Languages, Life & Work

Norwegian Resources for Children and Adults

Norwegian is an excellent language for children because it is relatively easy to learn. There are several children’s books available in Norwegian. Two fun stories are Det røde eplet and Engstelige Eddie får en venn.

Kan jeg …?  is not for the faint of heart. Readers follow the story of a curious (and not very bright) little girl, who in trying to find out what she can and can’t do, loses limbs, drills a hole in her head, and goes swimming with piranhas. Some find the book funny in a wincing sort of way. My seven year-old does not like it, but some adults seem to find it silly. It is best seen perhaps as a cautionary tale that makes odd adults giggle. These were gifts, so I can not speak to the shipping costs.

Vangsgutane is a bilingual book available in the U.S. without overseas shipping. The Boys of Vangen, as it is called in English, is a 1940s children’s series.

EuroTalk offers two inexpensive game-style programs that are, if nothing else, not a bad way for kids to spend time on the computer. They are not necessarily designed for children, but they are child friendly.

Teach Yourself Norwegian is the first tool I used to familiarize myself with Norwegian. It is surprisingly thorough and effective for so inexpensive and user friendly a set.

Janus’ Norwegian Verbs and Essentials of Grammar and Haugen’s Dictionary are excellent.

Sett i gang is the wonderful textbook series used at the University of North Dakota. It is very user friendly, and there are online exercises for testing one’s progress! My cousin, Ottar Dahl, happens to be one of the contributors, so I may be a little biased.

Languages, Life & Work

Teaching Children a Foreign Language

I have been experimenting with methods of teaching languages to children in a busy household. Some things work, and some things don’t.

What works:

  • Flash cards.
  • Following a textbook that teaches grammar.
  • Translating.
  • Working with your child about 20 minutes per day 4-5 days per week. Older children should work on their own as well.

What doesn’t work:

  • Rosetta Stone alone. RS is a fine way to help children become comfortable hearing, seeing, and pronouncing a language, but it is only a supplemental tool.

Years ago, I taught our eldest the basics of Latin and our middle child French in a structured homeschool environment. This was extremely effective. However, when we put our children into school, we no longer had time for languages. The children lost most of what they had learned.

The older two missed their languages, so at their request, we resumed language training in the summer of 2011. They each chose a language: Latin, French, and Norwegian from oldest to youngest child respectively. Using two homeschool textbooks for Latin and a friendly college textbook for French, I worked with the older two. Our youngest was only 6, so we used home made flash cards and children’s books from Norway.

When school started last fall, the kids’ activities soon eclipsed their languages. Eventually, I settled for daily Rosetta Stone for the older two and flash cards for our youngest. Now that we are returning to the more active language schedule of summer, I find that our youngest has retained the most. Surely his age had something to do with this, but it also seems that good ol’ fashioned flash cards are simply more effective than Rosetta Stone.

For specific language resources, see coming blog posts on French, Latin, and Norwegian.