To pronounce Norwegian vowels. If all that people know about det norske språket (the Norwegian language) is the way that it sounds, they usually assume that it is a really difficult language to learn. I must tell you that I strongly disagree. Norwegian pronunciation usually proves to be the most difficult part of the language for beginners to learn, but if you know a few general rules, it’s not so bad. Hvordan uttaler man norsk? Voor-don ootaller mon norshhhhk? How does one pronouce Norwegian?
Norwegian vowels are the trickiest part of learning pronunciation. For one, there are 3 vowels in the Norwegian language that English doesn’t even have: æ, ø, å– pronounced: æ as in ‘cat’, ø said as if you were being punched in the stomach, and å, like ‘oh’ said as Minnesotan as possible.
In addition to æ, ø, and å, there are 5 more vowels: e, i, o, u, and you are probably wondering what the last is. In Norwegian, the letter y is often considered a vowel. Y på norsk (in Norwegian) is pronounced by rounding your lips into a small circle and trying to say ‘e’ as in weeee. E på norsk is pronounced like a long ‘a’ or ‘eh’ like they say in Canada. The exception to this rule is if the ‘e’ comes at the end of a word, it is pronounced like ‘a’ as in ‘a dog or a door’. I på norsk is pronounced ‘e’ as in weeee, unless it is followed by double consonants like the verb å ligge (to lie) and then the i is pronounced like it is in the English word ‘pig.’ O is usually pronounced like oo as in ‘shoe’ except in rare circumstances like the word folk pronounced exactly how it looks (just like English, but the ‘l’ is pronounced, not silent). Lastly, u på norsk is usually pronounced like the French pronounce the letter, which is extremely hard to describe. The closest I can describe the pronunciation of the letter ‘u’ is like the word ‘ewww’ as in gross, but say it faster and sharper.
Another important thing to remember about vowels is that their pronunciation may change depending on what follows them in a word. For example, in the verb å drømme (infinitive form of to dream), the vowel ø is short, but in the past tense (drømte), the vowel is long. As a general rule, a vowel is long if it is only followed by one consonant and short if it is followed by double consonants.
How would you guess that the following sentence is pronounced? På trappene ligger sko i en kø (On the stairs lie shoes in a line).
If you said ‘poe trahpp-inn-a liggehr skoo ee ehhn kuh’ or something to that effect you would be correct.
Work on those vowels and you will be just fine.