Non-Norwegian students in Norway not learning Norwegian well

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Actually this is a small test conducted in Telemark:

...but I'm sure it's true to a certain extent in the rest of the country as well. There's a silver lining in this news for those that are interested in strengthening the language, which is that there's a fair amount of untapped potential (students that live in the country but aren't that good at the language) that can be developed fairly easily, since they are already in the country and within the system. In terms of content written online there's actually a huge difference between just being able to get by in a language and being fluent (i.e. comfortable using it) in a language. For example, I'm usually pretty comfortable with reading articles in French but there's no way I'd want to try writing the whole blog in the language, so in that sense my lack of fluency is costing the language a fair amount of online content. If I were completely fluent it would be easy enough to just sit down and write up a quick post en français. The same thing is true with these students: they probably attend school in Norwegian and manage to get by, but when back home they probably don't use the language all that much. The more comfortable they are though the more likely they'll be to write in the language themselves when online, and thus it's probably in Norway's best interest to get them as fluent as possible. How they choose to go about that is up to them though.

Here are a few parts from the article:

En frivillig test gjennomført blant 73 elever i Telemark i fjor, viser at 60 prosent av fremmedspråklige elever ikke kan det norske språket godt nok til videre utdanning.
A voluntary test carried out last year among 73 students in Telemark shows that 60% of foreign-language students aren't good enough at the Norwegian language to go on to further education.
Det er en poengsetting på den testen som forteller om du kan språket godt nok til å gå i en ordinær gruppe i videregående skole. Oppnår du ikke en viss poengsum, trenger du å trene mer på norsk språk, sier Eli Auråen, rektor ved Hjalmar Johansen videregående skole.
There is a mark given on the test that tells you if you know the language well enough to go into the mainstream group in high school. If you don't have a good enough school it means that you need to work more on your Norwegian, says Eli Auråen, rector of Hjalmar Johansen high school.

De fremmedspråklige elevene får tilbud om et års forberedelseskurs for å søke i ordinær videregående utdanning, men dette er frivillig.

Foreign-language students are offered a year of preparatory courses in order to apply to mainstream secondary education, but this is voluntary.

- 60 prosent av de som ble testet i fjor hadde ikke god nok språkforståelse. Det betyr at disse ungdommene får det strevsomt, for det er ikke enkelt å ha undervisning på et språk du ikke behersker godt.

- 60 percent of those that were tested last year didn't understand the language well enough. That means that these youth are going to find it difficult, because it's not easy to be taught in a language that you don't speak well.

Det er uvisst hvor mange av de som gjennomførte testen som benyttet seg av et forberedelseskurs.

It's uncertain how many of those that took the test will go for the preparatory courses.

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