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Norwegian children’s books a good way to learn the language Posted by on Jan 10, 2011 in Culture, Language

I have spent the last few days with some Dutch colleagues and I find myself picking up on words here and there that sound familiar because of my experience with Norwegian.  It´s quite fun actually!  The differences in the familiar words are not very big-a few letters off and a couple sounds off.  My American colleagues and I are constantly asking, “How do you say __________?” and the Dutch gladly pronounce and repronounce the words, as well as write them down so we can see them while we hear them.  I would like to learn Dutch and I know right now the pronunciation is going to be very difficult.

As we were talking about what parts of learning a foreign language are hardest or easiest and what the best way to learn a language is, I had a flashback to a children’s book I read in a college Norwegian class:  Ole Aleksander Filibom-bom-bom.  It is a children’s chapter (and picture) book about a little boy that lives in an apartment that is alive and has feelings.  Ole Aleksander Filibom-bom-bom has great adventures in his apartment building.  I remember learning a lot when I read that book.

I strongly believe in children’s books as great tools for learning a foreign language.  You learn basic vocabulary, grammar, sentence structure, names, culture, and more!  I think in general, when you begin to learn a foreign language, your brain almost naturally reverts back to how a child learns a foreign language (if you are lucky).  Many people have difficulty learning a foreign language and many do it with ease.  Both groups I think can benefit from children’s books in the target language.

I recommend picking up a few Norwegian children’s books if you are a beginning Norwegian student (or if you need some reviewJ).  Not only are they fun, but you will learn a lot, guaranteed!

Check out this video of Ole Aleksander Filibom-bom-bom!

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About the Author:kari

I attended St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN, where I majored in Norwegian and History. During college, I spent almost a year living in Oslo, Norway, where I attended the University of Oslo and completed an internship at the United States Embassy. I have worked for Concordia Language Villages as a pre-K Norwegian teacher and have taught an adult Norwegian language class. Right now, I keep up by writing this Norwegian blog for Transparent Language. Please read and share your thoughts! I will be continuing this blog from my future residence in the Norwegian arctic!


Comments:

  1. Gina:

    Thanks for the suggestion! Can you recommend any other children’s books that would be good for an almost-beginner learning Norwegian?

  2. Audrey:

    Where can we find children’s books in Norwegian to purchase? Are there websites that you would recommend? Thanks.

  3. Laura:

    Do you have resources or sites where Americans can buy foreign language children’s books without huge shipping costs? I have found bookdespository.com and sometimes amazon.uk, have foreign language books, but still have not found it easy to find them at reasonable costs.

  4. 5 Star Pune Hotel:

    Most of us don’t have the luxury of time to travel for a few months to a year in order to totally emerse ourselves in the foreign language to learn Spanish. So, If you enjoyed talking in Spanish during your last trip to Cancun or other festive destination in which Spanish was spoken and you told yourself that you want to speak like a native.

  5. Clarieke:

    I can recommend all books by Erlend Loe. Very easy to read for beginners in Norwegian, entertaining, and – best of all – it is not a childrens’ book . Any other ideas?

    • kari:

      @Clarieke Totally agreed-I love Erlend Loe. He was actually one of the first Norwegian authors I ever read.

  6. Anna:

    Greetings:
    Thank you for sharing your blog. I’m in California but wrote a children’s story that takes place in Norway. I’d like the gender of the child in the story to be unspecified so both boys and girls will relate to it. The child is bundled up for winter so the all that needs to be visible are the eyes and nose. I’m looking for a name that is not gender specific. I’d also like it to translate to other countries and work the same way. Would you be so kind to tell me if I name the child Alex – would that be a common enough name in Norway for kids to beleive it could be a boy or girl. Thank you so much for your time and input.
    Anna

    • Bjørn A. Bojesen:

      @Anna Hei Anna,
      that sounds like a really interesting concept!
      I wouldn’t go for Alex, though… It is an uncommon name in Norway, and all the Norwegian Alex’es I’ve heard of, were boys…

      How about Jo?

      It is short, and quite catchy…

      There’s a list of such names at http://www.dagbladet.no/2011/12/30/tema/klikk/foreldre/navn/19611705/

      Good luck with your book!

  7. Anna:

    Thanks! I appreciate the suggestion. Very kind of you to respond!

  8. Marlon Lee:

    I was beginning to learn Dansk via Pimsleur’s and Rosetta, when I happened a cross some Youtube lessons by Crienexzy/ Karin Bjerga (Google her, she’s very easy to find and has a website and youtube). I heard the language in action and fell in love with her voice. I then stopped my 3 month adventures with Dansk and decided that, I really love Norwegian and my ultimate goal, no doubt, would be to learn Icelandic, in the end. I felt that Norske was a good bridge to that, as they sound somewhat similar (especially Nynorsk), since, well, Icelandic “is” the only surviving example of Old Norske and Old English (very Germanic-Anglo Saxon sounding, in other words). A very beautiful sound. My studies in Dansk did not go to waste, since, 70% of the words are the same, with the biggest differences being pronunciation e.g. “hvor” in Danish is more like “vore,” where, in Norske it’s more like, “Voor” (a deep “O” sound). Also, Dansk is much harder to learn, as most words are not fully pronounced in conversation.

    Anyhow…in my adventures with Dansk, the thing that helped me the most, were the Copenhagencast episodes where childhood rhymes were being read. I would agree, kids rhymes, stories and poems are the perfect tool for learning. Our minds absorb things in rhymes a lot more so than broken up.

    • Bjørn A. Bojesen:

      @Marlon Lee Hei Marlon,

      thanks for sharing your learning experiences!
      As a Dane with strong family connections in Norway, I’m happy to hear that you’re learning Norwegian after having learnt some Danish! 🙂
      Do you have a link to the Copenhagencast? (I might use it on the Danish blog, which I am also responsible for keeping alive!)

      Yes, Nynorsk is a very good bridge to Icelandic. You’ll find that a lot of words are almost similar to the Icelandic ones – like ”eg” for I (”ég” in Icelandic). Lykke til!