Anybody out there speak Norwegian?

I’ve been seized by the urge to learn Norwegian. In the absence of SSiN (sigh), I’m figuring out how to cobble together resources. One thing I know I’ll need is speaking and listening practice.

Anybody out there who speaks Norwegian, is learning Welsh, and would like to do some “language exchange” sessions by Skype, starting not immediately but soonish? I’m comfy in Welsh. I speak SSiW Southern but can understand Northern & modify my own speech to some degree. I’m in the US Eastern time zone.

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Hi Tahl,

I have just re-started to try to learn Norwegian. (started and stopped about 4-5 years ago, then diverted to Danish (a lot of vocabulary is the same), which also stopped. But a recent trip to Norway revived my interest (and more trips are planned, so I think the interest should sustain, at least for the next year or so :slight_smile: ).

I certainly don’t “speak” Norwegian, but I can let you know what resources I’ve found, and maybe we can compare notes. I will PM you my email address, but will also add some things to this posting, as and when I get them in some sort of order. :slight_smile:

One quick-ish thing you might try is to get a 2nd-hand (or new!) copy of “Colloquial Norwegian”, and then download the audio for free on the Colloquial/Routledge website.

I also have Teach Yourself Norwegian, which has 2 audio CDs. It’s not great, but it’s something, and I got quite a lot of vocab from that (going over it again now).

If you like action films/TV, there is the TV series (I think) called “Saboteurs” on DVD (or maybe Netflix), which is the true story of the commando attack on the German heavy-water plant, during WW2. (Haven’t seen this myself, but it’s on my wishlist). When we were in Aalsund recently, the guide who showed us around said that he had met the leader of that group, who is still alive in his 90s, and lives around there. He is a modest man, but there is a statue of him in the town.

Will update or add to later …

Hwyl / vi ses!



This was just posted on LLF:

“I don’t know about bilingual dictionaries but the monolingual dictionary from Språkrådet and Oslo University recognises tenses and give you the verb in infinitive with definitions and examples of its use.”

i.e. so you can feed in a “conjugated” verb and find the infinitive (kind of like with the Bangor Uni online dictionary and mobile ap). Only monolingual though.

Another thing someone posted there:


That’s a Norwegian TV series shown on Swedish TV (with Swedish - not Norwegian, though they are not that different) subtitles for the hard of hearing - and language learners! There’s quite a lot of English in it actually, so not too hard to follow the story. Quite a good story too, as far as I can tell.

That episode will expire on Monday 18th April.

(You can often find subtitles in various languages on, but I couldn’t find any for that series).

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Would definitely like to learn to speak Norwegian (here’s also lamenting the lack of an SSiN and hoping that SSiBorg changes that). Swedish, Danish and Norwegian are all similar enough that for listening practice, it’s worth listening to all three (and all three languages do show up untranslated in Scandinavian films and television). Netflix and Amazon both have a semi-decent collection of Scandinavian films and television shows - which might also help with understanding aspects of the culture as well (for example, the humour, which is typically rather dark).


Just found this on Aaon:

Audio for free here:

(though I haven’t checked)

Edit: this one would appear to be a follow-on for more advanced learners:

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For those who know German:örterbuch-Norwegisch-Deutsch/dp/383109103X/ref=pd_sim_14_1?ie=UTF8&dpID=51vZOdzwDaL&dpSrc=sims&preST=AC_UL160_SR133%2C160&refRID=1TM4BF12FZ7CQSF3R46Y

(the audio for that is available for free on the “book2” website: )

There is also a German-based Assimil course:

“Norwegisch ohne Mühe”. That’s more expensive though, although people seem to think highly of Assimil.

(There will also be one that is French-based, as it’s a French company)

(I’m not aware that there is an English-based one. However, with Assimil, the audio is all target-language based, and it’s only the books that are bi-lingual, and you can buy them separately).

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A quick tusen takk to Mike & Hector! As it happens, one of the things that reminded me of my dormant desire to learn Norwegian is watching the excellent Norwegian TV series Occupied on Netflix. An article about it is here:

I’m looking forward to poking around at some of these resources. For now, what I’ve got is: Duolingo; the Teach Yourself Norwegian Conversation CDs (coming from Amazon; 3 CDs; have successfully used these in the car for speaking practice with other languages); the Mystery of Nils book & CD (coming from Amazon; look very creative); a short Michel Thomas CD set (coming from Amazon from some third-party seller in the UK; don’t seem to be available in the US).

