Is Norwegian the easiest for an EN native speaker?

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solocricket
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Re: Is Norwegian the easiest for an EN native speaker?

Postby solocricket » Fri Mar 03, 2017 9:39 pm

It might be quite "easy" because many words are related, but the more I learn languages, the more I find availability of resources to be a huuuuuge factor in my motivation and how easily I learn something. I don't travel often, so I often think about languages in terms of how easily I can access audio media and, especially, books from the US where I live. I'm interested in the Scandinavian languages (I studied a little Swedish at one point), but I don't know how I can have ready access to a wide variety of lots and lots of books.

I studied Dutch pretty deeply, and yes, it was easy in terms of memorizing grammar and vocab, but I only own one physical book in Dutch aside from Harry Potter (my language learning stand-by), and it's been very difficult to find more. And thus, my motivation has lagged a bit because of that. Afrikaans is "easy" too, but I haven't been able to find a consistent talk radio station in order to listen to it! In contrast, I'm able to find many books in both French and, obviously, Spanish in the US. I know online and brick-and-mortar stores where I can easily find Japanese, Chinese, Russian, and Polish books for reasonable prices. These languages are more "difficult" for English learners, but I think I could learn them much more easily because I have the opportunity to expose myself to them far more.

Out of the Nordic languages, Icelandic might be easiest for me, because I've been to Iceland and brought back a goodly sized suitcase of books :D
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Re: Is Norwegian the easiest for an EN native speaker?

Postby PeterMollenburg » Sat Mar 04, 2017 12:34 am

solocricket wrote:It might be quite "easy" because many words are related, but the more I learn languages, the more I find availability of resources to be a huuuuuge factor in my motivation and how easily I learn something. I don't travel often, so I often think about languages in terms of how easily I can access audio media and, especially, books from the US where I live. I'm interested in the Scandinavian languages (I studied a little Swedish at one point), but I don't know how I can have ready access to a wide variety of lots and lots of books.

I studied Dutch pretty deeply, and yes, it was easy in terms of memorizing grammar and vocab, but I only own one physical book in Dutch aside from Harry Potter (my language learning stand-by), and it's been very difficult to find more. And thus, my motivation has lagged a bit because of that. Afrikaans is "easy" too, but I haven't been able to find a consistent talk radio station in order to listen to it! In contrast, I'm able to find many books in both French and, obviously, Spanish in the US. I know online and brick-and-mortar stores where I can easily find Japanese, Chinese, Russian, and Polish books for reasonable prices. These languages are more "difficult" for English learners, but I think I could learn them much more easily because I have the opportunity to expose myself to them far more.

Out of the Nordic languages, Icelandic might be easiest for me, because I've been to Iceland and brought back a goodly sized suitcase of books :D


Hey solocricket,

You might be interested in this thread (admittedly also started by me) on Norwegian resources:
http://forum.language-learners.org/viewtopic.php?f=19&t=1706

The fact that you find it somewhat difficult to find resources in some of the smaller European languages could be a good thing for me. I've acess to sooooo many resources in French, it's like I'll never find room to study another language, because there's so many things I want to work my way through. Sometimes being limited can be a good thing.

I'm considering re-igniting my Dutch soon. It surprises me that you found it difficult to find resources for Dutch. Still, I never searched for novels/litterature so much as opposed to courses. Hopefully there's someone else about that might be able to provide some hints on Dutch resources, or Scandanavian languages for that matter, as it seems from your wording that you're not currently learning Dutch.
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Re: Is Norwegian the easiest for an EN native speaker?

Postby solocricket » Sat Mar 04, 2017 8:31 pm

PeterMollenburg wrote:
solocricket wrote:It might be quite "easy" because many words are related, but the more I learn languages, the more I find availability of resources to be a huuuuuge factor in my motivation and how easily I learn something. I don't travel often, so I often think about languages in terms of how easily I can access audio media and, especially, books from the US where I live. I'm interested in the Scandinavian languages (I studied a little Swedish at one point), but I don't know how I can have ready access to a wide variety of lots and lots of books.

I studied Dutch pretty deeply, and yes, it was easy in terms of memorizing grammar and vocab, but I only own one physical book in Dutch aside from Harry Potter (my language learning stand-by), and it's been very difficult to find more. And thus, my motivation has lagged a bit because of that. Afrikaans is "easy" too, but I haven't been able to find a consistent talk radio station in order to listen to it! In contrast, I'm able to find many books in both French and, obviously, Spanish in the US. I know online and brick-and-mortar stores where I can easily find Japanese, Chinese, Russian, and Polish books for reasonable prices. These languages are more "difficult" for English learners, but I think I could learn them much more easily because I have the opportunity to expose myself to them far more.

Out of the Nordic languages, Icelandic might be easiest for me, because I've been to Iceland and brought back a goodly sized suitcase of books :D


Hey solocricket,

You might be interested in this thread (admittedly also started by me) on Norwegian resources:
http://forum.language-learners.org/viewtopic.php?f=19&t=1706

The fact that you find it somewhat difficult to find resources in some of the smaller European languages could be a good thing for me. I've acess to sooooo many resources in French, it's like I'll never find room to study another language, because there's so many things I want to work my way through. Sometimes being limited can be a good thing.

