With magnificent landscapes throughout the country and natural wonders that add to Norway’s spectacular beauty, it’s unsurprising that Norway is one of the top 5 happiest countries in the world.
Learning Norwegian can help you better enjoy the breathtaking attractions and charming cities offered by Norway from the linguistic perspective of native speakers. To help you in your objective of learning Norwegian, we’ve compiled a comprehensive guide to the best resources and study materials available.
A Complete Guide On How To Learn Norwegian 
About the Norwegian Language
Since 18.5% of the population of Norway is comprised of immigrants and individuals born in Norway to immigrant parents, you can expect to hear multiple languages spoken throughout the country. Nonetheless, from the buzzing city of Oslo to the scenic fjords, Norwegian (most specifically the Oslo dialect) is the most spoken.
The Norwegian language itself has at least 15 different dialects, meaning that in the learning process you’ll come across a variety of different ways in which native speakers pronounce certain words. The multiplicity of the language is due to the 14th-century queen, Margaret I, who united the kingdoms of Norway, Sweden, and Denmark through the Kalmar Union.
To protect against other European powers and to continue her reign as queen, Margaret crowned her great-nephew Erik of Pomerania as king of all three countries. As a result, even as the countries separated from Norway in the coming centuries, they had a large influence on the Norwegian language.
How Difficult is Learning Norwegian
According to the Foreign Service Institute under the U.S. Department of State, to reach professional working proficiency in a language like English, it can take an average of 600-750 class hours (roughly 24 weeks).
For Norwegian in particular, whilst it’s rarely spoken outside of Norway, it shares similarities with many other European languages and thus is relatively easy for English speakers to learn.
The sentence structure of Norwegian phrases is similar to English. Both languages have plenty in common and their likeness has even prompted researchers from the University of Oslo to argue that English is more of a Scandinavian language rather than a West Germanic one in 2012. With practice, it also becomes easy to conjugate both regular and irregular verbs.
There are also complicated aspects of the language. When it comes to Norwegian grammar there is a ‘feminine gender‘ that exists in certain dialects, but not in others. Norwegian is also spoken using a pitch accent and it can be difficult to understand without context.
Resources for Learning Norwegian
Classes and Language Exchanges
italki offers one-to-one lessons between you and an educated language tutor who is fluent and has likely lived in Norway for a period of time. Here you can read our evaluation of how effective italki is at learning at helping you learn a new language.
Verbling is like italki in the sense that they offer lessons with private tutors. From our analysis, we’ve concluded that it’s overall more expensive and there are fewer tutors to choose from. On the other hand, their flashcards along with their filing system are brilliant for beginners.
HiNative is essentially a Q&A app where you can ask questions and get feedback. We’ve found that many of the questions we’ve asked were answered quite quickly, though the platform does have some shortcomings.
Language Exchange Partners
The most popular apps for finding language exchange partners are HelloTalk, Speaky, and Tandem. Once you’ve downloaded the apps, you can communicate with those fluent in the language you want to learn. Check out our review (HelloTalk, Speaky, Tandem) in detail.
Diskusjon.no is a language forum. There’s virtually no English spoken in the discussions which is perfect for those with intermediate or advanced level Norwegian.
Online and App-based Language Courses
Mondly uses game-based quizzes and other advanced techniques to help you learn Norwegian quickly and successfully. Whilst the course itself isn’t necessarily one to avoid, we did find that it didn’t stand out compared to other programs.
Babbel has an intuitive user interface that makes it simple to use. We’ve discovered that the materials for grammar are particularly valuable, though we did struggle with the pronunciation exercises.
Duolingo’s Norwegian course is highly regarded by many app users. This is due to the active forum and the memorable phrases used to remember words and sentence structures used in the real world. Find out what two of our team members think of the app here.
There are several beginner-level online courses available at FutureLearn. Each course takes around 4 weeks long if you dedicate around 4-5 hours per week. Unfortunately, the enrolment periods mean that you must complete the courses on pre-determined dates.
LearnNow is an entirely free online site that covers pronunciation and vocabulary. They also have activities to quiz you on each chapter you’ve covered each week.
Gramatikk is a site with detailed grammar explanations and quizzes that you can download for learning on the go. Simply search through the topics and find PDFs that aim to give you a good understanding of language rules. Some files are entirely in Norwegian, however, others contain detailed English explanations.
