Norwegian/Appendix 2

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Appendix P: Norwegian Pronunciation[edit]

The pronunciation is indicated in IPA. The sounds are best learned from a native speaker. Whenever possible, practice these with a native speaker. Reading aloud will also help your confidence. Note that the Norwegian language is full of dialects, so there are several ways of pronouncing the words. Foreign learners are usually taught to speak the way that people in the Oslo-area speak.

Vowels[edit]

The Norwegian vowels:

a e i o u y æ ø å

The main rule is that long vowels occur before single consonants, short vowels occur before double consonants. This is no absolute rule, though, as you will see in the examples below. Notice: the short o sound is actually never to be found written with an o! (It's usually represented by u)

Vowel IPA Example IPA
a (short) ɑ hatt hɑt
a (long) ɑː hat hɑːt
e (short) e send sen
e (long) sen seːn
i (short) i vind vin
i (long) vin viːn
o (short) u bukk buk
o (long) bok buːk
u (short) ʉ lund lʉn
u (long) ʉː lun lʉːn
y (short) y lynne lyne
y (long) lyn lyːn
æ (short) æ vært vært
æ (long) æː vær væːr
ø (short) ø søtt søt
ø (long) øː søt søːt
å (short) ɔ vått vɔt
å (long) ɔː våt vɔːt

Consonants[edit]

The Norwegian consonants

b d f g h j k l m n p r s t v

Most consonants in the Norwegian language are pronounced like the English consonants.

Plosives[edit]

In Norwegian, there are six plosives, all equal to the English version of them.

Consonant IPA Example IPA
p p hopp hɔp
b b labb lɑb
t t tak tɑːk
d d ladd lɑd
k k takk tɑk
g g knagg knɑg

Fricatives[edit]

These are also quite equal to the English language, except that Norwegian does not have θ, (as in thin) ð (as in this) ʒ (as in measure) and z, (as in zing) but at the other hand, norwegians have the ç sound, which is sort of a stiffer version of the ʃ sound (as in German ich). The ç sound is similar to the "h" in many English dialects' pronunciation of huge.

Consonant IPA Example IPA
f f fin fiːn
v v vin viːn
s s lass lɑs
s(ky).../s(kj)... ʃ skyt ʃyːt
k(i).../k(j)... ç kino çiːno
j/g(j).../h(j).../g(i) j gi jiː
h h ha hɑː

Nasals[edit]

Consonant IPA Example IPA
m m lam lɑm
n n vann vɑn
ng ŋ sang sɑŋ

Liquids[edit]

Consonant IPA Example IPA
l l fall fɑl

Trills[edit]

Consonant IPA Example IPA
r r prøv prøːv

Diphthongs[edit]

Vowels also appear in set combinations. These are called diphthongs. They are two vowel sounds pronounced after the other as a continous sound

Diphthong IPA Example IPA
ei æi vei væi
øy øy høy høy
au ɑʉ sau sɑʉ
ai ɑi kai kɑi
oy ɔy konvoy kunvɔy
ui ʉi hui hʉi
oi ui hoi hui

Allophonic Variants[edit]

IPA Example IPA
ʈ hardt hɑʈ
æɖ verdi væɖiː
ɭ ærlig æːɭi
ɳ garn gɑɳ

Tonemes[edit]

Norwegian has two contrasting tonemes. These are kind of hard to describe using text, and some also say that foreigners (to Norway) are even unable to distinguish one from the other. However, they do exist. In the words indicated with 1 and a hacek, the tone is normal in the first part of the word, and rises in the last part of the word. In the words indicated with 2, the word is pronounced like any other normal word. (In other words, it's very hard to say 1 words in a monotone voice) Here are two examples:

Example IPA English word
bønder ¹bø̌nr farmers
bønner ²bønr beans
   
loven ¹lɔ̌ːven the law
låven ²lɔːven the barn

Notice: The two last examples are very similar to each other even though they are different, and I am actually somewhat unsure if it's loven or låven which is the more "special" one.