Just a post to let you know that I have completed yet another one of my subchallenges for Norwegian: I finished reading Harry Potter og Fangen fra Azkaban yesterday! It took a long time, so I am quite proud that I finally managed to do it. So, did I make any progress? I think I did :).
I remember writing this post two years ago. Having just gotten Harry Potter og Fangen fra Azkaban for my birthday, I was quite eager to start reading. However, I was not prepared for the difficulty of the translation. At first I could only read about two pages at a time before my brain suddenly refused to take in any more information. Also, I repeated every page when I had finished it in order to make sure I would remember the new words and grammatical constructions I had learned.
Six days later, I finished my very first Norwegian chapter. When I tried to reread it, I found that I could already understand much more. The phrasal verbs were extremely challenging, though, and I remember thinking I would never be able to understand, let alone produce, them. However, two weeks later I concluded that reading as a language learning method suit me after all.
Despite the fact that I liked learning by reading, I realised that reading with the help of a dictionary was no fun and not effective enough if I wanted to become fluent relatively quickly. Consequently, I decided to retry the method I had used for English: to read the original (English) book and the Norwegian translation simultaneously. I started with small steps: I would read a paragraph in English and then read it in Norwegian. When my Norwegian had improved, I added a new step to this: after reading a chapter per paragraph in both English and Norwegian, I would read the whole chapter in Norwegian without looking at the English version. Eventually, I was able to understand almost everything without the help of the English book.
So, did the reading challenge work for me? I can safely say that it definitely did! I have learned a lot of words and I have even managed to remember a lot of phrasal verbs, irregular verbs, grammatical constructions, and when to use which prepositions. It has become much easier to use Norwegian actively: I can make up complete conversations or stories in my mind without referring to a dictionary and I can write longer texts than I used to (and with fewer mistakes, of course). I am confident that my Norwegian will continue to improve now that I have experienced first-hand that I can go quite far without course materials if I want to. Naturally, I will continue to learn the language actively. I wish I had another Norwegian Harry Potter book, as I enjoyed reading it so much…