How hard is it to learn a second language as an adult? I am trying to learn Norwegian, for fun, and have become discouraged.

4 Answers

Noah Green Profile
Noah Green answered

My dad is relatively fluent in Spanish and is currently learning Chinese for the sake of the work he does. Norwegian is certainly one of the more difficult languages to learn as an adult. I'd recommend learning German before you learn Norweigan. After all, Norweigan is a North Germanic language. That would give you a steady base for your learning, as well as make the process much easier. If you're financially stable and have the money to spare, I'd recommend investing in Rosetta Stone. I've heard great things about it. This is the program the U.S. Military uses this for languistics training.

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Andrea Heatherington
There are two different versions of Norwegian used currently in Norway, talk about confusing. I did some research, and I found what was widely accepted as one of the best systems to learn Norwegian, but I admit I am hitting a wall.
Confession, I really didn't care for school, so the memories of those old feelings are rearing their ugly faces. Maybe I just need to get inspired. Time to watch a lot of my favorite Norwegian films.
Dan Banks
Dan Banks commented
Ah that does sound confusing - good luck with that!
Andrea Heatherington
Oh, by the way, I decided ton try Norwegian on a lark. Seriously. I have a lot of favorite movies that happen to be Scandinavian, Norse especially, and I just loved the way the language sounds. Kinda silly. But I am not defeated yet, thanks for the encouragement everyone.
zirp  zirpenstein Profile

According to the US Foreign Service Institute, it will take a native speaker of English, already fluent in a second language, some 600 hours of class (that's 24 weeks minimum) to get fluent in an easy language such as Norwegian.

the only sizable language that can be learned significantly faster is Esperanto

Amanda Kamugisha Profile

Good on you for deciding to pick up another language but don't despair! Of course science would say that it is easier to pick up another language as a young child when your mind is like a sponge but just because you are a bit older doesn't mean you are 'past it' so to speak.

The key to learning any language is the 3 Ps: Perseverance, Patience and Practice. You are not going to become awsome in a short space of time (unfortunately) but a time will come when, with a bit of patience, it will all click and you will see just how proficient you are in Norwegian.

My answer is to find a method that works for you - audio (including recording your own voice), flashcards, vocab lists, putting phrases to music whatever - and be methodical about it. Constantly review vocab you have learnt and try and practice it - do a bit each day: 5 minutes is better than 0. You may not be in Norway now but a good alternative is to immerse yourself in the language via films, TV and (the most effective in my opinion) Radio. These are also a good marker for measuring your progress as you will gradually be able to understand more and more.

It will be a challenge but don't let the 'oh that's a hard language' talk discourage you. I'm currently learning Chinese, and after 6 months, the 'click' happened for me. Keep at it and good luck! :)

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Dan Banks
Dan Banks commented
Great answer Amanda, I've always wanted to learn Serbo-Croat, so I just might take it up now! Interesting point about radio, why do you think it's more effective at picking up language than film or television?
Amanda Kamugisha
Amanda Kamugisha commented
Thanks Dan. Great news! :)
From my experience I found my brain had to concentrate more and therefore I end up retaining more. I found that even having it on in the background whilst doing other stuff made a difference as I was often paying more attention to the foreign-sounding noise than I thought.
I think this is because we have become so used to visual stimulation that, purely audio presents more of a challenge. With visual, you don't have to be fully concentrating to get the gist of what is going on.
When I was learning French, I used to listen to the radio and, at first, pick out words I understood so that I could guess what the topic was then gradually I could follow part of an argument (if it was a radio discussion for example) and so on, until I could comfortably listen and understand it all. However, this was a REALLY slow process!
Dan Banks
Dan Banks commented
Cool, suppose I better find some Croatian radio stations then! Ha.

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