Norwegian is a unique language in the sense that it has two officially-recognized forms, known as nyorsk and bokmal. While this may seem baffling to students who turn their attention towards learning Norwegian, it actually has a hidden benefit – it produces many of the same brain developments that come from being bilingual, including a higher level of creativity. Although most Norwegians write in bokmal, because nyorsk is also required learning in Norwegian schools, most Norwegian students grow up enjoying the same benefits of kids in bilingual households in other countries. Some of the benefits of learning both languages are quite counter-intuitive – for example, people who can write nyorsk, on average, read bokmal faster.
There’s other good news for people who are interested in learning Norwegian but who live in countries where it’s not commonly taught: Campus Online is now offering a full online Norwegian course. This is not simply a course delivered by ebook or pre-recorded video lessons – it involves a real online tutor who you have class sessions with and ask questions in real time. Language learning was previously particularly hard to do by correspondence because the subtleties of languages are very difficult to pick up without having reference to a fluent speaker, but the Internet has changed all that. Diverse language courses are now accessible from remote parts of the world, making it easy for travelers to get a grip on a new language before they even leave their home country.
In other Norwegian use, an interesting cross-cultural film has come out of China entitled Ibsen in One Take. Created by Chinese director Wang Chong, it is an original story which draws characters and theme elements from many of Ibsen’s plays. Ibsen’s works are relatively little known in China due to the language barrier, and Chong has described the film as ‘an introduction to Ibsen.’ This is one more example of the way diverse languages are becoming inter-connected and crossing over in the Internet age.