Subject Material

Why is English So Popular?

Published: 25.08.2010, Updated: 03.03.2017
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Pre-reading: How many English words which are used every day in Norwegian can you think of? Write down as many as you can.

Why is English so popular
sign.photo.Very nice sign close to Plaza Mayor, and perfect English. ;-)  

If you ask Scandinavians about the English language, most people are very positive. They consider English easy to learn and also feel that they manage to read and write it reasonably well. The reason for this, of course, is that Scandinavians are almost born into a bilingual community.

English dominates the media landscape. The majority of films, soaps and criminal series are in English. If we buy a CD, the lyrics of the songs are most likely in English. We start learning English during our first years at school, and the Norwegian language adopts English expressions (anglicisms) by the hour. Just think of all the signs you find in an ordinary Norwegian town. Nobody even stops to think about words like, sale, pub, bar, Body Shop, TV Shop, charts, hair-studio etc. They are a part of our daily life by now.

Have you ever thought about the way you and your friends express yourselves? How many English words do you use in your daily conversations? Think of words like “cool”, “not”, “party” and the ones you jotted down in the Pre-reading activity. We have been raised on the English language, and it is therefore easy to learn new expressions as we grow up. Nowadays, this is also the case in most countries, all over the world. We find words like "le week-end" in French, "der Computer" and "der Job" in German, "il soft- ware" in Italian, "el desodorante" in Spanish and "pikkunikku" in Japanese.

To be honest, English is not an especially easy language to learn. For one thing, the spelling is extremely difficult, as is the pronunciation, not to mention the extensive vocabulary. When reading English books, even the best-educated foreigner comes across words he has never seen or heard and in American schools there is a great focus on English vocabulary and spelling.

Writing

Use the quotation "Scandinavians are almost born into a bilingual community" as an introductory sentence and write a text in which you argue either for or against English becoming an official language of Norway. You may wish to consider related issues, such as: culture, preserving the Norwegian languages and national identity.

 

Fun with words

Often Norwegians get confused by words that are similar in both languages but unfortunately have very different meanings. See if you can correct/translate the following Norwenglish sentences into English. Can you think of any other good examples you have heard? Add them to your list and share them with the class.

  1. Can you help me deck the board?
  2. Do you drive with pig tires?
  3. Can you learn me that song?

"Norwenglish"

Drag and drop words and phrases to correct the sentences: