Conversations With Real Live Bilinguals: Frøken Monica Ricke

545234_10201757544967738_1391359524_nMeet Monica, the younger sister of fellow Real Live Bilingual Anna Maria Ricke! Monica was around three when her family moved back to the States from Norway and had the cutest blond pixie cut before it was even in! It’s funny because Monica says in this interview that she doesn’t remember learning English to be very hard, but I remember for the first few months when we would all be outside playing she would be tugging on her mother asking, “Hva Mama, hva?!” “What mom, what are they saying??”

But this is pretty much how I remember Monica as a kid 🙂


What’s your name (accents, characters and all)?
Monica Gerda Ricke

Where were you born?
Washington DC

What languages do you speak? What’s your mother tongue?
I speak Norwegian and English. I had German for 3 years in Jr. High, but don’t
feel comfortable speaking it, and never really did. Learning yet another language
turned out to be quite difficult, which is why I’m glad I don’t need to in the school
I go to now. Due to a lot of moving as a youngster, I don’t know which language
to consider my mother tongue, but if I had to choose it would be Norwegian,
because I feel most comfortable speaking it and have spoken it for the longest
amount of time.

When/how did you learn to speak English? Was it a hard and painful
I’ve pretty much always spoken English, and I was too young to remember the
process of learning it, though I’ve been told I used to mix the two languages a lot,
and shy away from speaking as often as possible.

What language do you think in? Dream in?
I’m pretty sure I think and dream in English.

What sort of things do you associate with your mother tongue?
For Norwegian I would say our cabin on an island, family and friends. Oh, and
the summers we used to travel to Norway when we lived in the U.S.
For American I would say childhood, the smell of spring and fall. Playing outside
in the mornings before going to school, and family and friends for this one too.

What language do you feel most comfortable speaking in?
I definitely feel most comfortable speaking in Norwegian. I’ve lived in Norway
since I was 8, so that’s the majority of my life, and I’m quite self-conscious when
it comes to speaking or writing in American to actual Americans.

Are there certain things you can’t feel you simply can’t translate into
English? Like what?
Well I feel it’s the other way around. There are so many more words in the
English language which is why I like writing and thinking in English.

Do your parents speak English? What do you speak with them? With your
At home we pretty much speak the great made up language of Normarican.
My friends always laugh at me when they hear me on the phone with my family
because we’ll be speaking in English, and suddenly I don’t remember a word, so
I’ll switch to Norwegian.

Do you feel different when you speak your mother tongue?
I do feel different speaking the different languages, but I’m not quite sure how. A
lot of the time I won’t really think about which language I’m speaking though.

Do you feel awkward speaking your mother tongue in front of your friends?
Not necessarily, but sometimes I’ll feel awkward speaking American to other
Americans because I feel like I’m pronouncing everything wrong.

Do you think people who speak your mother tongue natively can see that
you’ve spent a long time outside of that country? Do you think you sound
foreign in your mother tongue now?
Everyone tells me they can’t notice. People never guess that I’m from another
country when we’re in Norway or America, so I’ll just have to trust them.

Can you teach us a word/expression in your mother tongue? What does
this mean and why did u choose it?
I never actually use this one, but I’ve always found it hilariously stupid. When you
say that something is “Rosinen i pølsa” it translates directly to “The raisin in the
hotdog”. It actually means that it’s the tip of excitement, but I have no idea why.

A naughty, naughty word please.
Most Norwegian curse words translate to satan or hell… So faen… which is
roughly translated to ‘satan’.

Tell us a joke? Or a play on words?
This is a joke in a dialect. It’s kind of funny because you end up only using
Det var to gutter som kom fra skolen. På vegen hjem møtte de en mann som
spurte den ene:
– Hvilken klasse går du i?
– Æ e i a.
– Enn du da? spurte han den andre.
– Æ e i a æ å.
It translates to:
There were two guys on their way home from school. On their way they met a
man who asked one:
– What class are you in?
– I’m in A.
– What about you? He asked the other.
– I’m also in A.
As you see, it only works in Norwegian 🙂

Any parting thoughts on taking this lil’ survey?
This was a lot of fun, thanks for including me!

“Alice’s blog is as cool as a Norwegian winter…” Translate!
Alice sin blogg er så kul/kald som en Norsk vinter.

About alicestockwellegan

Language and culture enthusiast from New York living in San Francisco.
This entry was posted in Accents, America., Conversations with Real Live Bilinguals, Culture, Dialects, English, Just for Fun, Language, Learning Languages, Multilingualism, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Conversations With Real Live Bilinguals: Frøken Monica Ricke

  1. Pingback: NY Times & Being American | Language and other musings

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