After several months I “finished” the Assimil Norwegian course. As for the results???? Well, I will confess that I am able to read a Norwegian news article without too much difficulty. Unfortunately, my comprehension and speaking is an entirely different matter. Despite working through the entire book, I still struggle to understand the most basic Norwegian conversations. Norwegian is one of those languages where the words all meld together in normal speech. I am aware that English does this as well “Howyadointoday?” so I can empathize with students of English in this respect. I’m sure that if I had a few good, solid months of Norwegian immersion I could come a long way. Unfortunately I don’t think that will happen anytime soon unless I stow away on a Hurtigruten ship…..
Most of this summer I have spent reviewing Mandarin Chinese and Hungarian. I was shocked to find that I had nearly forgotten everything I had learned with these two languages. Luckily, going through the Assimil courses, up to unit 30 or so, brought a lot of it back. It was much easier learning these languages the “second time around”.
August brings another 6 week challenge. I was considering using it as a review for my other rusty languages, however, another language siren drew me in. I will be spending six weeks trying to learn as much Israeli Hebrew as possible. I am mainly interested in learning how to read the Hebrew script and to study the similarities between Hebrew and the Levantine dialect of Arabic. I’m told that although they are both Semitic languages, they are similar to English and, say, French. The two languages have many shared vocabulary words, but are by no means mutually intelligible. That being said, I recall seeing a news article several years back where Rechov Sumsum (The Israeli version of Sesame Street) was broadcast in the Palesinian areas using dialogues that would be understood by both Hebrew speaking and Arabic speaking children!
My 6 week plan of attack will start with Pimsleur. Luckily my library has all 90 lessons! It also has the Routledge Colloquial Hebrew course which teaches the Hebrew script. From there I might move on to the Assimil L’Hebreu Sans Peine course. This is a ways off, however, as it is entirely in French and the Hebrew script. לְהִתרָאוֹת. (L’hitra’ot – see ya later!)