Dec 2, 2010

The Norwegian Alphabet

I guess the most important thing for learning a new language is the differences in alphabet. For some languages this is harder (for example, Slavic languages, which have a completely different alphabet).

For Norwegian, it's simple, because the alphabet is exactly the same as english except for three letters -
ø, æ and å.

Pronunciation of these letters is a little more difficult than just seeing them, though, and when I first started I just assumed 'å' was pronounced like a regular 'a', and 'æ' like 'ae' and 'ø' just like a regular 'o'. Other letters in the Norwegian alphabet are also pronounced differently to in English.

Norsk Alfabetet (The Norwegian Alphabet):

Aa - (ah)
Bb - (beh)
Cc - (seh)
Dd - (deh)
Ee - (eh)
Ff - (eff)
Gg - (geh)
Hh - (haw, sometimes 'hoo')
Ii - (ee - how you would pronounce the letter E in English)
Jj - (yeh, J is like the English letter Y)
Kk - (kaw, I have also heard kuh)
Ll - (ell)
Mm - (ehmm)
Nn - (ehnn)
Oo - (oh, short)
Pp - (peh)
Qq - (koo)
Rr - (arr, somewhat rolled, especially in the middle of words)
Ss - (ess)
Tt - (teh)
Uu - (ooh, longer than 'O')
Vv - (veh)
Ww - (double veh)
Xx - (ex)
Yy - (ew)
Zz - (zett)
Åå - (aw, sort of like in cot)
Øø - (err/ur almost like a saucy sounding grunt, or the word churn, with less focus on the 'R' sound)
Ææ - (the easiest, pronounced like the 'a' from apple)

"Å" is also the name of a town in Norway
It should be noted that some letters are not used frequently, except for foreign words, for instance I don't know of any Norwegian words that have C, Q, X or Z in them. It might also help that Å, Ø and Æ are all vowels of the scandinavian languages (except Swedish, who use Ä, Ö and Ë I think...)

Interestingly, the letter å is also a word (to) and the name of a small town.
After some practice of pronouncing words with the letters, you do eventually get used to the pronunciation (it's a good idea to listen to some audio of them if you have it)

I guess that's all for now, just a short one... not sure what it will be yet, but something new will hopefully be up by next Tuesday (in Norwegian, Tirsdag!)


  1. What language is this?

  2. @Pistowie

    I think it's Chinese but I'm not sure

  3. It's not all that different form Slavic languages. Pronunciation is, basically, the same.

  4. Ah thanks! very interesting, i actually wanted to learn it!

  5. @memeaday Chinese isn;t a slavic language