Memrise is both desktop and app-based with 7 official online courses to give you a head start in learning Norwegian. The official site aims to get you at a level where you can conduct yourself in Norway with relative ease. Read our review about our experiences with the programs here.
Mango Languages can guide you from beginner to advanced level in speaking and listening. Through our research, we’ve found that this is due to their use of high caliber resources that are helpful in improving pronunciation. However, you’ll likely need to start using supplementary material to enhance your writing skills.
Glossika is a program that specializes in lessons that teach you how to better speak your chosen language. We found their approach to teaching to be quite disappointing and their course material had multiple errors.
Whilst we haven’t had the opportunity to assess how good the Instant Immersion lessons are at teaching a new language, it offers a 90-day money-back guarantee for those who want to try.
Audio courses and podcasts
Pimsleur focuses heavily on preparing its users to speak at an intermediate level without having to learn complicated language rules out of context. We were quite impressed with the quality of each lesson, though the lack of visual content did make it more difficult to use.
The Norwegian audio course offered by the Michel Thomas Method takes about 3-4 hours to complete and teaches you how to construct simple phrases that enhance your natural ability to form new sentences.
With a good selection of lessons to choose from, you can learn Norwegian each week through engaging lessons to make the learning process more fun. Although we’ve found that the course is best used as supplementary material, we are still convinced of the value that it brings.
Assimil, advertised as the best language learning method in Europe, has 4 programs to help you learn Norwegian used in the real world. However, bear in mind that the Assimil method doesn’t expect you to form your own sentences until the ‘activation phase’ which is lesson 50 onwards.
This is a CD that introduces words and related phrases that beginners will need in order to speak Norwegian effectively. It’s well-structured and the type of language introduced is perfect for beginners who want to start learning how to speak basic, conversational Norwegian.
This series is easily accessible and designed to build a foundation in the language.
Norskpodden has audio files that are around 10-25 minutes in length to help listening comprehension and you can choose how much to listen to each week.
This podcast has a beginner series that cover topics like ‘helping verbs’. They also have ‘advanced reading’ episodes that are helpful in giving you the ability to understand stories of varying lengths that you can listen to each week.
These podcasts have plenty of news stories that are spoken in clear, comprehensive Norwegian, making them favored choices for learners who want to listen to real-world current affairs.
Through this podcast, you can learn Norwegian by listening to individuals speaking in a slow and relaxing tone of voice.
This series has been archived due to inactivity, however, their older posts covered interesting real-world stories based on events in Norway for users who want to improve their listening comprehension.
Word Lists and Game-Based Vocabulary Activities
Drops is a game-based app for those who want the process of learning to feel more fun. It’s available as an app for both Android and iPhone users and we’ve found that although the paid version doesn’t offer any worthwhile content, overall, it’s an enjoyable way to remember each new word introduced.
Clozemaster has thousands of words to try and understand. Learning each one can help you make great progress on your reading skills. Check out our analysis here of how we found both the free and paid versions.
uTalk is a great method of learning for those who want to memorize through game-based activities. Check out our review of how our experience with the site went.
This free verb list is ideal for those who want to learn a large array of words, their conjugations, and English translations.
Loecsen gives you 17 different word lists that are great for practicing your writing.
Anki is great for creating flashcards and word lists with their English translations each week. It gives you the option of either creating your own sets or using those created by someone else. For example, this set has over 2000 flashcards.
Textbooks and Reference Books
This book has been endorsed by many readers as a fun and refreshing method of learning Norwegian. The interesting storyline makes you want to go through the book at a fast pace, and those who have intermediate-level reading fluency may find it to be the best option to get themselves motivated to study.
The På Vei series is Norway-based and has 2 high-level books that are best for intermediate level learners who want to dedicate a few hours each week to the book.
Praktisk Norsk contains difficult materials that have been created to prepare individuals for exams.
This book contains beautiful images of Norway that help to get readers more engaged, however, due to the very little amount of English text, this is likely best for those with intermediate or advanced level fluency. Feel free to look at the publisher’s website for access to other content.
Outside of Norway, it’s easy to search for and get a copy of this book. Though it can be quite difficult for beginners, many readers like how clear the available listenings texts are online.
Individuals can also easily search for and buy a copy of this book from outside of Norway. Instructions are given in English and it is designed for those who have advanced-beginner to upper-intermediate levels of fluency.
