Lesson Notes

Unlock In-Depth Explanations & Exclusive Takeaways with Printable Lesson Notes

Unlock Lesson Notes and Transcripts for every single lesson. Sign Up for a Free Lifetime Account and Get 7 Days of Premium Access.

Or sign up using Facebook
Already a Member?

Lesson Transcript

Jasmine: This is All About lesson 2, The Norwegian Writing System. In this lesson, Filip and I are going to explain a little bit more about the Norwegian writing system.
Filip: That's right! We are going to cover lots of things in this lesson.
Jasmine: Let's start with the alphabet.
Filip: Sure. The Norwegian alphabet is easy to learn because it is more or less the same alphabet as English, with the addition of three vowels.
Jasmine: And knowing the basics of the Norwegian alphabet is a huge step in learning Norwegian because it's known as a "phonetic" language.
Filip: That means the letters and the sounds they make are always the same. So, if you know the letters and the sounds, then you can speak it and read it.
Jasmine: But, don't be fooled. The written language has become a bit old and pronunciation is not always as easy as one thinks.
Filip: So that's why we're here. To teach you how to pronounce correctly!
Jasmine: Don't worry. Norwegian is not that hard, it is actually quite easy for someone who already speaks fluent English.
Filip: Yes, Norwegian sometimes sounds quite the same as English. But we'll go over the pronunciation of each letter and the rules for spelling in our pronunciation series.
Jasmine: That's right. For now, we'll give you the big picture.
Filip: Sounds great.
Jasmine: So, the Norwegian alphabet consists of eight vowels and twenty-one consonants, almost like English. Remember eight vowels not five.
Filip: You form words the same way you do in English, by putting letters together in certain orders.
Jasmine: Norwegian is a Germanic language so it shares many words with English. Similar looking words with similar meanings are called cognates.
Filip: For example, "bag" ("bagg") and "traditional" ("tradisjonell") are Norwegian-English and English–Norwegian cognates respectively.
Jasmine: So, for the three extra vowels.
Filip: In Norwegian after "-Z," we add "-Æ," "-Ø," and "-Å." These vowels stem from old times and add some sounds which are often merged into one letter in English
Jasmine: Let's have a look at that.
Filip: We have the first one "-Æ." This letter is essentially an American-English "-A" when used in words like "sad," "last," "bad," and so on.
Jasmine: Right, "Bææææææ...d."
Filip: Hehe. You sound like a sheep.
Filip: Next we have "-Ø."
Jasmine: It sounds like an English "-u" when used in words like "burn," "hurt," "gun," and "stun."
Filip: Finally we have "-Å." It sounds like a British "-o" in words like "mock," "sock," and "clock."
Jasmine: And that's all of them. Don't worry! We'll talk about it more in the pronunciation series.
Jasmine: Okay. So, another benefit to learning the Norwegian writing system is that if you know Norwegian, then Swedish, Danish, Icelandic, German, and Dutch will be easier to learn because they share common roots.
Filip: That's right. Swedish is very easy to understand because to a Norwegian, Swedish sounds like a dialect.
Jasmine: Yep, If you are a fluent speaker of Norwegian, little training is needed to listen to and understand Swedish or Danish for that matter.
Filip: Yes, reading Danish is especially easy. Because of Norway and Denmark's close relationship, the writing systems are practically the same.
Jasmine: Yeah. But, despite the common roots, Danish pronunciation is many times more complicated than Norwegian pronunciation.
Filip: True, it sounds like Danes have a potato in their throat when they are speaking.
Jasmine: Haha. Also, German is pretty easy to understand because the Scandinavian language roots are Old Germanic, but German is more complicated with all its cases.
Filip: And if you dare, you could also try to learn Icelandic. The pronunciation is really hard, even for Norwegians, but many of the words are entirely similar, written.
Jasmine: Yes, Icelandic is like this mythic old language. I listened to Sigur Rós and they sometimes sing in Icelandic and I swear I could grasp some of the words they were singing.
Jasmine: Well, there you have it! The big picture on the Norwegian writing system.
Filip: Norwegian is in a very unique position in relation to other Germanic-based languages and is an excellent launch pad to learning Swedish, Danish, German, or even English for those who cannot speak it already.
Jasmine: Yes it is!
Filip: So please, join us next time when we explore more about Norwegian on All About Norwegian.