Norwegian pronunciation is much more regular than English pronunciation. In addition, there is much more agreement between the spelling of Norwegian words and their pronunciation. Therefore, after a bit of study of the Norwegian phonemes and their sounds, it should be relatively easy to manage the pronunciation of most Norwegian words.
Click on the Norwegian words to hear them spoken by a native speaker. Only those English words marked with an asterisk can be said to contain sounds precisely equivalent to the Norwegian sounds. Other rules of pronunciation can be found at the end of this document.
|Norwegian Example||English Translation||English Example|
|Weak E||lettes||is relieved||lettuce|
|Long E||tre||tree, three||tray|
|K-J Diphthong||kjønn||gender||huge, ich (German)|
|Long Ø||kø||line, queue||blood|
A very clear distinction is made between long and short vowels; long vowels should be very, very long, and short vowels are quite clipped. When the consonant following the vowel is short (i.e., single), the vowel is usually long, and when the consonant following the vowel is long (i.e. double), the vowel is usually short. e.g.:
|Long Vowel||English Translation||Short Vowel||English Translation|
|tak||ceiling, roof||takk||thank you|
|min||mine (masc.)||mitt||mine (neut.)|
|god||good (masc.)||godt||good (neut.)|
|ny||new (masc.)||nytt||new (neut.)|
|grå||grey (masc.)||grått||grey (neut.)|
Short e before r is usually pronounced much more like æ. e.g. hver (every)
l is sometimes pronounced thick in dialects, but this pronunciation is not used in formal speech.
r is usually not rolled in within the combinations rt, rd, rl, and rn. Instead, both consonants are pronounced retroflexively (i.e., right behind the teeth on the roof of the mouth), similar to the way these consonant combinations are pronounced in American English. e.g. kart (map), ærlig (honest), barn (child)
skj is pronounced the same as the sj diphthong. e.g. skjære (cut)
In Eastern Norway, the consonant combination rs, whether within a word or in two juxtaposed words, is pronounced as a retroflexed r followed by the sj diphthong. e.g. norsk (Norwegian), person (person), for sent (too late)
g is not pronounced in the word ending ig. e.g. ærlig (honest)
When a word ends with rd, the preceding vowel is lengthened, and the d is not pronounced. e.g. jord (earth)
d is often mute at the end of a word when it is preceded by a long vowel. e.g. god (good)
t is usually not pronounced at the end of definite neuter nouns. e.g. huset (the house)
v is sometimes silent. e.g. sølv (silver)
Page created by Sarah Brodwall.
Sounds spoken by Arne Kjell Foldvik, native of Larvik i Vestfold, Norway.
Sound editing by Jørn Almberg, NTNU, Trondheim, Norway.
Last updated March 26, 2001
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