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I bought this teach yourself norwegian book and cd set at the beginning of my university summer holidays for something to do and was pleasantly suprised. The book is divided into 16 chapters and a preliminary chapter which covers the alphabet, letter sounds and pronunciation.
The story begins in chapter 1 where Sue from London meets Norwegian student Arne and follows Sue's life as she moves to Norway, gets a job, makes friends, goes on holiday, ends up in hospital and experiences the Norwegian national day. Often I find this sort of set up patronising, but in this case it really is not, the characters are rather endearing.
Each of the chapters follows the similar format, with text and dialogue, most of which is contained on the CD, accompanying vocabulary box, true or false questions to test understanding, information sections, grammar explanations and several exercises. At the back of the book there are answers to all the exercises, verb tables and english-norwegian norwegian-english vocabulary which covers almost everything used in the book.
The CD proves really useful for getting the hang of pronunciation as Norwegian doesn't always sound as one would expect. The dialogue begins very slowly in the early chapters and works up to a faster speed.
I started learning from this book by learning a chapter a day, reviewing carefully each dialogue and completing all the exercises, and also looking over previous chapters. I thorougly completed the book in about a month.
This book introduces the reader to a lot of vocabulary and phrases and explains language patterns and grammar very well with the exercises ensuring that learning is consolidated. Overall, I think that this book provides the reader with an exellent grounding in Norwegian language and culture.
Beyond this course, I bought a pocket dictionary and a grammar book so I could progress further by reading norwegian news and speaking to norwegian friends and feel that this book gave great preparation for this.
(Review also posted on my ciao account under the same name)
From the popular "Teach Yourself..." comes Teach Yourself Norwegian by Margaretha Danbolt Simons who is herself, a Norwegian now living and teaching in England. So there is no better book to get than this one!
From first glance, it seems quite a daunting prospect learning a language without going to a class and it could take you a while to get going. It's based for the first time learners out there, but some prior exposure to Norwegian could be useful. (I have seen a few good films.) But after the initial phase you will find yourself engrossed and starting to sound out words aloud without realising.
The main gist of the book is thus:
It's about 2 people named Sue (an English woman) and Arne (a Norwegian man in England) who meet in a cafe while Sue is practising from this book. Their relationship builds up from there as does your knowledge of written and spoken Norwegian. As you go on through the book, you follow the adventures both in England and when Sue visits Norway for the first time.
The book is split up into 16 different topics and includes an Introduction section which is the most important and useful part. It guides you on alphabet pronounciation, differences in voice tones, relationship between Norwegian sounding words and English words in order to get the right sound.
16 Topics sounds like a hefty read doesn't it? Well, everyone learns at different speeds. The topics are broken up into dialogue sets with activities and vocabulary as you go through. It covers Greetings, How to ask for things in cafes/pubs/restaurant, Counting, Days of the Week, Norways national festivals, Work, If you are sick, etc... I found it helpful to get two exercise books for the activities and the vocabulary. There is no point in just doing it from the book otherwise you would have learnt nothing.
What not to expect from this book:
- Become fluent in Norwegian and have open-ended discussions about current affairs.
- To be able to learn it all over night.
- To be just like all the other language learning books.
It took me around 9 months to cover the topics and I now feel comfortable with what I have learnt and ready to go out to Norway and put it into practice!