Monday, January 5, 2009

Norwegian Independent Study

Here's some of the books and courses I've been enjoying.


Pimsleur Norwegian


I first used the Spanish version of this course when I went to Spain and liked it very much. Last year in Norway, I bought this course online as mp3s for about $30 and listened to them on my iPod walking around Trondheim. The course is mostly listen-and-repeat, and follows a good formula. The course I had was 10 thirty-minute lessons. Yesterday, I found out they have a comprehensive Norwegian course with 30 lessons, but it's very pricey, in the $200-$300 range. I found one on Amazon for $150... I may cave in and buy it.

The Pimsleur courses are hands down the easiest to use. If you're going to buy just one course to get started, I'd recommend this.


Teach Yourself Norwegian Conversation by Margaretha Danbolt Simons

A booklet with 3 CDs. We found this at a used book store and it was a good find. It has very nice realistic conversations with grammar lessons thrown in. My favorite conversation is one with an adult talking to a child. "Do you like school?" "No, it's boring." "What do you like to study?" "Nothing." "Do you play sports?" "No." "Your little sister is nice." "I don't like her. She's stupid." (Dialog written by someone who knows kids!)

The grammar lessons are good, but this requires much more concentration than the Pimsleur courses. There's a couple of problems with the course... one is that they often don't give me enough time to repeat what was said, as if it were adapted from a cassette tape course wherein one would press pause after each prompt. If I speak quickly and don't think, there's time to finish a sentence.

Another trouble is the Norwegian folk music at the beginning and end of most of the 3-4 minute segments. It gets old very fast, and I feel like too large a percentage of time is spent waiting for the music to play to get to the language.

Nevertheless, this course is a nice contrast to Pimsleur and it's currently in my car's CD player.


På Vei

The Norwegian course for immigrants, this is what they used at university courses in Norway. A textbook, CD, and workbook, this is the real deal language course. There is absolutely no English in any of the books, as it is aimed at immigrants from all countries. The set was expensive, around $150 I think, which is a lot for softcovers. One nice feature is a support website with practice and quizzes, both written and audio.

Unable to get into the Norwegian language course at the university in Norway (I was #77 on the waiting list), I used these for independent study and found it extremely effective. As a student of many languages, however, I've had experience with many variations of grammar, gendered nouns, and so on, so I could make sense of this course. Even so, occasionally I needed to ask someone to explain a point of grammar. Without outside help, I suspect this would be fairly difficult for many people to use as an independent study.


Eurotalk Interactive

I just ordered this CD-rom, finding it for $20 on Amazon (normally $40). It has nine lessons, each in six parts, featuring games, videos, dictation (microphone required -- cool!), and quizzes. It looks exciting. I ordered the "Talk More!" version for "Beginners Plus+". They offer an introductory version, one for teenagers, an intermediate level, and a business version.


Norwegian in 10 Minutes a Day

Allan found this at a used book store for $1 and bought it for Pam. I covet this book, as I covet all things Norwegian, but she's holding her ground on this one. It is a workbook with some nice features – it includes flashcards and a bunch of tiny stickers to stick all over everything in your house. Thankfully, she hasn't gone sticker crazy... yet. The previous owner had done the first couple of pages and then gave up. The pages are full color and the lessons are varied and fun. I spotted this book on Amazon for about $15.

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