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Spelling your name in Norwegian Posted by on Jul 29, 2017 in Pronunciation, Vocabulary

When you check in at a hostel or meet a new friend, you’re sometimes asked to spell your navn (name). Fortunately, the Norwegian alfabet [alfaBEHT] is quite similar to the English one you already know. In case you forgot bokstavene (the letters), here’s a crash course.

(No-copyright illustration from PixaBay.)

The first pitfall: i and e. (I’ve heard several English-speakers mixing those two, so watch out!) In Norwegian, i is called [ee] – as in is [ees] (ice-cream). The Norwegian e is more open – a bit like zen without the z and the n – as in en [ehn] (one).

Yes! You can now actually name all those letters that rhyme with Wii in English. You just have to open up the English e sound at the end so it sounds like a Norwegian e. Here we go: ”Bii”, ”Cii”, ”Dii” become b [beh], c [ceh], d [deh]. So, instead of watching ”TiiVii”, you watch ”tehveh”. 🙂

Wait, g is hard as in spaGHEtti, so no more going around saying ”gee” when spelling your name to Norwegians! And z, which is soft as a whisper, is called [set]. J sounds like ”Yeah”!

BTW, W is considered a double V in Norwegian, not a ”double U”! (Also, the Norwegian u isn’t called ”yu” as in English – drop the ”y-” part and you’re much closer…)

A last point: K and h have nice rhyming names – [kaw] and [haw] (as in hawk). Now, let’s look at all the letters:

a, b, c, d, e, f, g, h, i, j, k, l, m, n, o, p, q, r, s, t, u, v, w, x, y, z, æ, ø, å

ah, beh, ceh, deh, eh, ef, gheh, haw, ee, yeah, kaw, el, em, en, oh, peh, kooh, err, ess, teh, oo, veh, dobbelt-veh, eks, ”ü”, set, ”æ”, ”ø”, aw

Can you spell your first name now? 🙂

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About the Author:Bjørn A. Bojesen

I was born in Denmark, but spent large parts of my childhood and study years in Norway. I later returned to Denmark, where I finished my MA in Scandinavian Studies. Having relatives in Sweden as well, I feel very Scandinavian! I enjoy reading and travelling, and sharing stories with you! You’re always welcome to share your thoughts with me and the other readers.


Comments:

  1. Julie Bjorn-Fisher:

    My Grandparents immigrated from the Island of Bjorn in the early 1900’s to Ellis Island. Our surname was Peterson but was changed at Ellis Island to Bjorn. I love my maiden name and have never stopped using it. Thank you for sharing!

  2. Martin:

    Tussen takk!♡ mit navn er Martin. Spelling my name in norsk is pretty easy for my luckily. Jeg elske Norge!♡♡♡♡♡

    • Bjørn A. Bojesen:

      @Martin @Hei Martin! I’m really happy to hear that. 🙂 Tusen takk for your input!

  3. Bill Sturdevant:

    Several years ago, I bought the Transparent Language 101 languages of the world. I have used them in my writing on and off over the years and they are very helpful.


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