They say that the best way to master a language is when one is a child. Then all the vowel sounds and intonations develop naturally. My kids get a free ticket to Bilingual Land. They will speak “American” American and “Norwegian” Norwegian. Unlike their mother who speaks Norwegian with an American accent.
I’ve practiced pronouncing the sounds of the extra three Norwegian letters until my jaws start cramping, but no matter how hard try, I just don’t get it right. And diphthongs, don’t even go there. My last name contains one, and when my 5-year old daughter whispers to her classmates, “She’s not Norwegian.”, I get the hint.
But I give it my best, laying perfectionism to the side, and I’m thankful that at an adult age I managed to learn a foreign language. Actually, I’ve liked to think I sounded more Norwegian than other Americans speaking Norwegian. But this past week I had to face the truth. Good-bye ego trip.
I was interviewed by the local radio station regarding the opening of my gallery (see pictures here: Before, After and Before.) And guess what? I sound like an American! Imagine that. Anyway, if you’re interested in hearing what it sounds like when an girl from the potato state gives Norwegian her best shot, here’s the link (Radio Nordkapp). Just click on the phrase that says “Hør hva Haugli kan fortelle ” (that’s the last name I can’t pronounce correctly). And here’s the man I share that last name with… no wonder I’ve been living here for almost 10 years!