Norwegian: I want to be fluent

Discussion in 'Nordic Languages' started by Grefsen, Jan 22, 2013.

  1. Grefsen

    Grefsen Senior Member

    Southern California
    English - United States
    I'd like to know what some of the different ways are for expressing "I want to be fluent" på norsk.

    For example, if someone asked me why I spend so much time attempting to learn Norwegian, would the following be an acceptable reply?

    Jeg ønsker å være flytende.


    På forhånd takk!
    (Thanks in advance!)
     
  2. myšlenka Senior Member

    Norwegian
    "Jeg vil (kunne) snakke flytende" sounds more natural in my ears.
     
  3. basslop

    basslop Senior Member

    Norway
    Norwegian
    "Jeg ønsker å være flytende" only means "I want to be floating". Something you might say if you are thrown out in deep water. Norwegian has the word "flytende" only which can mean both "fluency" and "floating" in English. :warning: Therefore you need to be careful how to combine the word with other words/expressions.
     
  4. NorwegianNYC Senior Member

    New York, NY, USA
    Norwegian
    "Jeg ønsker å bli flytende (i norsk)" is also possible
     
  5. henbjo Junior Member

    Valencia, Spain
    Norwegian
    NorwegianNYC: While you would be understood saying that given a well defined context, very few Norwegians will say this to express their desire to acheive fluency in a language. I regard it as an incorrect use of "å være flytende". The correct way to express this in Norwegian is to say "Jeg ønsker å snakke norsk flytende".
     
  6. NorwegianNYC Senior Member

    New York, NY, USA
    Norwegian
    Yes, but Henbjo - I am not saying "være flytende", but "bli flytende". If one combines "være" and "flytende" one is clearly referring to some sort of buoyancy, but the combination "bli" and "flytende" refers to fluency.

    "Jeg ønsker å snakke flytende norsk" is a perfectly good sentence, but it is not the 'correct way'. It is one of several options - depending on context. Imagine the question "Hvor mye norsk har du tenkt å lære?". Here the answer is (as myslenka says) "Jeg vil snakke (det) flytende". To the question "hvor lenge har du tenkt å studere norsk?", the answer can be "til jeg er flytende" or "til jeg snakker det flytende" (no difference). Also, "hvilket mål har du når det gjelder norskstudier?", where the answer might as well be "jeg ønsker å bli flytende" (or subsequently: "jeg ønsker å snakke det flytende"). One does not have to include the word "snakke" with "flytende" to indicate we are not talking about things bobbing in water!
     
  7. henbjo Junior Member

    Valencia, Spain
    Norwegian
    I disagree. The verb "å bli" doesn't change anything, in your example it just moves the state of "å være flytende" into some point in the future - it's still the state you want to acheive, and this as a concept is not something that can be expressed in Norwegian the same way that it can be in English in my opinion. Like I said, I don't contest the fact that you would be understood.
     
  8. myšlenka Senior Member

    Norwegian
    I wouldn't regard "være/bli flytende" as completely incorrect, it would be understood of course. However, it sounds like an anglicism to me. "kunne et språk/snakke flytende" seems more context neutral.
     
  9. NorwegianNYC Senior Member

    New York, NY, USA
    Norwegian
    I agree - it is not 'incorrect' (in that case - is there a "correct" way of saying it?). It is contextual. As Grefsen indeed asks in his initial question
     
  10. JohanIII

    JohanIII Senior Member

    Switzerland
    Swedish
    Isn't "Jeg ønsker å snakke flytende norsk." implying that now the language has buoyancy? :)
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2013
  11. basslop

    basslop Senior Member

    Norway
    Norwegian
    Good point JohanIII. Saying instead "Jeg ønsker å snakke norsk flytende" sounds better. I can't explain why. Of course this could also be misunderstood - I like to speak Norwegian while floating.

    :rolleyes: I think we need two different words in Norwegians too. As I described in my previous contribution
     
  12. NorwegianNYC Senior Member

    New York, NY, USA
    Norwegian
    I like it! It would indeed be a Marx Brothers moment to see those two confused!

    I have been careful not to say that "flytende" as an adjective is more correct or proper than as an adverb. My point, according to Grefsen's question, is to show that it might be used this way, and that "correctness" depends on context.
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2013
  13. bicontinental Senior Member

    U.S.A.
    English (US), Danish, bilingual
    I see that occasional posts above use ‘floating’ or ‘buoyant’ for ‘flytende’. If the comments are written a little tongue in cheek and I completely missed it, I apologize...but in all seriousness I assume we can agree that ‘flytende’ refers to the way the language flows (flyter-flyder) rather than floats when spoken by someone who speaks it fluently. It shouldn’t make any difference whether we use flytende/flydende as an adjective or an adverb…as long as it modifies the language and not the speaker: The Danes do seem to like the joke/play on words, “at tale dansk som en flydende infødt” (to speak Danish like a floating/buoyant native). :)

    A quick reference, FYI only:

    http://www.nob-ordbok.uio.no/perl/ordbok.cgi?OPP=flytende&begge=+&ordbok=begge&ava=ava (#4)

    Best,
    Bic
     
  14. Grefsen

    Grefsen Senior Member

    Southern California
    English - United States
    Tusen takk alle for svar! :)


    I didn't realize that "flytende" could be used to mean both "fluency" and "floating" in Norwegian. Tusen takk for det basslop! :thumbsup:


    Tusen takk for denne forklaringen NorwegianNYC! :thumbsup:


    Great reply! Thanks so much for giving me several different options. :thumbsup:

    Are the following translations correct?


