2 Pronunciation

2 Pronunciation

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»