Language Envy

As many of you know, I completed a Basic Conversational Norwegian language class before our recent trip to Norway. While I was very aware that these lessons wouldn’t teach me enough to become fluent, my goal was to have some phrases down in order to use them on the trip.

Norway Newspaper

So how did I do while I was in Norway?

If I can be completely honest, I didn’t use the skill as much as I had hoped. (Bummer, right?!) Don’t get me wrong, knowing basic phrases would have been helpful at some point had I been traveling sans my Norwegian family–but it was so easy for them to translate everything. I am happy to report that I said hello (“Hei” or “god dag”) and thank you (“tak”) numerous times–You’re proud of me, I know.

Norwegian Collage


Norway Sign

I had a lot of fun as I listened to the conversations around me in order to try to pick out the few words that I did understand. However, while I sat at dinner and listened to my family discuss topics, ideas, and stories in Norwegian, I realized that I had a very, very long way to go.

Tea Cups

I hope to get there one day. 

On our last night in Oslo my family would drift in and out of the Norwegian language throughout their conversations. Switching from Norwegian to English and back to Norwegian–it was so easy for them. And to be honest, it made me slightly envious–how badly I want to acquire that skill. I thought it was very kind that they would go out of their way to speak in English in order to include the four people there who did not understand a word they were saying in Norwegian. It was different from anything else I have experienced; not understanding a word of the conversation and then in a split second being looped in the conversation as familiar words filled the air.

Norwegian Family Collage

Throughout the evening, there were a few times that my sweet grandma would turn to her grandkids and say something, and through giggles we would tell her, “English, Grandma, English.” It brought back good memories of having to say the same phrase to my great-grandmother many many years ago.

Family Collage.jpg

Overall, I’m glad that I took the Norwegian Language class before our trip, even if I only know a few basic phrases. If I lived in Norway for a summer, I think it would be much easier to catch on as I would be completely submersed in the language and culture. Maybe that’s an idea for another trip? A Summer in Norway… I can see it now!

If you know one thing about me, it’s that I’m always up for a challenge. I’m keeping this dream of mine alive and know that one day I will be able to teach my own child the beautiful Norwegian language.

Norwegian Kit Kat Bar

The Norwegian version of a Kit Kat Bar

Takk bestemor for din hjelp og tålmodighet.


  1. August 29, 2013 / 11:07 PM

    Your welcome my dear. I love reading your blog because it brings back so many memories I had already forgotten. You did so well understanding the jest of the conversations. You, Cody, Lindsey and Cass were the ones that were so patient with your grandma as she tried to keep the languages straight. Not too mention trying to keep Cass and Cody’s name straight. But that could be another topic on your blog for another day. It was hilarious. Amazing how a person can be so absent minded and not know it. Senior moments are not for sissies. Keep the memories coming.

    • September 2, 2013 / 8:03 PM

      HAHA, Gramz I had forgotten about the Cass/Cody Cody/Cass fiasco! 😉 That was so hilarious! I am glad that the good memories keep coming. I’m ready to go out and make some more!

  2. August 30, 2013 / 7:41 AM

    I think it’s great that you tried. It’s respectful. I try to learn a few phrases before I go anywhere, too. But when I was in France, it backfired on me. I was in a department store off the tourist track and asked someone where the restroom was. She answered in French and I didn’t have a clue what she said. Luckily, I found it in time. 😉

    • September 2, 2013 / 8:05 PM

      I’m glad you found it in time. I agree that one should know a few basic phrases before traveling to another county. Not to mention it was kind of fun to talk in another language and actually have someone understand me 🙂

  3. September 2, 2013 / 4:13 PM

    I tried so hard, as well, to use french while in Paris, but everyone knew English and after we asked or ordered in french, they replied in English. But I do think being fluent in another language would be great.

    • September 2, 2013 / 8:07 PM

      Everyone that I encountered in Norway spoke English as well. I would still ask “do you speak English” in Norwegian in order to try and show respect. I would love to be fluent, I think it is such a great skill.

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