    Jeg ønsker å snakke flytende norsk - I wish to speak Norwegian fluently


    Jeg vil snakke flytende - I want to speak fluently


    til jeg er flytende - until I am fluent


    Jeg ønsker å bli flytende - I wish to become fluent
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2013
  15. NorwegianNYC Senior Member

    New York, NY, USA
    Norwegian
    Yes, but as henbjo et al. have pointed out - the first one is the "correct" one if you are simply making a statement. The following are contextual.
     
  16. henbjo Junior Member

    Valencia, Spain
    Norwegian
    Hehe, I'm going to bury the hatchet and go back on my statement that using "flytende" without the word "snakke" is incorrect use. Personally however, I would never use the purely contextual options, and I think many Norwegians share that view. Just out of curiosity, what dialect do you normally speak NorwegianNYC?
     
  17. vestfoldlilja Senior Member

    Norway
    Norwegian
    I would say that without a reference to language flytende means floating, and the contexual sentences though understandable sounds off.

    Jeg ønsker å snakke flytende norsk - This one works well, but I think many Norwegians would think it more natural to say å snakke norsk flytende. And in general, as I say further down, using godt is more common I would say.


    Jeg vil snakke flytende - This sentence to me reads as a bad way of saying you want to speak with a good flow. Jeg vil at talen har god flyt. I want my speech to have a good flow. I think it’s because in general when we speak of learning/speaking a language we use the words godt/bedre/dårlig to describe the quality more often than we use flytende. Jeg vil snakke norsk godt. Jeg ønsker å snakke norsk godt. Jeg vil bli god i norsk. Jeg er dårlig i norsk. Jeg vil bli bedre i norsk. Jeg er ikke god nok i norsk. However, the sentence is understandable as it is if a specific language is added on in the end.


    til jeg er flytende - This needs a reference to language as it reads until I am floating. And even with a reference to a language it's a strange sentence in Norwegian.


    Jeg ønsker å bli flytende - This too needs a reference to language. Now it says: I wish to become floating. If we change bli to forbli it reads: I wish to remain floating. This could work in regards to language as well. I wish to to remain fluent in Norwegian. Jeg ønsker å forbli flytende i norsk. But the Norwegian sentence then needs a clear reference to language as the default meaning so to speak of flytende is floating.
     
  18. NorwegianNYC Senior Member

    New York, NY, USA
    Norwegian
    Hi lilja,

    That is exactly my point. Ever since #6 have I tried to show that numbers two, three and four are variants of the first one, but they are contextually based
    "Hvor mye norsk har du tenkt å lære?" "Jeg vil snakke det flytende"
    "Hvor lenge har du tenkt å studere norsk?" "Til jeg er flytende" or "til jeg snakker det flytende"
    "Hvilke mål har du når det gjelder norskstudie dine?" "jeg ønsker å bli flytende" or "jeg ønsker å snakke det flytende".
     
  19. bicontinental Senior Member

    U.S.A.
    English (US), Danish, bilingual
    Hi vestfoldlilja,
    This is interesting to me since I would have thought they represented different points or levels on a language proficiency scale (with the highest level being that of a native speaker);

    In other words, I would much rather speak a language fluently than well, and if I’m told that person A snakker norsk flytende whereas person B snakker norsk godt, I would assume that A’s command of Norwegian is better than that of person B. But maybe I’m influenced by English/Danish?

    Bic.
     
  20. vestfoldlilja Senior Member

    Norway
    Norwegian
    No I see your point Bic, and I agree that there is a distinction. I’m not sure however, how that distinction makes itself known in regular conversation. I feel (and perhaps I’m wrong) that Norwegians are less likely to use the word flytende simply because we feel more comfortable using smaller and less heavy laden words. Flytende also feels like a loan word to me (in regards to language), like a direct translation of the English term because we didn’t have a proper way to express it in Norwegian. I don’t know if this is the case, but perhaps because I carry that feeling with me I let that colour my understanding and usage of flytende when it means fluent.

    I do feel regardless that flytende need a reference to language when it’s not floating that is meant. If we use NorwegianNYC examples (see below). The answers only works in regards to the questions (contexual). I do think the answers that have snakke in them sound better. The sentences without snakke would work better with i det added (til jeg er flytende i det). In regular speak it is common to shorten sentences and it works in dialogue. Answering til jeg kan det flytende also works.

    So all in all it’s another word worth paying close attention to, remembering it has different usages meaning completely different things. More often than not context will give a clue as to what the word means.
     
  21. NorwegianNYC Senior Member

    New York, NY, USA
    Norwegian
    Absolutely! In his initial question, Grefsen asked for different ways of expressing this, and now that we have exhausted the "flytende" topic, it is also worth noting that what you say ("snakker godt norsk") sees perhaps more use than "flytende".
    "Jeg snakker veldig bra norsk", "jeg snakker ganske bra norsk", "jeg snakker bra norsk", "jeg snakker brukbart norsk" are all nuances of ones ability to speak the language -in descending order.
     
  22. myšlenka Senior Member

    Norwegian
    I am not sure about other speakers' intuitions but flytende to me means that someone is able to speak a language with a continuous flow of words, i.e. low degree of hesitation and pauses. It doesn't say much about the speaker's command of grammar and vocabulary.
     

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