Norwegian Alphabet

Norwegian shares its alphabet with the Danish language, and it is sometimes referred to as the Dano-Norwegian alphabet. It is based on the Latin script and has 29 letters.

The Norwegian alphabet has the same 26 letters as the English alphabet and 3 special letters: æ, ø, and å.

The letters c, q, w, x, and z are not used in the spelling of indigenous words. They are rarely used in Norwegian, where loan words routinely have their orthography adapted to the native sound system.

The two official written standards of the Norwegian language, Bokmål and Nynorsk, use diacritics differently.

Bokmål is mostly spelled without diacritic signs. The only exception is one word of Norwegian origin, fôr, to be distinguished from for.

There are also a small number of words in Norwegian which use the acute accent, such as allé (avenue), kafé (coffee), idé (idea), entré (entrance), and others.

Nynorsk uses several letters with diacritic signs: é, è, ê, ó, ò, â, and ô. The diacritic signs are not compulsory but can be added to clarify the meaning of words (homonyms) that would otherwise be identical. One example is ein gut (“a boy”) versus éin gut (“one boy”).

Loanwords may be spelled with other diacritics, most notably ü, á, à and é, following the conventions of the original language.

The Norwegian vowels æ, ø, and å never take diacritics.

As for pronunciation, there is considerable variation among the dialects, and all pronunciations are considered by official policy to be equally correct – there is no official spoken standard, although it can be said that Bokmål has an unofficial spoken standard, called Urban East Norwegian or Standard East Norwegian (Norwegian: standard østnorsk), loosely based on the speech of the literate classes of the Oslo area. This variant is the most common one taught to foreign students. Furthermore, Urban East Norwegian has traditionally been used in public venues such as theatre and TV, although today local dialects are used extensively in spoken and visual media.

Norwegian Vocabulary

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FAQs about Norwegian

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