money, but my desire was still there.
At this point in my life I became much more busy and my studying certainly deteriorated. I eventually found that from the library I could get the Pimsluer Norwegian audio course. So I ripped the mp3 files from the CD and began using those on my commute to work. Each lesson was a half hour. I would do a lesson on my way in to work and repeat it on the way home. There unfortunately weren't very many lessons in Norwegian so I went through the whole course fairly quickly. So I repeated it. Twice. I felt like it was really helping my pronunciation, even though I think I learned the vocabulary during the first go around.
I was finally settled in my work situation, so I decided to email my tutor and get more lessons. However this time, instead of one hour lessons once a week I asked to do 2 half hour lessons each week, one Monday and one Friday. I also spoke with my tutor a bit more about how I thought I learned and what really worked for me. I asked him if we could just have half hour conversations where he'd only speak to me in Norwegian. I would just choose a topic and prepare to talk about that on the day of our lesson. This worked out phenomenally for me. If I got to a phrase I didn't know, I'd say it in English. My tutor would repeat it in Norwegian. Then I'd repeat what he said until I got it. He thought my pronunciation had been vastly improved since our first sessions about a year or so earlier and I credit Pimsleur's course for that.
It was around this time that life got in the way of real practice again, I was getting married and buying a house, so my language hobby was on hold for a bit. I only really had time to check klartale.no or ap.no to do a little reading practice. Eventually through my wife I found Duolingo. She got a job that had a lot of suppliers in Latin America, so she started doing Duolingo Spanish. I checked it out and began to do Spanish with her. There was no course for Norwegian yet. I eventually finished the Spanish for English and the English for Spanish trees. I dabbled with the French tree, then the Dutch tree. Eventually the Danish tree came out and I thought well, this is as close to Norwegian as they've got so I tried that, but I stopped shortly afterwards because I thought it might confuse my Norwegian.
Finally Norwegian popped up in the incubator. I checked the progress daily. My will to study was re-invigorated. I got a bunch of memrise decks and made other flash cards. I began browsing Norwegian websites more frequently. And a little over a year ago the Norwegian course finally dropped. I practiced it every day. Began watching Norwegian TV shows at nrk.no. I think it probably took me 200 or so days to complete the tree, keeping everything gold the whole time.
Duo was massively helpful. I learned a ton of new vocab and really started to understand the different grammar constructions better. It was a lot of repetition and a lot of new material. Using Duo really cemented and improved on what I'd learned so far. I was probably around level 16-17 when I finished the tree and then around level 19 when I found the little hack to do translations for Norwegian. In short order I was level 25, many people began getting the tree 2.0, but not me. I continued watch TV and keeping my tree golden.
Then at the end of May and into June my wife and I went to Norway on vacation. It was AMAZING, the weather was perfect 75-80 degrees F the whole time. We went to the beach, Aker Brygge, the museums and so many restaurants. I finally really got to use what I'd learned. I could read almost anything, with context I was pretty good at figuring out what new words meant. It was easy for me to speak to natives, they were always able to understand what I was saying. All of this was awesome. Where I really struggled was listening comprehension. It was often times difficult to understand when people spoke at normal conversational pace. If I asked for them to repeat or told them I was just learning Norwegian most people were happy to slow down to try and help me or ask if I'd like to switch to English (or just switch to English). I really think that Duo was a great tool and really helped me progress to where I am now, but at this point what I think is required to master the language is constant use and exposure. I got the tree 2.0 on my last day in Norway and have slowly been working through it and will continue with Duo because I think it helps keep me sharp. I now generally keep my eyes closed while Duo-ing and only open them to respond, that way I can try and comprehend what is said in Norwegian without seeing the text.
Takk! og lykkes til! Spør meg hvis du har noe spørsmål!
Jeg har lest med interesse posten din og det har vært ganske rart å forkjenne seg selv i en annen menneskers tale. Storien min er veldig lignende til den med noen variasjoner når det gjelder tutoren som jeg fikk av Facebook. Etter fem måneder studier flyttet jeg til Norge og bodde i Trondheim for andre fem måneder. Dessverre erfaringen min har vært ulike din siden jeg måtte mostande trøndersk!! Endelig jeg klarte med dette selv om jeg mener at den beste måten for å lære norsk er ikke å studere bokmål. Det er å lære nynorsken som er nærmere til aktuelle norsken. Hils på alle!!!
Jeg er ikke enig med deg! Det avhenger av hvor du bor og hvem du er sammen med. Hvis folk rundt deg snakker en dialekt som ligner på nynorsk, kanskje. "Men eg trur ikkje at dine erfaringer kann gjerast gjeldane sjenerellt." For øvrig, min dialekt er bergensk, dvs. "eg er en stril fra bondelandet".
Definitely plan to return to Norway! My advice is that if you're serious about learning you need to keep on practicing. I really thought that Pimsleur and Teach Yourself! were great resources. In my case I knew a lot of the grammar rules coming into Duo, which I think is key to get the most out of your learning experience.
Dear user_ken! As a native norwegian, but living in Switzerland for more than 50 years, i have read your CV with big interest! DUO is a good Thing learning languages, and also a social Network! But I am still missing the possibility for translating norwegian to english and visa-versa. Mine allerbeste hilsener til Gamlelandet Fra Sveits!
Takk! I spend a half hour per day on Duolingo, but also at least 30 minutes reading a novel in norsk. Karin Fossum, Jo Nesbø or whatever I can get my hands on. I also have friended a few native Norwegians on Facebook and make an effort to "talk" with them in norsk. Norwegian Teacher Karin on Youtube has been tremendously helpful. She has posted almost 150 videos, which I highly recommend to other norsk learners. I am returning to Norway in May for Syttende Mai and hope to improve my listening and speaking conversation before I go.
This is great to hear. Thanks for sharing your experience with us. I'm going to Norway this summer to study Norwegian language and literature, and I've been giving myself a head start by studying some Bokmaal with Duolingo. It's encouraging to hear that these resources can take you to such a proficient level.