sexta-feira, 2 de novembro de 2012

Learning Norwegian - the basics

In my experience there are several issues that causes problems for someone who are learning Norwegian with English as their primarily language, or someone who uses English as reference because their native language is too different.

Firstly, whenever you start to learn Norwegian you will have to learn the basic elements. Some prefer to learn Norwegian through a lot of not basic texts. This can seem great in the beginning. Instead of learning through the lame dialog found in basic book, you will learn through more interesting texts. In the beginning you might not care that you don't understand completely everything. Problem is that you will probably develop bad habits that can be difficult to shake later. Regular Norwegian classes follows the layout of the Norwegian Course outlined. Often I see these errors among those who have not learned Norwegian step by step:

1) Remember that Norwegian do NOT have -ing form in verbs. The present is, for regular verbs, simply made by adding -r. This is not among the more common errors, but it is a very serious mistake. Norwegian does have -ing words but they are describing the act of and are not verbs.

2) More common errors, but not as serious as the one mentioned in 1), are pronunciation errors. There are many special rules and sounds in Norwegian. E.g. "gj" usually turns into "j" when spoken. Commonly some letters are also silent in the end of words. Native Norwegians will generally be able to understand you if this is the only kind of mistake you are making. The problem, however, is that it will be very difficult to understand when Norwegians speak when the words don't sound exactly the way they look.

Bryggen in Bergen, Norway

3) The Third problem that is very common is the word order. It is not too difficult to learn the position of the verbs in Norwegian. That being said, it often become more difficult if you have developed a bad habit. In addition, this kind of error will make your Norwegian sound really amateurish.

I will hopefully include some further instruction about these elements later.

domingo, 14 de outubro de 2012

The Norwegian Classes

The Norwegian Classes I offer on my site - Learn Norwegian Online - follow a set pattern. Naturally the pattern is adjustable, but it follows this pattern for a reason. The aim is to train all language aspects.
1. The first element in each language part or chapter is the grammatical part. Every class has a brief overview of the rules that will be gone through in the next topics in the class. Purpose is to be aware of them when we have training with the text and communication.
2. Text and reading. This part gets modified based on the level of the course. At the beginner's level focus is on repetition where in order to In the beginning the focus is on repetition where teacher reads the text first and it is to be repeated. Purpose is to both have training in common phrases and pronunciation. When you are at an intermediate level the added focus is also on vocabulary (in addition to more advanced grammar). Purpose is for you being able to have skills for a more and more advanced Norwegian including its vocabulary. This element is of the utmost importance for those who whom want to take the test "Bergenstesten".

Regardless of level there are discussions in connection with the reading tasks. Best way to learn is by production of the language one is learning. 

3. Listening tasks are an integral part of the classes. This is particularly important in the beginning to be used to hear Norwegian in various different dialects. It also encourage a stronger focus, because listening to newly learned words is more demanding than solely rely on the text.

4. Homework. When learning new topics and when classes are just a few times a week it is a huge advantage to do some training in between classes. This includes a written task that gets corrected for free.

A picture of the city of Bergen in Norway

Contact info for more information about the Norwegian classes:
Current Price for individual classes (60 minutes) in 2015: US$ 20

sexta-feira, 5 de outubro de 2012

Use of infinitive in phrases

When making phrases in Norwegian using two verbs in sequence, the principles are the same as when writing or speaking in English. Even so, it is sometimes difficult to transfer the rules to another language. Not too strange considering that so much of English is not directly transferable to Norwegian.

Same as with English it is very common when combining to verbs in sequence that the second is in infinitive with the article. This is regardless whether the first verb was in present or past tense, but here I will use present tense to make it easy.

English: He loves to eat chocolate
Norwegian: Han elsker å spise sjokolade

Some exceptions are for certain verbs, however, where the second verb will be in the infinitive format but without the article. These verbs are primarily in its present tense form : Kan, Skal, Vil, Må, Bør (Can, Shall, Will, Must, Should).

English: He can eat chocolate
Norwegian: Han kan spise sjokolade

quarta-feira, 12 de setembro de 2012

Norwegian adjectives

Norwegian adjectives are not very dissimilar to English adjectives.
The conjugation for most of them are: Mer (more) and Mest (most).
For plural the adjectives generally ends in -e. For the words in the example below the plural version becomes: "praktiske" and "normale"

Examples of conjugation.
Praktisk (Practical) - mer praktisk - mest praktisk
Normal (normal) - mer normal - mest normal

There are huge number of exceptions. However, the exceptions are generally based on the ending of the word and therefore something one will get used to after practice with the Norwegian language.
For example with -ig ending the word follow a particular pattern.

