Note: This is a work in progress. I last updated this page on 2021-11-18.
I started studying Bokmål Norwegian in November 2019, and while I still have plenty to learn I’ve gotten fairly good at reading and listening, and feel fairly confident in simple conversations. What follows is what I think has been a reasonably good approach in self-directed language study.
It’s important to know there’s no quick solution here: Duolingo, Rosetta Stone, attending college courses—no one approach alone is sufficient to master a language. You need to identify core skills and improve them. That includes:
I’ve found I’m revisiting these many times over in the course of my studies, but this is roughly the order I’ve encountered the language. And while they’re listed out here, these skills are actually all interconnected—each are discrete skills you need to give direct attention to, but they work best in conjunction with one another.
Finally, set yourself a goal. “I want to learn Norwegian” is too broad, but narrowing that to “I want to have conversations with Norwegian friends” or “I want to listen to Norwegian podcasts” or “I want to read untranslated novels”—these are concrete (and certainly may shift or become more complex as you advance in your mastery), and will influence your learning strategy for your particular goals.
Finally: I’m not a langauge instructor, so your experiences will likely differ from me. This page mostly exists for me to document my own learning and resources I like using. And hey, if you’re also learning Norwegian, drop me a line—maybe we can partner up.
It all started with, and continues in, Duolingo. As of this writing, I’m approaching my two year daily practice streak. While the application has changed a lot in the past year, there are some things were it is weak: I don’t find it particularly good at explaining Norwegian grammar (and to be fair, I’m mostly using the iOS version not the web app) and often find I don’t always know when to use i, på, til, and for. But it is fantastic at teaching you themed vocabulary, and the gamification elements of the application—at least for me—serve as a good motivator without getting in the way of actually learning.
To further augment my language learning, I started to follow Norwegian speakers on Twitter, read Aftenposten, and listen to Norwegian langauge podcasts. More on this in the resources below.
Anki is an open source memorization tool using spaced repetition to help you review areas you need to improve while avoiding the things you’re already comfortable with. There are apps for desktop, mobile, and the web, so you can keep things in sync across all your devices.
I have found these decks by other Anki users to be particularly helpful.
These are decks I’ve built for particular areas of focus I’m interested in.
The Norskprøven is the standard Norwegian proficiency test usually included in immigration, citizenship, and job requirements.