Duolingo Norwegian: 60 Days In

I’ve officially been studying Norwegian with Duolingo for 60 days now, with the intention to finish the tree in 90. I’m right on track, and possibly even a little ahead in that I’ve got just 28 of the tree’s 117 skills left to complete.

The Norwegian tree in Duolingo (I’m on tree 3.0) is longer and more in-depth than the trees for many of the other languages. The Polish tree (which I was working on a little while back, but have since slowed down on) has only 68 skills. Because of the depth of the Norwegian skill tree, I feel as though it may better prepare learners for actual use of the language.

The course teaches well over 3,000 words, which is around a B1 level of proficiency according to the CEFR scale. Granted, just using vocabulary size is a poor indicator, as this does not take into account either knowledge of grammar or the ability to string these words together. It is a decent starting place, though.

So, 60 days into studying Norwgian with the Duolingo tree, I actually feel pretty well-equipped, gramatically. Because Norwegian and English use tenses in a very similar manner, the grammar has thus far been pretty straightforward. The course has already gone over the past tense, past and future perfect tenses, we’ve discussed the passive voice and also conditional statements. This far exceeds what I learned in my University German course (Level 1, whatever that means), and is actually pretty on par with what I learned in my AP Spanish class. Granted, I had a far broader vocabulary in Spanish back in the day, but this had been acquired over three years of institional learning. I don’t know whether this speaks to the inefficacy of the American school system, or how fabulous this Duolingo course is, but either way – I’m learning a lot!

I am still watching random Norwegian programming, and listening to podcasts and reading newspaper articles online, and this has all been rather helpful. I find myself looking up fewer and fewer words every day.

I’ve also managed to keep up with doing at least 5 “strengthen skills” sessions, most days completing more than that. So, these practice lessons combined with the new skill give me between 120 and 300XP per day. There have been a few days when I’ve done tons of practicing and gotten upwards of 500XP. At this point, I’m at level 16 on Duolingo, because of all this practicing.

For me, it’s not about the XP so much as seeing the information as much as possible. I think one place where people can go wrong with Duolingo is just doing the lessons and a little practice and assuming that’s enough. I like seeing all the words used in a variety of ways, and seeing the fun sentences that the course creators came up with. It’s also nice to see different contexts for certain words, as they can have multiple meanings.

I often see Duolingo criticized for not fully demonstrating the nuances between the usage of certain words. But (at least for the Norwegian course) between the course notes, the comments on sentences and the variety of sentences available, the shades of meaning become more clear. It really does just come down to doing tons of practice sessions, on both the mobile and desktop platform (this might be in my head, but I swear I get different sentences doing this!).

Basically, I’m going to keep plugging along with lots of practice and see where things go! I’m feeling really good about finishing this course on time, and retaining the information.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Norwegian in 90 Days: Halfway Update!

So, a few days ago, I officially hit 45 days of learning Norwegian with Duolingo! I’m pretty excited, as this is the most time I’ve put into language learning since university. By far. In fact, I think these 45 days have already surpassed the knowledge I acquired in my German I course from uni, which was really intensive, and definitely not free.

I’ve been keeping up with my daily routine, and doing a minimum of five practice sessions a day has kept my tree gold the entire time. I’m really trying to keep up with everything, so as to actually internalize all the new vocabulary. Sometimes it’s a bit more difficult, as there will be a lesson with 70+ words one day, and I end up forgetting a bunch by the next day. However, I’ve discovered that even if I don’t know the words on the first or second day, they eventually seep their way into my brain (thanks to both Duo and Memrise).

I’ve also started watching SKAM, which I hadn’t heard of until I started learning Norwegian, but I’m glad I stumbled upon it! I’ll definitely be writing more about this show later, because it’s so entertaining, and actually pretty helpful!

It’s hard to see a huge progress, as there’s still so much I don’t know, and duolingo sort of scales up with you so you’re always working at your current level. I definitely feel like I’m getting somewhere, though!

One thing I’ve noticed is that it’s harder for me to memorize the large batches of vocabulary all in one or two days. I’ve definitely been forgetting more and more. Fortunately, Memrise has really been helping to try to keep me up to date.

