Even if Norwegians
speak perfect English, learning the native language is an excellent way to both
fully experience the local culture and access the job market. Yet, when it
comes to a practical method to practice or pick up the language on your own
through internet and online communities, there are not many good quality free
resources that suit your needs best.
If you, as an excited
Norwegian learner, have ever searched for some video tutorials on Youtube, you
may have ended up feeling disappointment. But, recently Michelle Alexandra has
been a hope for curious Norwegian fans all over the world with her video series
of “Learn Norwegian”. She suddenly has become so popular that her
thousands of virtual students started to complain about waiting for the next
installments. One of her followers even called her The ’Kate Bush’ of the
Norwegian learning world.
Talking to The Nordic
Page, Michelle Alexandra tells us about her online fame and the Norwegian
Michelle, born to a
Norwegian mother and American father, grew up in New York. Her mother always
talked Norwegian to her growing up, and she also spent a couple of months every
summer and Christmas in Norway.
– I always loved
Norway and wanted to live here as a child and I never wanted to go back after
vacation was over, says Michelle.
Then her mother
decided to move back in Norway 2.5 years ago. She says that her mother always
spoke Norwegian and she was sent to a youth camp where she now teaches. Her
father also learned and loved Norwegian but they decided that he would not
speak Norwegian to Michelle and her brother to make sure they heard the correct
pronounciation of Norwegian from her mother.
How did you decide to produce
I actually did it for
my roommate. He wanted to learn Norwegian. I had bought a Norwegian language
teaching book for his birthday. But he wanted to hear the pronounciation. He
promised me that if I made a video, he could hear me saying the essential
Norwegian expressions and words presented in the first video. He would listen
to it and then learn but he never really did. But one day when I checked my
youtube account, I realized the popularity of the video. So, I really had no
idea that I had got so many views and comments. Then, people wanted to have
more courses so I said ok and made lesson number 2 and now number 3 is coming
How often do you do the Norwegian
It is not my main
occupation, therefore I tried to do it as often as my schedule allows. But I am
planning to do a series of lessons. It is fun and surprising to me how many
people want to learn Norwegian.
How were the reactions when you
first launched that video?
Most of them have
given positive feedback. It is a good thing to have a youtube video for your self-esteem,
I believe. Every morning I wake up, I check my e-mail and see tens of people
saying “Oh you are such a good teacher, you are so beautiful, do more
lessons, we miss you”
Any irritating feedback?
Sometimes there are
some irritating messages. But you have to take the good and bad ones. Though,
mostly there are positive messages and people usually have questions about the
pronounciation of certain words, tips for the improvement of the lessons.
Do you have any idea about the profile of your
I have no idea at all
but when I check the statistics provided by Youtube, Norway tops the list of
the countries where the video is most watched. I also get fruequent comments
from native Norwegians saying “I do not know why I am watching this, it is
funny to hear my own language”. There are also people who moved to Norway
and from other places who want to learn Norwegian.
Do you have further plans to
improve this fantastic service?
I do have a personal
website. I put a little banner on it advertising ‘Learn Norwegian’. I am
considering adding comprehensive online courses by building a website where you
can download the lessons and tests. Also my students who are not in Norway can get
private tutorials through skype.
So, you have decided to take this
activity on as a mission?
I never thought there
would be such a high demand for learning Norwegian. You know Norwegians are so
good at English, and you usually do not need to learn their language to communicate
with them, but it is a lovely language and it is so wonderful to see such a
great interest in learning it.
Last words for your fans
I read and try to respond
to every single comment posted, private e-mails and questions. Also I offer to
people in Norway private Norwegian lessons.F or the ones who are outside of Norway
I offer lessons through skype.
The first video of Michelle’s Learn Norwegian Series with more than 100 thousand views.
Bio of Michelle Alexandra
Michelle Alexandra is
a freelance actress and singer. At the age of 10 she began taking acting
classes in New York City, first at The Neighborhood Playhouse School of
Theatre, and then at The American Academy of Dramatic Arts. She then went off
to boarding school in Connecticut for her high school years where she starred
in many school productions before going on to study theatre at The George
Washington University in Washington, DC. Michelle has also studied acting in
London at The New York Film Academy and in Oxford at The British American Drama
Academy. She is a duel citizen of both the US and Norway. She has spent a great
deal of time in Norway and speaks the language like a native. After graduating
from college, Michelle lived and worked as an actress/singer in New York City
for two years before deciding it was time to get in touch with her Norwegian
roots. In the fall of 2010, she packed up and moved to Oslo, Norway where she now
resides with her adorable dog, Bailey. Favorite roles include “Jen”
in John and Jen, “Lady Anne” in Richard III, and “Veronica”
in the world premiere of Stephanie Gardner’s The Point of No Return.
Source: The Nordic Page 2013