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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.
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? 🙂