In general, the pronunciation of Norwegian
is easy. The spelling is more consistent than in English
, and there is a close correspondence between spelling and pronunciation. Still, as in English, many words contain one or more letters that are not pronounced. A few general rules can be given on this point, e.g. the final -g in adjectives ending in -ig, -lig is not heard; neither is the final -t in the def. sg. form of neuter
nouns, e.g. "huset" (the house), nor -t in the very common pronoun "det", (it, that).
For most language sounds near equivalents can be found in both languages, although they are often spelled differently. Still there are some points of difference that should be noted even at an elementary stage.
The Norwegian alphabet has three more letters than the English: Æ æ, Å å, Ø ø. Their sound value can be shown by the following comparisons with English words.
Æ æ: long- "lær" (leather) is roughly similar to "lair". The short æ sound is always spelled "e"; it is most frequently found preceding "r", e.g. "verden" (world) is similar to larry or laird.
Ø ø: short- "Øst" (east) is similar to dust.
Long- "død" (dead, death) rhymes with "bird". The common dipthong "øy" as in "øy" (island) or "øye" (eye) has no near equivalent in English; the nearest is probably the vowel sound in buoy or buoyed.
Å å: short- "måtte" (must) is like "got". The short "å" sound is very often spelled "o"- e.g. "konge" (king), "kopp" (cup).
Long- "båt" (boat) is pronounced as "bought".
A vowel is always short when followed by a geminated consonant or a consonant cluster. It is always long when followed by a single consonant.
Other difficult sounds are:
Y y: sounds much like French "u", e.g. Short- hytte (hut, cabin) is pronounced as the French hutte, and long- lys (light) is pronounced like the French lune.
kj- Sounds like the German "ch", eg kjemi (chemistry), or Kina (China) are pronounced like the German Chemie