I just came home from Iceland, where I have attended a four weeks course in Icelandic for Nordic students. When learning Icelandic, it's obviously a bonus to have Norwegian as your native language, but mostly for understanding. You still have to go through all that work with pronunciation, case endings, verb forms (eventually, I came to realize that Icelandic has the same
conjugation groups as Norwegian, but that doesn't mean the verbs necessarily belong to the same group, even if they are etymologically the same). In this course, we were sent out to speak Icelandic with the locals from the first week
, which is NOT the way I usually do things, but it was an interesting experience. One thing I discovered, was that I could understand what people were saying to me quite well, even if I found it very difficult to transcribe it from the sound file afterwards. No doubt, this is one of those nordic bonuses, which is probably one of teh reasons we were sent out to do this so early on.
As usual, I came home with a suitcase full of books. I got some grammar books, Isländische Grammatik Schritt für Schritt
by Stefan Drabek, book 1 and 2. Both have a textbook and a workbook. I started using the first one while in Iceland, and liked it a lot. It introduces grammar in such a way that you can start doing something useful with the language straight away, and it has a ton of exercices of increasing difficulty for each chapter. There is also a good pronunciation section with sound files. Then I got an Asterix book, which I have already read, a book by Astrid Lindgren, Bróðir minn Ljónshjarta
, which I also have on audio and which I plan to use for pronunciation exercice, Harry Potter, books by the Icelandic novelists Sjón and Jón Kalman Stefánsson, a short story collection (Kláði
by Fríða Ísberg, which was recommended to me by several people), and a poetry book, Gangverk
by Þorvaldur Sigurbjörn Helgason, which I saw in the bookshop and bought mainly because I could understand most of the first poem right then and there (it was worthwhile reading, too). Now that I'm back, I'd like to start working with the Lindgren book, and continue with the grammar book.French
I haven't done much French while on Iceland, although I did watch some videos now and then. Shortly before leaving, I started substribing to National Geographic France's YouTube channel, so I have been getting emails at regular intervals about newly published videos. There are just 3-4 minutes long, so there's really no excuse to ignore them (if the content is of interest, at least). As a bonus, I've found that there's often interesting stuff in the associated suggestions, and those are often 20-40 minutes long, which I usually think is better if I actually have some time.
I'm now back in Norway for two weeks, but after that, I'll be leaving for France. A while back, I had the idea that joining an organized hike would be the perfect way to get some language practice while on vacation. It must have been in February, when I did this here in Norway, that I first got the idea. So I looked around for a French company offering these kind of trips, and eventually booked a 6 day hike in the Alps, around the area of Mount Blanc. In connection with that, I'll have 3 days in Paris on my way down, and 2 days in Geneva on my way back.
Meanwhile, I've started finding my way back to my French habits. I have an audio book in the car, another one on my phone, which I listen to while doing housework, and I started reading Britannicus
by Racine, which I have tickets for at the theatre on my first day in Paris. I've also changed the language settings on my sports watch, and will do so on my cell phone as well. I'm planning to go all French during those two weeks, including posting in French on Facebook. It will be interesting to see what kind of responses I get! It's very common to learn French in school in Norway, but not so usual to use it with confidence ...Russian
I haven't done much Russian the past year, but it is now decided that I will be going to Moscow in October, on a week's vacation with a couple of relatives. That means it's time to get going again. I've conciously left it alone while on Iceland, because I've observed that I tend to get a lot of interference between a new language I'm learning and the last language I started learning. But now it's time to get to work. I'm a little reluctant to start anything big, since I have to take a break in two weeks, but I've started with some repetition on Duolingo. To my utter amazement, I'm still typing as well as I did before I took the break (which admittedly is not very fast), and other things, too, are coming back easily. I think I'll stick with Duolingo and reading Bulgakov (for the book club) for now, and when I get back from France, I'll start doing something more focused on speaking. I started thinking about it, and I'm considering reading practice (using Harry Potter, for instance), busuu (I already have a paid subscription), getting back to some abandoned text books I have lying around, and russianpod. Arabic
This wasn't exactly what I had planned, but when Duolingo finally releases its long-awaited Arabic course, what can you do? I've made it to 21 crown levels in 7 days so far, but I have no plans outside of Duolingo just now (well, of course I have plans, but I hope they can wait until October, after Moscow).