Pronunciation Chapter 2

Norwegian vowels

The Norwegian alphabet contains nine vowels:

A, E, I, O, U, Y, Æ, Ø, Å

The vowel letters may indicate short or long vowel sounds. All nine vowels may occur as long or short. In the examples below, the colon, < ː >, indicates a long vowel. Absence of colon after the vowel indicates a short vowel.

The vowel is usually short before two or more consonant letters:

<takk> /'tɑk/ thank you
<legge> /'lege/ put

In other cases the vowel is normally long:

<ta> /'tɑː/ take
<tak> /'tɑːk/ roof
<lege> /'leːge/ doctor

In addition to the distinction between short and long vowel, some vowel letters in Norwegian may also represent other vowel sounds:

1) In many words a short < o > is pronounced like < å >:

<komme> /'kome/ come
<jobbe> /'jobe/ work

2) A short < u > may be pronounced as < o >:

<nummer> /'numer/ number

3) In many words with < e > + r, both short and long < e > is pronounced like < æ >:

<terminal> /tærmi'nɑːl/ terminal
<er> /'æːr/ am, are, is
<her> /'hæːr/ here

4) In one important word < e > is pronounced < i >:

<de> /'diː/ they

The Norwegian and English vowel letters compared

Norwegian
letter
English
a Like <a> in «hard»
e Like <e> in «bed» 
i Like <ee> in «see»
o No equivalent
u Approximately as the final vowel in "new"
y No equivalent
æ Like <a> in "bad"
ø No equivalent
å Like <aw> in "saw"