A conversation I had with cousin Albert before Christmas reminded me that the Norwegian language was used quite often when some of us cousins were children – and later too. I thought it might be fun to think about that again.
I have a copy of the Gale College (school) Pennant or yearbook from about 1930 which hints at how much Norwegian was part of the Borresons’ lives in those years. On a class photo page, “Pasttimes” of silly or light nature were listed for each student. For twins Ednar and Edgar, it was “Talking Norse to (each other).”
Albert said he remmembers his mother in her advanced years speaking Norwegian very flunetly with a nursing home resident. He also recalls times when the Borreson brothers were together when the Norwegian flowed from their lips. Yet when he asked his mother to teach him Norwegian, she would have no part of it.
My own experience is similar. My father Garven and my mother would speak Norwegian to each other at least when when the oldest of the six of us were in grade school. I think it usually took place when they didn’t want us to know what they were talking about. I remember Mom saying she had trouble understanding Grandma Borreson (Gina) because she spoke so quickly and – I think this is what I heard – because she was from Biri. Mom’s relatives were from Hardanger and spoke a different dialect, I’m sure. Actually, Mom and Dad would tease each other over these differences.
Later I had high school friends who would pick up every Norwegian phrase they could, but by these years, Mom and Dad were hardly speaking Norse, much less teaching it to us kids. In fact, when I went off to Luther College, my mother’s advice was to “study any language but Norwegian.” I think she worried that any Norwegian accent I had would become “worse” and I’d be handicapped for life.
So what’s your experience with the Norwegian language growing in the Borreson family? Why not take a chance and add it in a comment.