We’ll see how I get on with those, trying to focus on speaking speaking speaking. If I’m still at it by early June, I may treat myself to the upcoming new version of Colloquial Norwegian, due to be released in the US on June 6th. :smile:

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Da iawn / meget bra Dianne! :smile:
Sounds like you will have plenty to keep you busy.

It’s great that you can watch “Occupied” (and presumably you have the advantage of English subtitles :slight_smile: ).

A little word of warning with “Colloquial Norwegian”: it’s possible that this hasn’t really been updated, other than the cover picture. That seems to have happened with previous “updates”. If the “Look Inside” facility is anything to go by (and it isn’t always), it has a copyright date of 1995. This is why I was suggesting one might be as well off with a cheap 2nd hand edition. However, see how you go with everything else, and take it from there. :slight_smile:

Another useful post on LLF: recognizes irregular + umlaut forms (but not all - ‘kyr’ doesn’t work for example, maybe because it has a regular side-form). Regular forms are easy enough for you to figure out yourself - or use the one linked by Ogrim.

There is also (select any language, you will get English definitions in addition), but it is a rather small dictionary and it basically does a fulltext search in the vocabulary entries, which often contain inflected forms.

I tried that last one, and if you select any language other than Bokmal-Nynorsk, it shows the English meaning as well as the other language. However, the Bokmal-Nynorsk looks fun for those who want to compare the two different writing systems. (Learners are usually advised to learn Bokmal though, and supposedly, Nynorsk will be easy enough to understand if you’ve got a good understanding of Bokmal).

It also has audio for the Norwegian words, although it sounds computer-generated.

p.s. In that last one, as well as giving the main meaning, it gives compound nouns and examples.
I looked up “bok” (“book”) and got a whole list.
I love the fact that “mobile library” in Norsk is “bokbuss”! :slight_smile:

That’s the lovely thing with Scandinavian, every so often you will come across words that either look like English, or sound like English, and sometimes both, but they are sometimes used in slightly different ways to English.

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Another Norwegian resource:

Looks potentially useful, especially for the sentences. I don’t know how reliable the translations are though.

There is also English<=> Welsh:

And a lot more; in fact it seems to have every language & language combination one could think of. However, I think dictionaries for some languages are quite small.

Just for fun, I got up Norwegian-Danish to compare, and looked up an easy word “hus” (“house”). The words are the same in both, but look at the different sentences it comes up with:

Same thing with Swedish:

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The “To Bach” utility by Interceptor Solutions is not just for Welsh…

…that is to say, it can also produce things like umlauts, acute accents, grave accents, and a few other things.

So whereas for ŵ you press AltGr and “w” at the same time, for some of these other characters, you press what they refer to as a “modifier”. For acute accent, the modifier is “/” (slash).

For grave accent, it’s \ (backslash). So to get é you press AltGr and / at the same time, and then press “e”. To get è you press AltGr and \ at the same time and then press “e”.

For umlauts (or diaresis), the modifier is " (which is shift 2 on my keyboard and just 2 also works).

So to get ü press AltGr and " at the same time and then press “u”
(or press AltGr and 2 at the same time and then press “u”, if your keyboard is like mine).

Having umlauts will allow you to type in German, except that you still need the ß character (equivalent to double “s”, and only used in certain words).

To Bach as distributed does not give you ß but the good news is that it has a configuration file to whcih you can add the setting for the ß character, and any other character you want, including the Scandinavian characters.

You will find the configuration file under your Program Files folder in a subfolder caller Interceptor Solutions\To Bach 2 . The file is called “default.dkl”

Before making any changes, you should take a copy of this file, and if you are as paranoid as me, you will take several copies …

I have found that notepad++ will edit this file ok. (Not sure about notepad, but it might).

If you open the file in notepad++ you will see that it has some documentation in the form of comments, as well as configuration data.

To get ß (usually known as “es sett” or “scharfe es”), I just added the single line:


83 is the “virtual key code” of the “s” key; 0 is a null modifier; 0223 is the unicode sequence for ß (And also shift ß which happens to be the same).

