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  • Hilde Huus

Nordic Languages Evening

Our first event of the season was a really fun and light-hearted way to get a “taste” of all five Nordic languages.

Nectaria Karagiozis, Education Officer, International Languages and Sean Oussoren, Coordinator, International Certificate Program, explained their roles within the Ottawa Carleton District School Board and how high school and adult students alike benefit from the opportunity to learn other languages and explore other cultures. The Ottawa area is very well served in this respect, but now students from across Canada can also take advantage of these opportunities through online learning.

Kristin Udjus Teitelbaum (pictured above chatting with students) got the language lessons off to a great start with a brief history of the Norwegian language and an explanation of why there are two forms of it, “Bokmål” and “Nynorsk.” She gave an overview of the Norwegian sounds and demonstrated the ones that English speakers don’t use. We tried repeating a few words and phrases and were mostly convinced that, after all, it would be quite easy to learn to speak Norwegian if we just put our minds to it!

Britt Bengtsson brought along some photos of the beautiful Skåne region of Sweden

Britt Bentgsson followed with a Swedish lesson. She has taught Swedish for many years and her experience showed as she spoke entirely in Swedish using simple words that sounded close to their English equivalent so we were able to deduce the meaning and answer some basic questions in Swedish. She told us about her home in Skåne, the southernmost tip of Sweden, which the Øresund Bridge has connected to Denmark since 2000.

Raija Hilska started at the front of the room but was soon circulating in the group

Our newest Council member, Raija Hilska, is also an experienced language teacher and we all appreciated her handout of Finnish expressions with their English meaning. Finnish is so different from the other Nordic languages that it really helps to have the words right in front of you. She went around the room and, in her very gentle and encouraging manner, succeeded in getting us all individually to try some Finnish phrases!

Marianne Bournes demonstrating Danish pronunciation (with a little body language to get the point across)

Marianne Bourne stepped in at the last minute to lend a hand with the Danish lesson when Vibeke Reid was unable to attend. Using Vibeke’s lesson plan, she emphasized that Danish is NOT, as we often hear, like Norwegian or Swedish spoken with a potato in your mouth. Danish pronunciation is certainly very different from the other Nordic languages though, and it was fun to try out a few phrases.

The final lesson was in Icelandic, via YouTube! This hilarious video actually did serve as a good introduction to Icelandic. Enjoy!

Many, many thanks to all the presenters for their very enjoyable language lessons!

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