Bad English and worse Norwegian

courtesy of filmreference.com

I caught a snippet of a radio programme in the car the other day. The presenters were announcing the results of a poll for the Norwegian who spoke the worst English and proceeded to play samples of the three worst offenders in reverse order: actress Liv Ullmann, above (whose English sounded perfectly fine to me), Thor Heyerdhal (explorer who has been dead for many years) and Petter Stordalen (a rich perma-tanned, craggy but attractive in a weird sort of way, entrepreneur often featured in celebrity magazines). Honestly, I could understand all three and although Stordalen’s English was far from fluent it was certainly passable and better than my Norwegian. Anyway, I didn’t think any of the three was worthy of the ridicule meted out but it was an example of the high standard of English Norwegians expect of their countrymen. Thankfully, most of them seem happy to accept a far lower grade of Norwegian from foreigners – unless they’re under 25 of course or have lived overseas, in which case they insist on showing off their wonderful English and making this aspiring Norwegian speaker feel like a moron.

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