Tongue tied

In the elevator heading up to my room in Oslo I had to coach two young men to insert their card in order to press their floor number.  While they had been having a conversation for a bit it wasn’t until I heard one of them say ‘fuck’ that I realized they the had been speaking English the whole time.  The thick Irish accent had masked my ability to understand them. 

I have found myself very quiet on this trip.  You see, while I know that most Norwegians speak English better than some Americans, I feel uncomfortable assuming that they should speak to me in my language.  During the time I have needed to I have asked questions in English, so for the most part I have kept silent. 

I tend to be good with languages so it is frustrating to me to not be able to communicate with someone in their native language.  I can read and understand most of the signs and some of the other writing, but I haven’t learned yet how to pronounce some of the sounds.  It doesn’t help that they are different.  For example the town I mentioned in my last post Skein is pronounced Schein and the letters sch are pronounced sk. 

One or two words a day.  I’ll be able to ask for a meal by the end.