Hello dear italki community !
I am in a bit of a quandry and would like to have some objective opinions. I am considering studying either Swedish or Norwegian and am having a hard time making a choice as to which(Sorry Danes ;^)
I have already studied a bit of Norwegian and already have a few books and other ressources. However, I have put my studies on hold for a while now because of lack of opportunities to practice the language and also because of the shortage of Norwegian tutors on italki.
While there are not tons of Swedish tutors either, I have noticed that there seem to be at least a few more options than Norwegian. I do not, however possess any books, dictionaries, or other ressources in Swedish and studying it would require further financial investment.
The third question I am asking myself deals of course with usefulness and also opportunites to use the language. I know that Sweden's population is greater than Norway's, but does that mean that I would necessarily have more chance of actually speaking it ? Is there any usefulness to learning these languages in terms of career opportunities ?
Any and all relevant comments are welcome.
Best wishes to all for the new year !
As a Norwegian, I find it intriguing to hear that you have found an interest in learning our language! If you ever visit Norway, you'll most definitely be met with some extra enthusiasm as soon as people hear that you know (even just a few sentences of) Norwegian. It is of course very rare for us to stumble upon foreigners who know any Norwegian at all, unless they have the intention of moving to Norway / working here.
I also love the Swedish language; the beautiful sound of it, as well as the brilliant Swedish novels, poems, movies, song lyrics, etc., that we also enjoy immensely here in Norway.
My immediate thought when reading your question, was that if I were you, I would probably know on some level which one of the languages I felt the most motivated to learn – and then I would go for that one. If you find both languages equally interesting, I would probably stick with the one already invested in.
I agree with the comments above, saying that you should learn the language you are most interested in. It's probably the best way of solving any problem, in terms of choosing between different languages to learn. If you plan on learning the language through visiting the country, I would also take into consideration how interested you are in the culture of the language that you're visiting.
If there's one thing you should know about Norwegian though, it's that it's VERY hard language to practise in its own country, due to the fact that people are so good in English. Most people use broken Norwegian speakers to practice their own English, instead of trying to help them out with their language.
I agree with Christine. Another thing that is good to know is that if you know one of those two languages, it is going to be easy to understand/learn the other one. If you know Norwegian fluently for instance, I am sure with a little bit of practice you will understand sweedes quite good in just a few days, and they will probably understand you if you speak clearly :-) So it is kind of "To fluer i en smekk" (two birds with one stone) if you choose either one of them!
My guess is that even the italki staff would agree that in situations where they cannot offer a good range of qualified teachers in a given language through their site, it would be better for the learner to look for teachers and/or language partners elsewhere, than to quit learning the language in its entirety (wouldn't it, italki?)
I would therefore perhaps think about getting in touch with language schools in your area, to ask if they have any Norwegians there learning French; some of them might be interested in a language exchange (could still be done online / via Skype, even if both parties are located in the same city). Maybe through that you’d also encounter someone who happen to know of some good Norwegian language teachers.
Careerwise, I guess the only scenario in which you'd have to be able to speak either Swedish or Norwegian, would be if you were to start working in one of the countries. If you learn either of the two languages to an upper intermediate level, you’ll be able to interact with both Swedish and Norwegian people.
Thanks to all of you for your helpful comments !