Language (Språk)

(Nynorsk og Bokmål)

There are two main written/spoken languages of Norwegian, and there is actually conflict about this. One is traditional bokmål, and the other is nynorsk (literally, “new Norwegian”). There are also different dialects depending on where you are. Someone from Bergen will speak differently than someone from Oslo. Norway didn’t used to have language learning requirements, but with the influx of immigrants, that has changed over the years to better integrate immigrants into Norwegian life. Here are the things I have found most helpful so far while learning bokmål. (Unfortunately, I’m moving to one of the few municipalities that officially adopted Norwegian Nynorsk!)

Duolingo: While this is a good stepping stone for learning bokmål, they don’t yet have an option for nynorsk, nor do they really get into the ins and outs of grammar and syntax, both of which are important for really understanding a language. The upside is that they have an app for that, along with the web capabilities. The app doesn’t allow for microphone usage, but I’ve found the microphone (at least mine) doesn’t pick up sound well enough on a consistent basis to be useful.

Memrise: This is a useful tool for memorization, as it goes through the same things over and over. Like Duolingo, you can set your daily goal, but instead of points, it measures actual time. Memrise has a lot of ‘courses’ available, as well.

Learn NOW by NTNU (family version) / Learn NOW by NTNU (study version): This are free online courses offered by Norges Teknisk-Naturvitenskapelige Universitet (Norwegian University of Science and Technology), which are great for better linguistic understanding. Again, this is for bokmål.

CALST by NTNU: This is for speaking practice! It’s great because it offers different dialects for the area of Norway you’re trying to learn. For me, this is fabulous because the west coast dialect is apparently the most difficult, and this is the only place I’ve been able to practice at all. Make sure you have a microphone for this, as it’s necessary. Note: This works best in Chrome browser.

All of these are helpful, but by far, the best way to learn is through interaction and use as much as possible. For that, I recommend finding a tutor or in-person course, if one is available near you.

Private Tutor (Dr. Kariin Sundsback): She is going to be my new private tutor via Skype lessons. Thus far,  our interactions have been wonderful. I can’t wait to get started! There are other tutoring programs out there and private tutors; Kariin came recommended to me through a friend of my boyfriend.

Once you are comfortable enough with the language, you will have to take what is known as the Bergenstest, which is the language proficiency test. The test can be taken abroad twice a year, but you have to plan for it well in advance to make sure the testing facility will be able to give the test. 

Bergenstest: This link has a lot of good information about the test, but is primarily for those intending to take the test somewhere in Norway.

Bergenstest: This link is for those who intend to take the test abroad. You’ll note that the entire cost of the test is a little bit more than if you take it in Norway (NOK 3500). Right now, that’s just under $450 USD.


UDI: The Norwegian Directorate of Immigration website. This has everything you need to know about immigrating into Norway, application wait times, costs, how much money you need to have in a bank account (as a job-seeking skilled worker, that amount is currently NOK 118,203 for six months), etc.

Embassy & Consulate General: The Consulate General office is who you want to make an appointment with well in advance of a move. They can answer questions, and if you apply while still abroad, they are who you will be meeting with for an appointment. This is arranged through their partner, VFS Global, who have a very easy-to-use appointment setting feature.


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