Thursday, December 28, 2006


Last year when the Norwegians were here, I, naturally, tried to speak Norwegian to them. Because I do speak Norwegian, or I used to, anyway. I lived there for a year after college, and although most Norwegians speak perfect English, my Norwegian was good enough that I had several friends and colleagues I only spoke Norwegian with.

But then I spent two years in Japan, and six years in America, and a few months teaching myself Portuguese, and several weeks in Francophone countries, and by the time they got here, it had been a good eight years and several languages since I'd carried on a conversation in Norwegian. I was hopeless. I could still understand it ok, but when I spoke, I came out with a lot of Japanese.

So, since I've been thinking about going to Norway for this dance camp, I rented a couple of Norwegian movies from Netflix and watched them without subtitles, and they went ok. Then Sunday morning after I bought my ticket, I picked up a Norwegian detective novel I'd bought but never gotten around to reading. I'm already on page 84! I'm totally rocking it! Without a dictionary! Ok, I've used the dictionary for a few pages, but it takes about 10 times as long because I want to look everything up. For the rest of the time, even if I don't get every word, I can totally follow it. (Plot: Somebody died. Somebody else disappeared. The detective will figure it out, while struggling with his recovery from alcoholism.)

Anyway, it's good to know that if I want to have a conversation with someone while I'm in Norway, I can just get them to write everything down in complete sentences and we'll be set. Most of the people at the dance camp will be Americans anyway, but at least I should be able to chat with my dance teachers på norsk. And get some of the cleaner jokes. And have the utterly humiliating (and familiar) experience of addressing someone in Norwegian in a shop and having them answer in English. Sigh.


J.Bro said...

Forbanner, kvinne!

Sophist said...

Vill du sende meg smor?

You are such a language star! I'm impressed. How many languages do you know in total? Is your French good too?

Sophist said...

J. Bro, is that "Damn, girl!" in Norwegian?

towwas said...

My French is pretty bad. Not nearly as bad as my Spanish and Italian and Portuguese, though. :) Other than those, I have Japanese and Norwegian, and my German's probably about as bad as my French. I think that's all. And, yeah, that says "Curses, woman!"