Alvorlig (serious) - alvorligere (more serious) - alvorligst (most serious)

quarta-feira, 15 de agosto de 2012

Common irregular verbs

In a previous post I have emphasized that the present tense in Norwegian is quite easy for regular verbs. To create the present tense you only add "-r" to the infinitive form, and the conjugation of the verb doesn't change based on who does the action. Example, Jeg spiser (I eat) han spiser (he eats).

Unfortunately not all verbs are regular and some of the verbs are impossible to avoid. Some very important irregular verbs are:
Å være (to be) - Er (present tense) - Var (past tense)
Å gjøre (to do) - gjør (present tense) - gjorde (past tense)
Å vite (to know) - vet (present tense) - visste (past tense)

In addition there are the "modalverbs", verbs that usually has an additional verb in the infinitive form. Example, jeg skal spise. "Skal" is the infinitive form of "skulle". However, these are the topic of another post.

Another language course Curso ingles Porto Alegre

quinta-feira, 2 de agosto de 2012

Speaking Norwegian

To properly pronounce Norwegian you will have to get used to certain "rules". One set of rule that causes some problem in the beginning, but soon is learned is the tendency of a vowel in front of a single consonant to become long, whereas it becomes short in front of a double consonant.

Samples of words with short vowel are: katt (cat), snakke (speak), spille (play), inne (inside)
Samples of words with long vowel are: mat (food), pen (pretty), hage (garden), hus (house)

To practise pronunciation the best is to use a Norwegian Teacher.

quarta-feira, 25 de julho de 2012

Use of "not" in Norwegian

In Norwegian there is much less use of the auxiliary verb "to do". For example, in the phrase "He does not read the paper every day", the translation to Norwegian would omit the auxiliar verb "does". Instead would also the negative form be with only the verb "to read". In addition, the negative form, as well as gradient words like: a little etc, comes after the verb. The phrase becomes therefore, in Norwegian, "Han leser ikke avisen hver dag".

Private tutor offering language course in the city of Porto Alegre, Curso Porto Alegre.

sexta-feira, 13 de julho de 2012

Word order in questions

One of the difficult areas of Norwegian is the word-order in phrases. The good news is that if you make mistakes in this area, Norwegians will probably still understand what you are saying. However, you will sound very weird making these kinds of mistakes. What you should look for in phrases when learning Norwegian is the location of the verb in relation to the noun or pronoun.
One of the situations where the verb is in front of the noun is in questions. This is a soft start, because you can remember it by thinking of English where often the verb "To do" comes in front of the noun/pronoun, or even other examples where the verb only is first. For example the question "do you live here?". In Norwegian the verb "to do" is not used. Instead only the main verb is being used, and this is the one being conjugated. Unlike in simple statements, in questions the verb comes before the noun/pronoun.

Consider these few simple translations from English.
- Where do you live?
In Norwegian: Hvor Bor du? (Bor = present tense of Å bo; du = you)

Here is an example where main verb also is first, also in English.
- Is he smart?
In Norwegian: Er han smart?

In summary: In Norwegian with Hv-questions (similar to English wh-questions), the Hv-word comes first followed by the main verb that is conjugated. In non Hv-questions the verb comes first, followed by the noun/pronoun and possibly and adjective.

I also wrote an overview article about learning the Norwegian language:
How to learn Norwegian.
Online Norwegian Classes

quarta-feira, 4 de julho de 2012

Basic tenses - Present tense

For the foreign learner, there are a few difficult areas in Norwegian. Present tense is not one of those areas. As a general rule the present tense consist of simply adding "r" to the infinite form. Unlike most languages, including English, there are no differences between the singular or plural form.

E.g. the verb "to eat" is in Norwegian "å spise".

Conjugated to the present form this then simply becomes:
Jeg spiser (I eat)
Du spiser (You eat)
Han/hun spiser (He/she eats)
Vi spiser (We eat)
Dere spiser (you eat)
De spiser (they eat)

There are in Norwegian, as in other languages, irregular verbs.
These are, however, a topic another day.