So to get ß we simply press AltGr and “s” at the same time: ß

In order to get the Norwegian (and Danish) characters, we have to add another “modifier”.

I looked around at what might be suitable and came up with “.” i.e. the period or full stop, as it is close to the AltGr, at least on my UK keyboard.

You can choose something else, but be careful that it does not conflict with the existing modifiers,
which are / \ " (or 2) and # (or ~).

Anyway, I chose the period, which is virtual key code 190 decimal.
We have to add this to the list of modifiers near the top of the configuration file.

this was originally:

and I changed it to be:

i.e. I added “190;” after the “222;”

The “190” is the 5th modifier in the list, and we refer to it as “5” in the other entries that we have to make. These are:


I added those to the bottom of the file, although I am not sure the positioning is critical.
You almost certainly need to stop and restart To Bach after making any changes to the configuration file, and you probably will have to make the changes running as Administrator.

I can explain what the numbers mean in another posting, but for now:

To get å press AltGr and “.” at the same time, followed by “a”. ("." means the period or full stop key).

To get ø press AltGr and “.” at the same time, followed by “o”.

To get æ, press AltGr and “.” at the same time, followed by “e”.

(I chose “e” for æ because the “a” was obviously spoken for; there may be a better choice, but I could not think of one for the moment. I did wonder if you could use “a” for the modifier, such that you would press AltGr and “a” at the same time, followed by “e”, but it would mean adding another modifier entry, and I’m not sure it’s really better).

Note that upper case Ø , Å and Æ also work; just press the shift key with o, a, or e after pressing AltGr and “.” .

Good luck, and don’t forget to take a safety copy or three of that configuration file before making any changes. And also, don’t forget to stop and restart To Bach after making any changes.

Lykke Till!

p.s. For Swedish, you use ö and ë instead of ø and æ but you still need å.

n.b. In that config file you will see a link to a Microsoft page about virtual key codes, but the link is broken. However, you can find it by googling for “VirtualKeyCodes windows7”

(I’m running Windows 7 - hopefully there is an equivalent for other Windows versions).

Note also that the keycodes in that webpage are given in hexadecimal, but you use them in decimal in the configuration file. It is easy to convert between the two using the programmer mode of the Windows built-in calculator.

p.p.s All this is a lot easier to do than it looks from the description! :slight_smile:


Wow, tusen takk! I was wondering how to get the a with a circle on top!

At a pinch, you could do ALT-0229 (lower case) or ALT-0197 (for upper case)

(using the numeric keypad for the numbers)

…until you manage to get “To Bach” sorted out. Since posting the above, I have read that US keyboards don’t usually have an AltGr key, although I think there is a workaround for this
(I think it’s mentioned somewhere on the website for To Bach).

Re: To Bach again: I have now worked out the changes needed (or one way of doing it),
for upside down ! and ? i.e. ¡ and ¿ for Spanish

For ¡ add the following to the configuration file:


That uses a modifier key of 0, i.e. no modifier key, so to get ¡ press ALTGr and “!” together (actually the “1” key - you don’t need the shift)

I hoped I could get away with using no modifier for ¿ but doing that broke the acute accent, which uses the /? key as the modifier, so instead, I am using / as the modifier key, which corresponds to “2” in the configuration file, thus giving a code of:


Thus to get ¿ you press AltGr and “/” together, and then press the “/” key again (which is also the “?” key - no shift required.

The above refers to a standard UK keyboard.

And To Bach as distributed already had support for ñ Ñ so with the above, it should be set up for Spanish. (To get ñ you press AltGr and ~ together, followed by “n”. Also works with N - Ñ ).

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It’s exactly a month since my first post about learning Norwegian, and I thought I’d report back on what I’ve done and how I think I’m doing.

How I think I’m doing: Much better than I ever expected, frankly. And it’s all because Norwegian is SO simple in grammar that it’s easy to SSI in my head as I go.

The genius of SSIW for me is that it made me feel successful from the start by teaching me some simple structures and letting me plug useful words into them and start saying sensible things. (I am not a fan of langauge courses that start with talking about hotels and restaurants!) It turns out that Norwegian is super-easy to do the same thing with, because it’s structured like English (mostly) and because it has VERY LITTLE verb conjugation to master.

