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Yes, we do learn to speak it in the classroom as well, and in the ungdomsskole (year 8-10) we have both an oral and a written grade in English. :)
In 8. grade you have to start learning another foreign language. For those of us who doesn't live in one of the three major cities that means German, French or Spanish. In the bigger cities they have Russian and Chinese as well. So our educational system is divided into three stages:
- Grade 1-7 - the barneskole. In this period you get no grades at all on your tests and the focus is mostly on
- Grade 8-10 - the ungdomsskole. Now you start getting grades. Together with the barneskole, this makes up the obligatory part of our school system.
- Grade 11-13 - videregående. Now you have to apply for videregående. We have divided this into so called "lines". Now, you have a ton of lines for vocational studies, and three "uni-preparing" lines: a theoretical one (which is divides into science or Social studies/languages/economics in 12. grade), sports or Music/Drama/Dance. If you go to one of these last lines, then you will alltogether have your second foreign languages for 5 years. You only have English through 11. grade.
As for the nynorsk, it is a written language at the same level bokmål, and all Norwegians have it through their school years. We even have two separate grades for bokmål and nynorsk. And if you receive a letter or an e-mail, you are bound by law to answer in the "language" it is written. The difference really isn't the greatest, but it is by far more noticeable than American/British. It was created in the 1800s, as a process to rid ourselves of ties to Danish culture, by a language genius who travelled around the country to gather the way people really spoke. Because the way people actually spoke resembled quite some (more than Danish at least) to the Old-Norse language. We just wanted a language on our own. Now bokmål is not exactly Danish either, it's just pretty close - and there are only written similarities. Even Norwegians have huge differences understanding spoken Danish and the other way around. Bokmål and nynorsk are only written languages, although they in some parts of Oslo speak in a way quite near to bokmål. The same goes for nynorsk, as it closely resembles the western dialects. Lastly I guess it's worth mentioning that people are quite proud of their dialects here, so we have no divide between speaking "cleaner" when we for example are on TV or talking to the king, as in a lot of other countries.
Norwegian, English and my German is pretty okay (I have it in school and have I some friends from Germany) :) We start learning English pretty early here - at least I think? (first year of school aka when we're six). And I read it at least as much as my native language. So reading doesn't feel so different anymore, but reading German is completely something else for me - in a very positive way. Learning it is quite hard for a Norwegian (that, grammatically, is a very easy language). Oh, and I guess it's worth mentioning that we have two written languages: bokmål and nynorsk. Bokmål is the most common one and is basically derived from Danish. It's because of our old union with Denmark. Nynorsk is the result of one man's travels around Norway, collecting all the dialects into one language.
This is the best game experience I've ever had! Discovered it on a youth exchange in Germany some years ago and it's just so much fun. I really enjoy that it's very inclusive and that so many people can join. The discussions and accusing your friends is the funniest part. :D Definitely good for those late summer nights. Can't wait to play it again :)
I'd have to say that Stoner by John Williams really hit a nerve. It just got me thinking a lot about life and even how I want my own life to turn out. Might be because I read it recently, but nevertheless it was a great read. And of course the Harry Potter series, they really got me into reading in the first place.