Friday, June 13, 2008

School Trips, Language

Pam took her 14 kids camping overnight. With weather predicted to be cold and raining, she changed the plans from camping on the wet mossy floors of the forest in Bymarka. Instead she managed to rent 4 cabins at a campground south of Trondheim about 30 km, and the weather even miraculously turned sunny in the afternoon.

Today she takes her class to Pirbadet, the fancy aquatic center in sentrum Trondheim. Then we all meet for dinner at Peppe's Pizza on the canal downtown. There will be some tired kids tonight!

I'm still floating from the incredible week we've had. I'll be at the office all day finalizing a book that will be sent to print this afternoon.

Language: We're getting a Norwegian newspaper now. It just started showing up on my porch 2 weeks ago, I don't know why. ("When the student is ready, the master will appear.") With effort, I can read the news. I'm learning a Trønderock song on guitar. I've been singing it around the office and now it's stuck in everyone's heads. I hear people whistling it in the halls. They think it's funny to hear the American singing a song in Trøndersk (Trøndersk is the dialect of Trøndelag, the local region. It's considered the coarsest and most difficult to understand dialect in Norway). I write long emails in Norwegian without stopping to look up words, and I still do look up words and ask grammar questions, even though we're leaving in just over 2 weeks. I speak with strangers in Norwegian and if they are patient and speak carefully sometimes we can talk just fine. I just called a store and navigated their telephone system and found opening hours -- the first time I've been able to follow spoken menus. Sometimes I even catch myself thinking in Norsk. Veldig rar.

One problem is that people now overestimate how much Norwegian I know, and I have to either continually stop conversation and ask about words, or in group conversations if I don't want to stop the flow I just nod and give a drawn out "Jaaaaa!" If I match the tone of the "ja" to the tone of the question, it usually works beautifully. People also think I'm a most agreeable guy -- "He says 'ja' to everything!"

In any case, there's lots of progress and it's still fun.

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