Friday, 19 April 2013

English v Norwegian

When I'm shopping here in Norway I mainly speak norwegian but sometimes I cant be arsed so switch to english and it's really weird how differently you get treated depending on what language you are speaking. I buy a chicken from the same place every week and the first time I asked for a chicken in norwegian the guy simply replied, "ja" handed me the chicken and off I went. The next week the same guy served me but this time I spoke english and he replied in english,"Of course you can have a chicken! Would you liked it cutting?" and after handing it to me he smiled and said,"have a great day and a great weekend!! Good bye!"
Now if you have ever been to Norway you will know that this is not how shop assistants talk to you. They are people of few words with no idea how to be service minded (if they are friendly they are probably Swedes!) so I was wondering why this guy was so nice when I spoke english but cold when I spoke norwegian? hmmmmmm
I have to say that even after 2 1/2 years here I still find Norway really,really odd!! I will be escaping the oddness for 4 lovely days in England from Sunday onwards. Yippeeee!

P.s Please note: NO.SNOW.IN.THE.GARDEN!!!!!  (finally!)


  1. You see the same phenomenon in Finland. And Finnish people are possibly worse with their silence and sulking. The reason is simply that a lot of Finnish people love to speak English, and I suspect same goes in Norway. It is exiting, and something people, especially in smaller places, don't get to do often. All our tv, movies and such is in English and the level of teaching English in schools is excellent everywhere in Scandinavia. So we have a language that we fully understand and hear everyday, but almost never get to use. Hence the excitement when someone gives us an opportunity.

    I keep bringing friends over from here to Finland and they always say, but you're so chatty and friendly.. if only they spoke Finnish.

  2. That´s funny - maybe he felt excited by the chance to speak english and hence made an effort?! :-)

  3. Ahh, the shot of the candy REALLY made me think of Scandinavia. I never could resist the godis! :)

    I actually loved the shop keepers in Sweden, although they didn't talk much...the "hej hej" in a super peppy voice was so fun and cheery, whether it was just routine or not. :)

    I know what you mean though about language. Funny thing is that it's opposite in Spain. I get such a friendlier treatment when I speak Spanish that when I speak English. Isn't it interesting though, that we can see different sides of people and have different experiences just by what language we choose to speak. Oh language...

    This post actually got me thinking, ha. :)

    And happy trip to England!

  4. aw... yes you are basically a walking free english lesson, that's why you are more popular when you speak english ;)

    I know we (as in scandinavians) don't normally engage in small talk with random strangers (and this has nothing to do with whether you speak our language with an accent or not), at least not like you do in the uk. But at least in Iceland a lot of people suddenly get super chatty if they get an opportunity to speak english, maybe it's also a bit of a pride in their country, they think the chat could lead to them introducing their wonderful country to you.

  5. I just came across your blog, read this post and was reminded of a facebook post I had seen not too long ago (by a Norwegian friend). Now it makes sense :) Maybe that's why they don't talk so much in Norwegian? :)
    I tried to find the picture outside of facebook and this is the only link I could find:
    Looking forward to exploring your blog a little more!