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Social Life in Norway

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Social Life in Norway

Language

The most widely spoken language in Norway is Norwegian, which is the main official language and basic knowledge about it may greatly improve your ability to quickly establish a social life in Norway. Norwegian has two separate written standards: Nynorsk  Norwegian, “New” in the sense of contemporary or modern and Bokmål, “Book Language” written by 90% of the population. Both of these are official.

Understanding Norwegian is not too hard for English speakers – but pronunciation is a different matter as the language is tonal – like Chinese. If you don’t get the pitch right, your meaning may be different from what you intended. This gives Norwegian a “singing” quality. To add to the difficulties, the pitch system in west and north differs from that in the east.

In addition there are several Sami languages, which are official in seven Norwegian municipalities in the north. There is also a Kven language, a bit like Finnish, in the far north-east. You will also find around three Romani languages spoken.

For many years, Norway has promoted the speaking of English, and it is a compulsory subject at school. However, there has been recent concern about English superseding Norwegian in business and academic circles. Nearly everyone can speak English, Norwegian media and arts are saturated with it, but it is surely only polite to attempt some Norwegian.

Social Life in Norway

Making friends in Norway can be quite difficult, and loneliness could become a problem. Business colleagues are likely to stay just that  business colleagues. People like to have their own space, which may make them appear rather distant. Once a friend, though, they tend to stay friends; and they know how to make use of the internet in this connection.

Norway has preserved it traditions of storytelling and folklore  often involving trolls. At festivals they may dress up in folk costume. Tourist information centres have a generous amount of information on the sites to visit, and the local library will have details of the cultural life  theatre, music, art and festivals.

The best way to make friends is to meet people with similar interests  and that means joining some kind of club or team. The county serving office should have a list of organisations you could contact. The church is another contact point. If you would like to explore Norway, the Norwegian Trekking Association organises hiking trips.

As the price of alcohol is high, many people drink before going out, pre-parties at home, and you may find the night clubs don’t really get going till midnight, but the rules are strict, and differ according to your age. Oslo has plenty of variety and although the dress code is not too strict, some of the nicer places will turn away scruffy individuals.

National Holidays

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