I’ve also decided that I should just plug through the 90 days, learn as much as possible, and then when I’ve hit the 90 days, just keep reviewing until I know everything solidly. I may give myself a week to just completely review everything before moving onto the next material!

I’ve also yet to figure out what the next set of material is, exactly….

The Pros and Cons of the Duolingo App

Duolingo | Fluent for Free

I’m officially 42 days into my 100 days of learning Norwegian with Duolingo, and I thought I’d take a moment to talk about the difference between using the app, and using the desktop site. Because I am learning Norwegian right now, which is not one of the main languages, there will be some differences. So, if you are learning French, Spanish, German or another “main” language, you will have a few more options in the app and on the site. Continue reading “The Pros and Cons of the Duolingo App”

What I’ve Learned in 30 Days of Duolingo

Fluent for Free | 30 Days of Duolingo Norwegian

30 days ago, I decided to try learning Norwegian, having zero previous experience and pretty much no idea where to start other than Duolingo. I’d used Duolingo to practice some pretty-much-dormant German and Spanish skills, but wanted to see what was possible to achieve from scratch.

So, after the first 30 days, here’s where I’m at…

Continue reading “What I’ve Learned in 30 Days of Duolingo”

How I’m Learning Norwegian

Fluent for Free | How I'm Learning Norwegian - My free language learning routine and resources

In the spirit of trying to be Fluent for Free, I’ve put together a little plan for myself that doesn’t cost a dime, and will hopefully get me to B1 proficiency in Norwegian in around three months. If you’re curious about why I’m learning Norwegian of all languages, you can check out this post!

This plan requires several hours of study per day, but can easily be modified for those with far less time to invest. I’m using a combination of free websites and apps to maximize the language learning experience, and really have a more rounded set of tools to work with. As I find more resources, I’ll be sure to update this page!

Duolingo (Website & App)

The backbone of this entire language learning experience is Duolingo. For those of you who aren’t familiar, Duolingo is a free website with companion apps for Apple devices, Android devices and Windows devices. It’s often cited as the best free language program you will actually use, and so far I can’t disagree. The Duolingo Norwegian course is incredibly well put together, and depending on how much work you put int, can get you to A2/B1 proficiency upon completion.

Every morning, I start out by doing 5 review sessions before I even think of learning anything new. If the review sessions were a bit shakey, I do 5 more until I feel more confident with what I had learned the day before. These review sessions are important for keeping the information fresh in your mind, and for keeping the tree gold.

I also learn at least one new complete skill every day, no matter what. There are 114 “lessons” in the Duolingo Norwegian tree, each with 2.-7 mini lessons. Learning at least one full lesson a day should get me to a completed tree within three months.

After learning the lesson, I will do another 5 review sessions (at least) to solidify the new information. I try to do a mix of general “strengthen skills” reviews, and of lesson-specific ones, depending on what I feel needs some extra attention.

Memrise (Website & App)

The second part of this plan is using a flashcard program/website to drill vocabulary. I found a flashcard deck on Memrise that corresponds to the Duolingo Norwegian course, and so before I learn a new lesson, I make sure to learn the words in Memrise. I also write down all of the words for that lesson in a notebook to make them stick in my brain a little better.

Memrise also keeps track of how well you learn each word/phrase, in order to present them for review at the appropriate times. I usually log in to Memrise 2-3 times a day (for about 5-10 minutes each time) to review vocabulary.

Another neat feature of Memrise, is that there is audio attached to many of the words, so you can actually hear native speakers pronouncing things.

Supplemental Norwegian Resources

Duolingo and Memrise are the structured part of my learning. When I’ve got a few extra moments, or want something a little more immersive and engaging, there are a few more websites I sprinkle in here and there to improve reading and listening skills.

Clozemaster (Website & App)

Clozemaster aims to teach a language with context. Basically, you look at a sentence, and fill in the missing word, either through multiple choice or text input. I’ve been slowly chipping away at the Norwegian Fluency one, though starting with the top 1000 frequency words. I end up playing this for about 10 minutes a day in free time, or while waiting for things like laundry to finish or food to cook.

Clozemaster has a TON of languages to choose from, and many can be learned from several native tongues (not just English!).

KlarTale.no (Website & Podcast)

KlarTale.no is an online newspaper written in “lett norsk,” or “light/easy Norwegian.” The articles are all written with simple enough structure that a beginner can easily follow along. There is also a weekly podcast summarizing the news in slow-spoken lett norsk. It’s really helpful for starting to learn!

