So we’ve been to the wedding. It was wonderful, romantic and almost entirely in Norwegian.
There were a couple of things that meant this didn’t matter and I was able to understand most of what was going on.
In an inspired table setting that impressed me on many levels, I was sat next to my other half, Kai, on one side and by a friend with impeccable English on the other. So as the speeches were made, I leant my head on Kai’s shoulder and he whispered the translations into my ear. It was like having my own huggable babel fish. Perfect.
I mentioned my table neighbour’s high standard of English. On the whole the Norwegians I have met (including, professors, supermarket cashiers and ski lift operators) have a similar impressive grasp of my native tongue. On top of this they also tend to be polite and considerate. So, at the party after the wedding I wandered from group to group and as I nodded hello, the singsong lyrical sound of Norwegian would melt into lightly accented English. Added to the vat-like proportions of Champagne consumed at dinner, this had a most pleasant dreamlike effect.
When talking in English, they would be chatting away and say something like,
‘What is that word for a mixture of salt water and fresh?’
‘Brackish?’ I’d say.
‘Yes, I must apologise for my English.’