Grammar teaching in Norway


  • [Geirr Wiggen in 1997]
    • In Norway grammar is indeed being taught in primary and secondary school and has been so for generations. Norway has a national curriculum which has been regularly revised (1997 < 1987 < 1974 < 1959 etc.), text books are being made accordingly and I should say most teachers make their local curricular plans in accordance with the progression in the national curriculae and the textbooks. Generally, grammar as a separate subject must be said to have weakened its position somewhat during the 80s and 90s, in practice mostly to the effect of having its focus concentrated more towards the end of the 9-year primary & secondary school (7-16-year-olds). (A new 10-year prim. & sec. school is being launched this autumn, the progress of which remains to be seen.)
    • However, the general progression has so far been like this:
      • Training in recognizing and isolating words takes place during form 2 (and 3) as does some separate orthographic topics and, very much, phonological consciousness raising activities in connection with reading and writing.
      • But mainly systematic teaching of grammar starts from form 4, introducing both morphology/word classes and syntax (analysis) during forms 4-6 (i.e. the second half of the Norwegian primary level), all of it to be repeated during form 7 and used in text analysis, language history and dialectological studies during forms 8 and 9 (forms 7-9 constituting the secondary level).
      • Very little systematic grammar is being taught during high school (forms 10-12), where literary studies constitute the bulk of the mother tongue subject, linguistic topics mainly being some more language history and (socio-)dialectology. Students may choose linguistics as a minor, special subject for two years in high school, though, and then there is certainly a good deal of grammar being taught and analyses being performed; but very few do so.
      • During forms 4-6, the progression is usually this:
        • Form 4: The verb + the noun; the sentence and its two main parts: the subject (NP1) and the verbal phrase (VP).
        • Form 5: Adjectives and adverbs; analysis of the VP into its verbal core and its eventual NP2/3s, adverbial parts etc..
        • Form 6: the closed word classes; the various NP2/3 types (objects, predicatives etc.) and adverbials.
    • This should give you a glimpse of what the curriculae, textbooks and practices are like in grammar in the Norwegian school. I should add that, for some years now, there exists a separate, quite active forum of teachers and, especially, teacher training teachers that aims at stimulating methods, reflection and discussion on grammar teaching topics. This forum (in Norwegian: “Grammatikkdidaktisk forum”) is available on Internet:

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