I'm considering re-igniting my Dutch soon. It surprises me that you found it difficult to find resources for Dutch. Still, I never searched for novels/litterature so much as opposed to courses. Hopefully there's someone else about that might be able to provide some hints on Dutch resources, or Scandanavian languages for that matter, as it seems from your wording that you're not currently learning Dutch.


Thanks for the link! I suppose it also has to do with the way I enjoy learning-- I love using native resources as soon as possible, and I love variety. And I love books. Dutch has a lot of resources in terms of courses that are available, but the only way I could buy native books is through Dutch sites with crazy shipping (I wish ebooks could be truly international! What's the point of a Kindle when I can't buy Dutch ebooks....). Especially with these Germanic languages that are so close to English, I would really like to get my hands on books and "decode" the language through massive exposure, with the support of a course on the side. People who prefer to get a course and then find a conversational partner might not feel the lack of resources so sharply, perhaps.
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Re: Is Norwegian the easiest for an EN native speaker?

Postby Brian » Mon Mar 06, 2017 8:26 am

solocricket wrote:
And I love books. Dutch has a lot of resources in terms of courses that are available, but the only way I could buy native books is through Dutch sites with crazy shipping (I wish ebooks could be truly international! What's the point of a Kindle when I can't buy Dutch ebooks....).


I find it crazy that there are difficulties in sourcing e-books in other languages (I've experienced similar issues with German). Surely the whole point of releasing a book in this format is that it can be instantly downloaded anywhere? There must be millions of people across the globe who don't live in a country where their native language is spoken. That's a huge potential market for digital publications.
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Re: Is Norwegian the easiest for an EN native speaker?

Postby iguanamon » Mon Mar 06, 2017 3:20 pm

Brian wrote:I find it crazy that there are difficulties in sourcing e-books in other languages (I've experienced similar issues with German). Surely the whole point of releasing a book in this format is that it can be instantly downloaded anywhere? There must be millions of people across the globe who don't live in a country where their native language is spoken. That's a huge potential market for digital publications.

I think it's about distribution rights and pricing to a large extent. Suppose I can order anything I want from anywhere without regard to border restrictions. Then suppose I live in the UK and speak English. I want to read the latest US bestseller novel which is priced at $10 US at Amazon.com and £10 iat Amazon.co.uk in the UK. Currently $10 = £8.15 and £10 = $12.33 so publishers are losing out on some profit by allowing anyone to buy a book anywhere which is made easier because there is no physical production, storage, handling or shipping fees involved. Capitalism doesn't work that way. Customers in the UK would simply opt to buy all their books from the US and save 23%, oh yeah... and also avoid paying VAT as a part of that process.

I don't like it but I understand that. What I can't understand is why I can't even order anything physical online from Brazil and have it shipped to me without having a Brazilian ID number (CPF), a Brazilian address and a Brazilian credit card, for some unfathomable reason. These measures basically turn those of us who read in other languages into pirates if we want to read things in another language not published in our own countries... but that's how the publishing interests want things in order to maximize their profits. Like it or not, that's the world in which we live and we must deal with it as best we can, by any means necessary. At least Amazon in Europe will physically ship books to me at a much higher price and longer wait time.

Of course this bears nothing on the topic of this thread- "Is Norwegian the easiest for an EN native speaker?". I think from what I've seen in similarity to English, that Frisian and Afrikaans are probably closer to English. I definitely believe Norwegian would be easier for an English-speaker to learn than a more distant language. This belies the question of interest and desire. If I have no interest or desire in learning Norwegian and I do have massive interest and desire to learn German, then German will be easier for me to learn despite Norwegian being closer to my native language, because I will want to learn German more.
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Re: Is Norwegian the easiest for an EN native speaker?

Postby Brian » Mon Mar 06, 2017 3:44 pm

The best non-native speakers of English (taking the respective population as a whole) seem to be the Scandinavian and Dutch people. Lo and behold, they speak a native language very close to English. That would suggest that the language family factor is a very important one and you could attempt to reverse the situation and say that a native English speaker is better equipped to learn Norwegian than a Hungarian (assuming equal levels of motivation and commitment).

I speak English natively and German confidently as an adult learner. I've never seriously tried to learn Dutch but whenever I hear it, I instantly get the impression that I could rapidly acquire the language as it seems to be almost a halfway house between English and German. If I were to attempt learning Greek, I'm sure the journey would be a more arduous one.
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Re: Is Norwegian the easiest for an EN native speaker?

Postby tastyonions » Mon Mar 06, 2017 6:38 pm

According to the English Proficiency Index, the Finnish are right behind the Dutch and Swedes in English, ahead of all the germanophone countries and way ahead of the Romance and Slavic speakers: http://www.ef.edu/epi/

So while language similarity might play a minor role, I think that quality and precocity of language education are probably more important. Not to mention the thorough penetration of anglophone media in those countries.
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Re: Is Norwegian the easiest for an EN native speaker?

Postby ed_phelan » Mon Mar 13, 2017 4:19 pm

A friend of mine's wife is from Norway, he managed to master the basics relatively quickly but has struggled to really master the language.
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Re: Is Norwegian the easiest for an EN native speaker?

Postby lextarya » Tue Mar 14, 2017 4:31 am

For me, definitely! Norwegian was and still is the best linguistic decision I have ever made. After three years of trying to get into language after language and repeatedly giving up, I finally found one that proved to me that language learning was not an insurmountable task. And that must have been all I needed, because here I am, studying two more!
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