Welcome to the course
Welcome to a course in Norwegian. When you have completed this course, you should have enough knowledge to speak, read and write the language rather well. In order to learn a language properly, you must take action, you must do something. So I suggest, after you've learnt the basics, that you look up some simple, easy Norwegian literature, and start reading. Knowing what is easy is not easy if you don't know any Norwegian at all though. If you know somebody who is Norwegian, they might be able to help you to some nice reading. I will also try to put up some links to nice, easy articles here later.
General remarks about Norwegian
Written Norwegian is, in contrast to English, very close to pronunciation in spelling. This means that, like Spanish, it is always possible to guess how a word is pronounced in Norwegian. Although Norwegian can only be written in two ways, Bokmål and Nynorsk; how one speaks it is usually reflected in where you come from, by your dialect. There are nine vowels in Norwegian:
and 15 consonants:
The consonants c, q, w, x and z appear only in words of foreign origin.
Finally, there are 7 diphthongs:
Syllable division marks the natural break in a word. When you know where the syllables divide, you can divide a word into its natural sections. This makes speaking correctly easier. You also get a correct speech rhythm. The general rule for syllable division is that each syllable contains one vowel each.
Before one consonant
|en ta-le||a speech'|
|å so-ve||to sleep|
|en sa-me||a sami|
Between two consonants
|ei jen-te||a girl'|
|å san-ke||to gather|
|et styk-ke||a piece|
Between two vowels that do not form a diphthong
|en bo-a||a boa|
|en ra-di-o||a radio|
|en ge-o-graf||a geographer|
|et pi-a-no||a piano|
|en ko-a-la||a koala|
Information about the language
First of all, if you're a native English speaker, German speaker, or native in any other Germanic language, learning Norwegian shouldn't be too difficult, as it will have some common traits with your own. I am not saying, however, that it will be easy just because of it.
The Norwegian alphabet is almost the same as in English, except for three additional letters, æ/Æ, ø/Ø and å/Å. These have no special function in sentences/words, they are normal letters, and you will see them in use nearly as much as any other letters would be in use in English.
Here's how to say the alphabet letter by letter:
More on use of the letters ÆØÅ on Wikipedia
Bokmål and Nynorsk
There are two official written forms of the Norwegian language. This specific course will teach you Bokmål, which is the most widely used (85%). However, the two forms are very similar and you should not have great difficulties in understanding written Nynorsk. For more information about this, check out the Wikipedia article on the Norwegian language.
Okay, if you're ready, all you gotta do is proceed to Lesson 1!