In September of 2018 I was chatting with my friend Ben about some nonsense, as most of our conversations are, and he mentioned he was starting to learn Norwegian (Bokmål) on Duolingo (which is free!). For years, nay decades, I have been saying I need to learn a language. Being a massive procrastinator this had yet to happen, so I thought “Screw it. Why not Norwegian and why not now?! I know a couple Norwegians, they’re lovely people. I have been to Oslo, it was a great time. Let’s do this!”
Well I am over two years in, have a ton of points on the app, set up an Instagram to follow Norwegian based accounts, changed the language settings on my phone, and even paid for Duolingo Plus, which is actually a good price (not being paid to say that), and have come to a conclusion: I barely know Norwegian.
I’m not going to pretend to be the most studious of learners, and I took some breaks here and there, but at the same time I thought I would be a lot further along than I am. It has been rather difficult since I don’t have many options for conversing, and no opportunities for immersion. At this rate I’ll be able to travel back to Norway in 2025.
One thing this experience has proven to me is I should have started on a language much sooner, however, I don’t regret it one bit. Obviously I didn’t see a global pandemic coming, but this has definitely given me something to stimulate my brain while sitting at home. It’s also helped me establish a routine, also helpful in not losing my mind.
Even if you don’t use Duolingo, there are plenty of apps and resources out there. I have started to watch Norwegian videos on YouTube, read Norwegian news sites, and try to speak it as much as I can. In an environment where we have a lot of time on our hands, what’s the worse that could happen when the pandemic is over? You’ve started to learn a language? The horror…