This is a monthly program. Hebrew, German, French, Spanish, Norwegian, Hindi, Japanese, and Chinese classes will be offered on the third Wednesday each month.
June's monthly Foreign Language Series on Wednesday, June 16, at 1:00 pm has Froydis Beckerman teaching us Norwegian and sharing some of Norway's history and culture as well. Norway is the northernmost country in Europe and has a population the size of Maryland. It is the country of the Vikings and the Midnight Sun. The history and the settlement of Norway has been influenced to an extraordinary degree by the terrain and the climate. About two-thirds of the country is mountainous and the coastline is carved by fjords that cut way into the country. While there were trace settlements in Norway 5,000 - 10,000 BC, the history does not start until the Viking age 793AD - 1066 AD. The Vikings in their sleek long ships sailed to faraway countries, Shetland, the Faroes, Iceland, Ireland, and Greenland, plundering, killing and colonizing.
The Norwegians are a Germanic race (people) and along with the Swedes and the Danes, they speak a North Germanic language. English and German are West Germanic languages, so there are many similarities between the languages, and it is not difficult for an English speaker to learn Norwegian. Froydis will show basic Norwegian phrases, along with those for meeting and greeting. She will show the alphabet and names of cities and places that use letters not in the English alphabet. Froydis will also go into basic grammar and sentence construction and talk about how the language of the Vikings has changed over time.
Some of you may have watched Atlantic Crossing on PBS. Watching it, people learned about Norwegian history during the Second World War. The German Nazis occupied Norway primarily for its strategic location in the North Atlantic. The king, crown prince and the parliament evacuated to London and set up government there. The crown princess on the other hand, was invited by President Franklin Roosevelt to come to America and Washington DC with her three young children. The series, based on true events, portrays the intriguing friendship forged by war, between the American president and the Norwegian crown princess.
Norway has a long and interesting history and culture with the language going through many changes over many centuries.