This book is a great way to learn Norwegian thoroughly by first building your comprehension of language rules. It teaches concepts like personal pronouns which can be difficult to understand.
If you want to start achieving a better comprehension of the intricacies of the language, you may come to like this book as much as many of its avid readers. It’s also easy to search for from all over the world.
Both books are great for those who wish to learn Norwegian by first studying language structure.
Both books are accessible for people who want to purchase them outside of Norway. They’re great for those who want to make progress on improving their reading comprehension.
Manga Method contains translated manga and gives you the option of listening to an audio recording of the text or viewing the translation.
LinQ gives you the option of reading, watching videos, and searching for new terminology without having to leave the platform. Our experience has shown that the word review functions are slightly disorganized, however, it’s effective as a reading app.
YouTube and TV
This YouTube channel publishes daily videos to help you start speaking with a great degree of accuracy. The majority of lessons are short, meaning those who want to learn more quickly can go through the videos at a fast pace.
Karin publishes videos every few months. Even though there aren’t a lot of new material, the contents are of good quality and good for beginners who want to understand natural, smooth-flowing Norwegian.
Norsklærer Karense is a YouTube channel with tutorials to help English speakers learn Norwegian at a fast, yet manageable pace. With this, you can start to take on hundreds of video lessons that make learning feel more fun.
This YouTube channel features enjoyable and easy to understand news segments. Many of the videos are more than 50 minutes long, and although there aren’t many new videos at present, their existing videos feature fun scenarios set in Norway.
With Dpaly, you can conveniently stream videos such as ‘The Big Bang Theory’ on-demand. However, for shorter, more concise clips you can instead watch the Dplay Norge YouTube channel
Mot I Brøstet is a 90s sitcom that you can use when learning how to understand what an actual conversation in Norway would sound like. The spinoff Karl & Co has 63 episodes of situational comedy. It’s brilliant for intermediate level learners who want to learn more cultural aspects of Norway.
Skam is a well-liked TV program in Norway. Whilst you may find it difficult to watch outside of Norway, the dramatic storyline can help you learn Norwegian through immersion.
Music, News Sites, and Other Resources
The Klar Tale news site publishes news articles linked to topics like current events in Norway. The articles are helpful for those who want to learn vocabulary.
The Dagbladet tabloid can be more complicated to read since the articles use more elaborate sentences.
Aftenposten covers engaging news stories for those who want to read one of the most widely recognized newspapers in Norway.
The Nrk Ekko is a radio station based in Norway that features a large selection of talk shows. Should you dislike the content, Radio Norge is a good alternative. Click here to listen to some of their files.
‘Norsk Musikk’, ‘Most Famous Norwegian Songs’, and ‘Norwegian Songs – 2021’ contain thousands of songs for those who want to learn through music native to Norway.
Ordnett and Oslomett are online dictionaries that help you to understand and make sense of certain words and phrases. When faced with new words, the dictionaries give helpful explanations and you can also use Forvo to check how to pronounce certain words.
Language Courses to Avoid
17 Minute Languages
Although our exploration of this course has shown that they use native audio, they don’t have suitable explanations and the materials are riddled with errors.
From our experience, the materials are repetitive, poorly structured, and their teaching methodology involves monotonous self-study.
We found the explanations to be substandard and the materials to be dull.
No matter your reason for learning Norwegian, there are multiple online courses that you can utilise to make language learning enjoyable. Whether you learn best through audio, video, or written materials, you’re sure to find a useful option in this guide.
How To Learn Norwegian?
Other than by living in Norway directly, you can learn through resources such as apps, online courses, videos etc.
How Long Does It Take To Learn Norwegian?
For someone not living in Norway, it can take 24 weeks (600-750 hours)
How Hard Is It To Learn Norwegian?
It’s known to be an easy language to learn for those who know English due to the similarities that English shares with Norwegian
Why Learn Norwegian?
To experience the beautiful country of Norway from the linguistic perspective of fluent speakers
How To Learn Norwegian Fast?
Through dedicating time and effort to practicing how to write, speak, listen and read Norwegian (or through living in Norway).
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Author: J Maver
Passionate in tech, software and gadgets. I enjoy reviewing and comparing products & services, uncovering new trends and digging up little known products that deserve an audience.