Almost two hundred years ago, the first Norwegians went to America to start a new life. In the one hundred years from 1825 to 1925 800 000 Norwegians emigrated. At present, most Norwegian Americans only speak American, but there still are some who learned Norwegian at home and who have continued to speak Norwegian as a heritage language as adults. These Americans are most often well up in their eighties and nineties.
In the project on Norwegian in America, we have gone to America and Canada a number of times to interview the heritage language speakers. The recordings are integrated in a new speech corpus of American Norwegian.
The American recordings and transcriptions are freely available for research. The material is valuable for interesting studies, not only on the particular American Norwegian language variety, but also on how immigrant languages live and die, and how Norwegian Americans have lived their lives in a multilingual reality.
The project on Norwegian in America is part of the national LIA Project, (Language Infrastructure made Accessible) and is one of the research areas at MultiLing (Centre for Multilingualism) at the University of Oslo.