Kevin’s Journal: Language

Speaking English in Norway

In Norway people speak Norwegian. I do not speak Norwegian, and English is the only language I know. Luckily almost everyone in Norway speaks English, so it is not very difficult to talk with Norwegian people! Even still, it is sometimes difficult not knowing the Norwegian language.

At school and in my daily life most people around me are speaking Norwegian. Sometimes it makes me feel lonely, because I do not know what these people are saying. If I want to talk with them, I simply say something in English. They then will respond in English because they know the language very well. All of my Norwegian friends started learning English in school when they were six years old. This is why they are so good at speaking with me!

Sometimes I try to speak Norwegian and pretend that I am not American! If I go to the grocery store, the cashier will ask me, “Trenger en pose?” (Do you need a bag?) I respond Nei (no). Then they tell me how much money my groceries are, and I respond Takk (thank you). I try to blend in with everyone else and make it look like I am Norwegian! Although, almost every time the cashier realizes I am American and that I do not speak Norwegian. Then they talk to me in English and it is very simple.

My college here in Bodø is very international. This means that a lot of the students studying here are not from Norway. Some of the students are from France, and others are from countries such as East Timor or Russia. Do you know where Russia is? It’s east of Norway, and it is the largest country in the world. These students also do not speak English as their first language. This means that sometimes our conversations are difficult. I have to explain what words like “sibling” or “knitting” mean. They understand what these words are, but they have different words to describe them.

One of the funniest moments I have had with speaking English was with my friend from France. Her name is Charlyne, and she does not speak English very well. It was the first day of school and we had to get off the bus to get to class. I didn’t know exactly what stop I needed to get off at, but then I saw my school in the distance. I told Charlyne, “I think we need to get off of the bus.” She didn’t understand me, so I pointed to the university. She didn’t see what I was pointing to and the bus was stopping to let the students off. I turned to her and said “Bus stop, university!” Then she understood and we had to yell to the bus driver to stop the bus because he was about to drive away from our bus stop. It was a very funny experience!

I wish I knew another language like French or Norwegian. It is very helpful to learn another language because then you can talk to people all around the world. It might help you study abroad somewhere like Spain or China! Or it might get you a job if you know two languages and can communicate to people from all around the world. What language would you choose if you could learn a language? Once you get to middle school and high school you will probably be able to learn another language. This is something you should do! Then you can talk to people from different places in the world. It is easiest to learn another language when you are young, so start learning as soon as you can in school.

If you meet someone in the United States who does not speak English very well, make sure to be patient and try to understand what he or she is saying. It is easy to get frustrated, but you have to realize they are probably not from America and are trying very hard to talk with you. So make sure you are kind and helpful. Maybe you can learn something about them and their culture!

I hope you all think about learning another language. It is never too late, but it is easiest to do when you are young. Even though I do not speak another language completely, I know some Spanish and Norwegian, so it is helpful at times. They also appreciate when I speak their language because it is easier for them to understand me.

kevin1

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