Norwegian FAQs

A list of frequently asked questions concerning Norwegian and learning Norwegian. If you don't find the answer to your question, please get in touch, we're happy to help!

Where is Norwegian spoken?

The only country where Norwegian is an official language is, of course, Norway. However, there are many other countries in the world where there is a large Norwegian-speaking part of the population, including, among others, Spain, the USA, Canada, Sweden, Iceland and Denmark.

Spain, reportedly, has over 50,000 Norwegians who moved there after retirement. The USA has large Norwegian expat communities, with around 40,000 Norwegian expats living there.

How many people speak Norwegian?

As of 2019, the population of Norway - and the number of native speakers of Norwegian - is 5,3 million people.

It is estimated that there are also around 1 million native speakers of Norwegian scattered all over the world: there are large Norwegian-speaking communities, in Europe, primarily Scandinavia and Spain, where Norwegians like to retire, as well as the USA and Canada.

As with less popular foreign languages (compared to, say, English or Spanish), not much data is available on how many people speak Norwegian as a foreign language. However, it can be said that it is fairly popular: on Duolingo (a language learning app) alone, there are over 800 thousand learners of Norwegian.

What makes Norwegian difficult to learn?

The difficulty of learning a language partly depends on the learner’s native language. For instance, for speakers of other Scandinavian languages, Norwegian may be fairly easy to learn, compared to, say, native speakers of Russian, Arabic or Japanese.

Things that make Norwegian hard to learn include: a complex system of prepositions, tonation - one word can have different meanings depending on the tone it is pronounced with - and pronunciation in general as well as the numerous dialects.

How different is Norwegian from Swedish?

Norwegian and Swedish have some similarities as they are both Scandinavian languages, which are part of the Germanic language family. There are shared vocabulary and similarities in pronunciation, but written forms of the two languages differ significantly.

To some extent, speakers of the two languages can understand each other. Some say that it is easier for Norwegians to understand the Swedes than vice versa, but this may be a subjective impression.

How different is Norwegian from Danish?

Norwegian and Swedish have some similarities as they are both Scandinavian languages, which are part of the Germanic language family. There is some shared vocabulary between the two languages. Written Norwegian and written Danish are similar, but the pronunciation is very different.

Danish used to be applied in Norway because it was part of the same kingdom ruled from Copenhagen for around five centuries. And it can be said that Norwegians in some sense almost write Danish but pronounce words very differently.

Speakers of Norwegian and Danish can understand each other fairly well in simple speaking situations if they speak slowly and clearly.


Norwegian Vocabulary Books

Learn Norwegian - Quick / Easy / Efficient

Learn Norwegian - Quick / Easy / Efficient

This vocabulary book is a curated Norwegian word frequency list with 2000 of the most common Norwegian words and phrases. Following the Pareto principle (80/20 rule), this book is built to streamline the learning process by concentrating on the core words and sentence structures. The result is a unique book ideal for driven learners and language hackers.
Norwegian Vocabulary Book

Norwegian Vocabulary Book

This Norwegian vocabulary book contains more than 3000 words and phrases and is organized by topic to make it easier for you to pick what to learn first. It is well suited for learners of all levels who are looking for an extensive resource to improve their vocabulary or are interested in learning vocabularies in one particular area of interest.

Norwegian Flashcards

Norwegian Quizlet Flashcards

Norwegian Quizlet Flashcards

These Norwegian flashcard sets contain 1300 of the most important Norwegian vocabularies sorted by topic. Each set represents one topic which allows you to dive deeper into areas depending on your priorities and interests.

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