NRK.no Children’s Shows (Website)

NRK is the official broadcasting channel in Norway, and they have a ton of children’s TV programs available for utlanderer (those of us outsie of Norway) to watch. I’m just going with kids’ shows for now, as the content tends to be more simplistic, and the speech a bit slower.

Many of these shows also have subtitles, and some even have transcripts, so you can follow along as you go.

Norwegian on the Web (Website)

For more listening and reading practice, check out Norwegian on the Web (NoW). There are many dialogues with accompanying text, and mini dictionaries on the side, so you can follow along as you listen, and look up the new words without leaving the browser tab.

The dialogues are about 1-2 minutes long, and have a slowed down version as well as one at normal speed. These are great for comprehension and for hearing native accents.

YouTube

I’m not sure if there’s anything out there that can’t be learned on YouTube. I really like Learn Norwegian Naturally, and Norsklærer Karense. Both channels teach Norwegian grammar and vocab in Norwegian, and provide some really helpful info! Learn Norwegian Naturally also has an awesome website accompaniement.

There are plenty of other great channels producing content as well, these are just the two I watch the most!

Quick And Dirty Norwegian Grammar

For those times when I just can’t remember something about Norwegian grammar, and the Duolingo notes aren’t providing a sufficient explanation (which is rare – the Norwegian Duolingo class has pretty awesome notes), I turn to University College London’s Quick and Dirty Guide to Norwegian Grammar. It’s easy to understand, and concise.

Why I’m Learning Norwegian

As an American woman who only speaks English fluently, Norwegian might seem like a curious choice for studying to fluency. I have no family in Norway; I’m not of Norwegian decent; I don’t have a trip to Norway planned anytime soon, so why am I learning this Scandinavian language?

Norwegian is (Relatively) Easy to Learn

I actually have a few reasons for studying Norwegian, and the first and foremost being that Norwegian is generally regarded as one of the easiest languages for English speakers to learn. Like English, it’s a Germanic language, and has a fair amount of cognates to English words. Additionally, the grammar is more or less straightforward. This is a nice departure from German, which I have attempted in the past, though I never really exceeded A2 level competency.

Norwegian is a Stepping Stone to Other languages

I mean this in a few different ways. For starters, Scandinavian languages are considered to be mutually intelligible. Knowing Norwegian gives you a massive advantage in terms of understanding both written and spoken Swedish and Danish. This site presents a study demonstrating the mutual intelligibility of Norwegian, Danish and Swedish quite nicely. For ease, I’ve copied the relevant information below:

Norwegians
understand 88% of the spoken Swedish language and
understand 73% of the spoken Danish language.

Swedes
understand 48% of the spoken Norwegian language and
understand 23% of the spoken Danish language.

Danes
understand 69% of the spoken Norwegian language and
understand 43% of the spoken Swedish language.

Norwegians
understand 89% of the written Swedish language and
understand 93% of the written Danish language.

Swedes
understand 86% of the written Norwegian language and
understand 69% of the written Danish language.

Danes
understand 89% of the written Norwegian language and
understand 69% of the written Swedish language.

Because Norwegian is a Germanic language, there are also a lot of cognates with German, another language on my learning list. Many people have noted that once you have becoming fluent in a second language, learning a third becomes much easier. I’m hoping to stack this with the similarities between Norwegian and German to be able to more easily learn German in the future.

Norway (and Iceland) Are Gorgeous

There’s really no contesting the beauty of Scandinavia – both in terms of nature and interior design. My husband and I have always said that should we make an international trip together, it would be to either Iceland, Norway or Denmark. So, learning the language of Norway can’t hurt. And yes, for these three countries, Danish might have been a better choice (it is a requirement in Icelandic schools), Norwegian just sounds better to my American ears!

The Romanticism

Finally, I really love the aesthetics of Scandinavian design, clothing, and life. I mean, Scandinavian countries consistently rank in the top slots for happiness when compared to the rest of the world. That has to count for something, right? I’m not sure if a love of thick knit socks, simple cozy design and snuggling up near a fireplace on a cold snowy night can help with learning a language, but I sure hope it does!