Have you recently immigrated to Norway? Here’s how you can receive assistance in learning the Norwegian language.
If you move to Norway from another country, there are two important things you have to learn – language and digital media use. Here are some helpful tips to guide you through the process.
Choose language in the Google-box below. Some translations may be flawed or inaccurate.
Are you new to Norway? You should know that learning Norwegian is very important to live here. It is more crucial especially if you do not speak English as well.
If you have children starting school in Norway, they will likely learn the Norwegian language much faster than you. It’s important to note that in Norway, using children as interpreters is not allowed, except in emergencies. Moreover, children should be spared from the responsibility of translating letters received from entities such as banks, doctors, government authorities, schools, etc. It’s necessary to let them focus on their own growth and development without being burdened by adult responsibilities.
We help children stay safe and aware online
The text you are currently reading is written by Barnevakten, a Norwegian organization committed to helping children stay safe online. We have separate pages for parents who live in Norway but do not speak Norwegian well.
Norwegian children spend a lot of time in front of the screen
As your children start attending Norwegian schools and form friendships with local children, you may notice a shift towards embracing Norwegian culture. Balancing this with your own cultural background is a delicate task. If you can speak Norwegian, it’s easier to understand the local culture, making it simpler to guide your children as they navigate between two cultures.
In Norway, it’s common for kids to spend a lot of time on video games, phones, and social media. Schools provide students with a computer or tablet to take home. Whether native or new immigrants, it may lead to potential disagreements at home about screen time.
When your kids play video games, they’re interacting with Norwegian children, improving their Norwegian language skills and making local friends. However, some games may not be suitable for children. Feel free to ask your kids about the games they play and check the age rating of each game.
Tips on how to learn Norwegian
Our first suggestion is to use Google Translate. If you’re working in an office, check your digital office solution. For example, Microsoft 365 offers built-in text translation features.
Additionally, you can explore translation apps available for download on your phone. These apps allow you to speak in your native language on your phone, and they’ll translate and speak in Norwegian through the speaker.
Make Norwegian friends
Try to connect with others using the few Norwegian words you know. The more people you engage with, the more you’ll learn. Making new friends can be challenging, especially when you don’t speak the same language. However, you can also learn Norwegian from people who aren’t your friends yet. Learn a few Norwegian words and talk to your neighbor, your child’s teacher, and others. Also, attend your child’s sports event, where other parents are in the audience, and try to socialize there.
Watch Norwegian films that have subtitles in your language
Learning Norwegian can be a gradual process through the enjoyment of these movies. Ensure that subtitles are available in your language. And on YouTube, you can adjust them using the gear icon.
Here are some movie recommendations:
You can also do the opposite, i.e. watch films from your home country and make sure that the subtitles are in Norwegian.
Learn Norwegian on YouTube and in apps
Type «lære norsk» in the search bar on YouTube, and you’ll find many videos that can help you learn Norwegian. Here’s an example. Here’s an example.
There are also interactive apps like «Duolingo» and «Babbel» that can help you teach Norwegian.
Who can teach you Norwegian?
Salvation Army Language Cafes:
Join the Christian organization Salvation Army’s (Frelsesarmeen) language cafes in various Norwegian cities. Meet friendly people ranging from fluent speakers to beginners like yourself. Grab a cup of coffee or tea and start chatting. Find a Salvation Army location in your city here.
Explore More Language Cafes:
You can find several language cafes here. Don’t forget to ask your local library if they’ll be hosting a language cafe soon. Some libraries have friendly pensioners who volunteer in the language cafés and are very eager to help immigrants practice Norwegian.
Consider hiring a private Norwegian teacher for personalized lessons. Whether online, at home, or in another location, a teacher can adapt sessions to fit your needs.
You may be entitled to an interpreter
In Norway, residents have various rights and welfare benefits, managed in part by a government agency called NAV. For instance, if you lack income from work or are unwell, you can receive financial support.
Family, friends, or children cannot act as interpreters for NAV meetings. You can request NAV to arrange a professional interpreter for your meeting, and it’s free of charge. Here are videos in different languages explaining interpreters at NAV.
You may also have the right to an interpreter when meeting healthcare professionals. However, inform the hospital or doctor well in advance so they can arrange for an interpreter.
If you’re visiting the dentist, you’ll need to pay for the interpreter yourself and arrange for one.
Here’s information in your language about interpreters. Remember, an interpreter can’t provide advice or assistance; their role is solely translation.
At school, as a parent, you may have the right to an interpreter. In Norway, teachers organize meetings several times a year for parents to meet with them, often with the child. The school also holds general meetings for all parents, known as «foreldremøte» in Norwegian. You may have the right to an interpreter for such meetings—talk to the school about it. If your Norwegian isn’t strong, attending these meetings might be uncomfortable, but it’s an opportunity to learn the language and make Norwegian connections.
Norwegian law prohibits using children as interpreters, except in emergencies. However, it’s acceptable for your child to interpret when talking to neighbors or receiving simple messages from school.