First two weeks with both LingQ and Norwegian, a report

Purpose: I love languages and have always just dabbled in them, but this year I wanted to fulfill a dream and really sink my teeth into Norwegian. I decided that I was going to learn Norwegian through reading the Harry Potter series. I was doing research on new language platforms when I stumbled across this site. I wanted to show some of my progress over the last two weeks, I will update monthly for the next several months.

Personal Background and Experience: I found out through taking French in high school in the early 2000s that I was very quick to absorb languages if I could read. I had no idea that was a thing. This led to me studying both Greek (Koine) and Ancient Hebrew and Latin in college. Eventually, I went to Brasil and picked up a good bit of Portuguese while there. Language learning is a passion of mine but I’ve never really “worked” at it (since college) just for my own personal passion project. That’s what I’m doing now with Norwegian and I think it shows.

Goal: B2 level Norwegian through reading Harry Potter initially, listening to the audio after a sufficient base of vocab has been established,don’t and starting my speaking around 5k+ words. I dont have a timeframe I want to accomplish this in, I just want to enjoy the journey.

The first two weeks with Norwegian: In two weeks I have accumulated 1224 words (as of this writing) and 3024 lingqs. I’ll almost certainly hit 1500 and get my Beginner 2 award by the end of the weekend. This is an incredible pace but I feel more confident in the vocabulary I have learned by reading HP than through any other method I have used to study. Right now I’m a little over 1/3 through the first book, having read 30,446 words.
One of the reasons I’m able to make such fast progress is that Norwegian, is a lot closer to English than, say, Korean or Russian. Even though I can see tremendous progress in the first two weeks, I would say that I feel like I’m “toddling” through the text at this point. I’m a little beyond crawling, but not quite walking yet and running is still a dream.

Here are some observations I’ve made:

  1. The words that I thought I’d never learn two weeks ago are old hat now.
  2. The more difficult words come automatically. It’s almost like your brain just needs to see less blue and yellow on the page to give some of those troublesome words room to sit in the mind.
  3. Even though I like the content, it’s like I’m a kid again and reading the books for the first time, through new eyes. The changes in character names and locations make it magical once again.
  4. Since there are no LingQ quick stories like I’ve heard so much about I’ve looked elsewhere for audio input (more on that later). I have only spent a very small amount of time really listening to the language at this point (several hours) but every time I listen, I hear more than I did before and a word that I was struggling with seems to slip into an audio conversation and the meaning is cemented in (at least for now). I’ve been watching Hjem til Jul on Netflix and I love it, even if you don’t want to learn Norwegian it’s worth a watch.
  5. I used a VPN to log into Netflix and since then my regular Netflix account has Norwegian subtitles for everything, so on they went for everything I watched! You’d be surprised what you recognize after only a few hundred words of vocab.

Shortcomings of my study: I have a real shortcoming in listening. The quick stories that are there for other languages aren’t in yet for Norwegian and the ones that are there are okay but not as good as the quick stories. They are either too long, too wordy, or too advanced. While I do enjoy a challenge, I have decided to focus my time on building vocabulary through reading until I have a sufficient base to start really listening.

Conclusion: I will report in another two weeks and then once a month for the next several months. Overall, this is an amazing platform and I don’t think that I would have made the progress I have without it. I can’t wait to see where I am in July. If you have any questions please ask and I’ll answer them. If you have any suggestions I’m open to those as well.

Tusen takk, LingQ!

Edit: I got my Beginner 2 achievement last night (1500 words)!


Hey nice write up I’m interested to see your progress. Out of interest what sort of percentage of words unknown do you get for your Harry Potter lessons? In Russian mine are high teens low twenties and boy is it a slog. I can do it but it really feels like studying rather than reading for pleasure and this is with 900k words read and 28k known words.

My percentages are mid twenties after reading through the Halloween chapter in book one. I downloaded book two to see how my progress affects the next book and now it’s the same, mid to low 20s for most chapters.