6 Pronunciation LearnNoW
In Norway you find several dialects that are quite different. When it comes to pronunciation the differences are related to consonant inventory and intonation.
There is no standard spoken Norwegian. It is common in teaching Norwegian as a second language to approach the Bokmål writing system, but the teacher often retains the intonation of her/his everyday speech, that is; dialect.
The description below is a general overview over Norwegian prosody.
Norwegian vowels may be long or short:
|< vin >||/'viːn/||wine|
|< vinn >||/'vin/||win|
|< vind >||/'vin/||wind|
|< vink >||/'viŋk/||hand signal, hint|
In general, the duration is indicated through the orthography. If a vowel is followed by one consonant, it is long, if it is followed by double consonants or a consonant cluster, it is short. Above the long vowel is indicated in phonemic writing by using colon < ː >.
In general, the first syllable of Norwegian words is stressed. In phonemic writing stress is indicated by an apostrophe < ' >:
|< Norge >||/'norge/||Norway|
|< spise >||/'spiːse/||eat|
However, in loanwords the stress pattern can be different, and you will find words stressed on the first, second, penultimate and ultimate syllable.
|< telle >||/'tele/||count|
|< fortelle >||/fo'ʈele/||tell|
|< studere >||/stʉ'deːre/||study|
|< student >||/stʉ'dent/||student|
There are some rules for stress placement in loanwords:
Verbs ending in «-ere» are stressed on the penultimate syllable
|<spandere>||/spɑn'deːre/||treat, stand treat|
Nouns ending in «-ent» are stressed on the ultimate syllable
In compounds, each of the constituting parts carries its original stress. The two stresses in the word are labeled primary and secondary stress respectively. The primary stress is found in the first part of the compound, the secondary stress is found in the second part.
|< engelsk >||/'eŋelsk/||English|
|< lærer >||/'læːrer/||teacher|
|< engelsk lærer >||/'eŋelsk 'læːrer/||English teacher (teacher from England)|
|< engelsklærer >||/'eŋelskˌlæːrer/||teacher of English|
Norwegian has two word tones called tone 1 and tone 2. By means of the tonal pattern it is possible to distinguish between two words with identical sound structure:
|Tone 1:||loven||/1loːven/||the law|
|Tone 2:||låven||/2loːven/||the barn|
Tones are not discussed further in this introductory course, but they are indicated for each word in the vocabulary tables.