Heritage Language Programs - Norwegian

Norse Hall, a Norwegian Language Program

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Institution: Norse Hall (or Sons of Norway)

Address: 111 NE 11th Ave, Portland, OR 97232

Telephone: 503-367-5014

Web address: http://www.norsehall.org

Contact person

Name: Karen Thompson

Title: Norwegian Language Director

Address: 6722 SE 64th Ave, Portland, OR 97206

Email: ktmoonblue@yahoo.com

Telephone: 503-367-3401

Languages/dialects taught: Norwegian

Grades taught: Pre-K and Adults

Program Description

Purposes and goals of the program:
• To teach the basics of Norwegian grammar, usage, and vocabulary
• To give the cultural background of the Norwegian language


Parents’ expectations for the program: Our barnehage (preschool immersion program) started recently. At this point, parents' expectations are that we teach the children language through play and interest.


Instructors’ and administration’s expectations for the program: Expectations for the adult program are that the adults learn at their own speed, succeed in learning the material covered in each semester, and are able to converse in understandable Norwegian with native Norwegians.

Expectations for the children's program are that the children obtain a sense of Norwegian culture, become familiar with the sound of the Norwegian language, and learn the basics of the language (basic grammar forms and sight words).

Grieg Lodge's expectations of both programs are that they further learn the Norwegian language and culture in the community and instill a sense of acceptance of world cultures in all involved.


Students: In the adult classes, we usually have 5-10% heritage language speakers. Most of the students are of Norwegian descent.

In the children's program this year, about half of the children have one Norwegian parent and one American parent. The rest of the students are of Norwegian descent.

How the program identifies heritage speakers: Heritage speakers are identified as those who grew up with Norwegian words and phrases commonly said in their home. This could be anything from food names and table prayers to songs and children's rhymes. One or both parents may be fluent.

Students’ expectations of the program: The adult students expect to learn at their own pace, be able to communicate in Norwegian at the beginning level, and be able to travel in Norway using the language knowledge learned in class.

The children expect to play, have fun, and learn words and songs in Norwegian.


Number of instructors in the program: 1

Languages in which instructors are proficient: English, Norwegian, and German

Professional development opportunities instructors have: Speaking with other Norwegian speakers


Total contact hours per week: 1 hour per week

Student grouping: Adults are grouped by language ability. Children are grouped by age.

Language skills

Skills developed by the program: Listening, speaking, writing, and reading

Heritage language skills: Advanced adult students are encouraged to think in Norwegian during and outside of class.


Aspects of culture taught:
• For adults: geography, history, customs, festival days, and traditions.
• For children: art, dance (we also have a Scandinavian dance program for children that most of the barnehage kids are in), traditions, festival days, geography, manners


Methodologies and instructional strategies used in the program:
• For adults: textbook (Sett i Gang published by NorWord), audio clips (www.norwords.com), hands-on with manipulatives (counting, passing food at the table), songs, question-and-answer, discussion, role-playing (dialogue and hands-on), written assignments
• For children: teaching through one-on-one and small-group play where the adult converses with the child(ren) in Norwegian regardless of which language the child(ren) responds in


Materials used for instruction: Various Internet resources, Less Commonly Taught Language Program resources, Norwegian children's books, felt boards, other standard children's toys

Technology used for instruction: Students are encouraged to go online to read Norwegian newspapers. Audio clips are required and are available on www.norwords.com.


Assessments used to evaluate students’ progress: Teacher’s observations, written assignments, and oral projects

What the program has in place

Financial support the program receives: Support from ethnic and cultural organizations. Students pay tuition.

Other support the program receives: The community donates materials and other resources.

Assistance or funding the program would like to receive: More children's materials in Norwegian or bilingual Norwegian-English

Special challenges

Challenges the program has experienced: Our barnehage just started recently, so we are not exactly sure how it is going yet.

Additional comments: I have been teaching Norwegian for 13 years, ever since I was 16 years old. I’ve learned to never underestimate the language capacity of children!
We would love to hear from others who teach children's Norwegian classes and programs!

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