So, what I’m doing is SSINorwegianByProxy. I spend about 30 minutes a day learning. Then I spend the rest of the day muttering out loud in simple Norwegian to myself, mixing up what I’ve learned into new combinations.

And . . . last week I took a plunge and did a Skype lesson through iTalki with a Norwegian teacher! I will do more of these, in the SSIW Bootcamp style. All I want is 30 minutes or an hour of blundering around in the language and seeing what I can understand from the native speaker. :slight_smile: The lesson went great. I learned a word or two, but more important, I stayed in Norwegian almost the whole time.

What about learning resources? I’ve tried a bunch, and here’s how they stack up for me:

Best stuff I’ve found:

  • MAIN RESOURCE: The Mystery of Nils (book & CD), bought through Amazon. This is a storybook/ textbook for adult learners. I’m using it like people use the Assimil series: for each chapter, listen repeatedly to the audio, try repeating the audio, read the Norwegian text, listen to the audio some more, look at the vocab and grammar instruction given. I really really like it. I’m glad there’s a followup Book 2 (Mysteriet om Nils), with downloadable audio available on the Skapago website and in the Gumroad app.

  • Grammar reference book: Routledge’s Norwegian: An Essential Grammar. This is similar to though not as good as Routledge’s fab Modern Welsh reference.

  • Michel Thomas Start Norwegian (2 CDs). Ordered this from Amazon UK, since it’s not out in the US. Part way through. Knew I needed this for more out-loud practice and listening to Norwegian pronunciation, since it’s not all phonetic. I’m not all the way through, because I’m trying to keep in pace with the Mystery of Nils book in grammar.

  • Pimsleur Norwegian (16? CDs). Because it’s expensive, I have this only because a friend who used to be stationed in Norway passed his copy along . . . and I’m glad he did. It’s good pronunciation practice in the car, and not as annoyingly hotel-and-restaurant-y as other Pimsleur courses.

Other stuff I’m toying with but don’t value as much:

  • Speak Norwegian with Confidence (3 CDs). Dunno, this might be more useful eventually, but it’s too hotel-and-restaurant-y, and also goes a bit too fast to really sink in for me.

  • Duolingo Norwegian. I’m doing this faithfully, but the choice of vocabulary is ridiculous (really, it’s crucial for us to master the words for animals and fruits as some of our first words?), and there’s too much vocabulary relative to structures, as per usual with many courses.

  • Norwegian in Ten Minutes a Day. Cute book that I got from the library; wouldn’t pay for it.

I haven’t bought a dictionary yet; the one I got from the library is not worth much.


Wow, well done!!

Dw i’n dusky Norwyeg hefyd. Nes i ffeindio heddiw.
Dwin cynllunio mynd i Norwy a Cymru yn yr hydref.

Dw i ddim yn siarad yr ddoe iaith rwan… ond… cyn bo hir!

Pob Lwc!


As Tahl already knows, I’m also trying to learn Norwegian. I’ve done various things, including the TYS course (worthy, but not great).

NRK - the state broadcaster - has a lot of TV programmes that you can get on the internet, and they usually have Norwegian subtitles. It’s actually possible to download these and feed them into google translate. Not perfect, but you get the general sense.

There are also a lot of radio podcasts on their website - no transcripts unfortunately, but they will be great when one gets a little more advanced (as with Radio Cymru).

One thing I’m doing at the moment, is Listen-Reading with some of the books by a guy called Erlend Loe. His most famous one is possibly “Naiv.Super”. The language is pretty simple, and there is an English translation. (There is also a “learner version” that you can get online, that has vocabulary explanations on each page).

I bought the audiobook online, read by the author himself. I’ve listened to it and read along with the Norwegian, just to get to grips with how the written version ties in with the spoken version. It’s somewhat phonetic, but there are catches.

Then I’ve listened again to the Norwegian, and read along with the English translation. It’s actually spookily effective, probably because the word order is mostly the same, and except for some idioms, you tend to get a word-for-word correspondence.

It helps if you already know the book in English quite well. It’s quite short. The audiobook is only 3 hours something. Most of his books seem about that length. And usually written in a simple style, with a dry sense of humour.

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