Learning Norwegian - Here is the most difficult part

Illustrations: "The Social Guidebook to Norway"

Before moving to Norway

I lived two years in Spain

After a few weeks

I was able to put together a few sentences

The reaction of the Spanish people was wonderful

They reacted loudly

With big smiles

Took me by the arm

Ask me to repeat what I had just said so others could hear

They were so proud that I was learning their language

This gave me a unique motivation to learn

Each time I made progress

Spaniards noticed it

Mentioned it

Congratulated me

After six month I could speak fluently


In Norway

It was different

People are more honest in their feedback

After seven years in Norway

I still do not speak like a local


This last year I spoke on Norwegian radio several times

One day

After a 10 minute live interview in Norwegian

I colloquially expressed a humble hope that my Norwegian was good enough

Yes, it was good

Good enough

Not too good

Not too bad


Norwegians are honest when giving feedback

Sometimes it is very useful

Sometimes it may affect motivation


 Norwegians are also very polite

This is the second most difficult part in learning the language

They are very careful not to make you feel uncomfortable

if you make a mistake when speaking

They do not want to interrupt

They do not want you to feel bad about your mistake

So they often let it go

That makes it quite challenging to reach perfection

You end up to speak

Not too bad

Not too good

Just good enough 


Tomorrow Sunday 3rd July I am speaking on NRK P1 Reiseradioen

I will try to do better


Illustrations : "The Social Guidebook to Norway"


By Julien S. Bourrelle

Watch him on TED

Book a lecture info@monda.no