Appendix:Norwegian Nynorsk pronunciation

This is a guide to the pronunciation of Norwegian Nynorsk and how to transcribe pronunciations on Wiktionary.

There is no centrally mandated pronunciation of Norwegian. In Wiktionary, the pronunciation given for Norwegian Nynorsk generally reflects the pronunciation in the parts of Norway where Nynorsk is mostly used, as well as which has the most phonemes. The phonemic transcriptions will ideally differentiate between phonemes that may have merged in some dialects. Other pronunciations may also be possible.

ConsonantsEdit

Plosives
Letter IPA Transcription, example and translation
p p par, [pʰɐ̞ːr], pair; couple,
gapa [²ɡɐ̞ː.pɐ̞], to gape
b b bok, [bu̞ːk], book
t t tal, [tʰɐ̞ːl], [tʰɐ̞ːɽ], number
d gods, [²ɡu̞ts], goods
d du, [dʷʉː], you (singular)
k k katt, [kʰɐ̞tː], cat
g hugsa, [²hʊk.sɐ̞], to remember
ɡ god, [ɡu̞ː], good

/p, t, k/ are all aspirated and pronounced almost identically to the equivalent English sounds. /b, d, ɡ/ are distinctly voiced, moreso than the English equivalents of most dialects.

Fricatives
Letter IPA Transcription, example and translation
f f fot, [fu̞ːt], foot
v ʋ våt, [ʋo̞ːt], wet
s s sol, [su̞ːl], [su̞ːɽ], sun
sj
skj
stj
ʃ sju, [ʃʉː], seven
rs, ls ʂ hals (regional), [hɐ̞ʂ], neck
kj, tj ç kjapp, [çɐ̞pː], fast
j j jord, [ju̞ːr], [ju̞ːɽ], soil
gj ʝ dagen, [¹dɐ̞ː.ʝən], the day
h h han, [hɐ̞nː], he
Trills, taps and flaps
Letter IPA Transcription, example and translation
r r, ɾ rud, [rʊː], [ɾʊː], clared forest
rd, l ɽ gard (regional), [ɡɐ̞ːɽ], farm
sol (regional), [su̞ːɽ], sun

The pronunciation of /r/ varies in the various dialects. In eastern dialects the pronunciation is more forward, [ɾ] or [r] while the pronunciation in south western dialects is further back, [ʁ] [χ]. The northernmost dialects use [ɹ], akin to English and Faroese.

In some dialects /s, t, d, n, l/ merge with /r/ and /ɽ/ into retroflex [ʂ, ɖ, ʈ, ɳ, ɭ], or postalveolar [ʃ, t̠, d̠, n̠, l̠]. Some dialects further differentiate between /r/ and /ɽ/ and pronounce /rn/ like [n̠] (while /n/ is [n̪]), and /ɽn/ like [ɳ]. In some dialects, /rɽ/ also merge into [ɻ].

Eastern Norwegian realisation or /r/ + alveolars
Phonemes Realisation Other regional realisation Examples
/rs/ [ʂ] [ʃ], [s̠] Lars, [lɐ̞ːʂ], [lɐ̞ːʃ] Lars, male given name
/rt/ [ʈ] [t̠] bart, [bɐ̞ʈː], [bɐ̞t̠ː] moustache
/rd/ [ɖ] [d̠] når du, [¹no̞ɖ.ɖʉˑ], [¹no̞d̠.d̠ʉˑ] when you
varde, [²ʋɐ̞ː.ɖə], [²ʋɐ̞ː.d̠ə] lasted
/rn/ [ɳ] [n̠] garn, [ɡɐ̞ːɳ], [ɡɐ̞ːn̠] yarn
farne, [²fɐ̞ː.ɳə], [²fɐ̞ː.n̠ə] gone (plural)
/rl/ [ɭ] [l̠] farleg, [fɐ̞ː.ɭə(ɡ)], [fɐ̞ːl̠ə(ɡ)] dangerous

Old Norse /rs/ or /rn/ have commonly turned into /sː/ and /nː/, but some dialects retain /rs/ and /rn/. Loanwords or literary words with ⟨rs⟩ and ⟨rn⟩ have /rs/ and /rn/ in all dialects.

⟨rd⟩ is usually /r/ or /ɽ/ in native words, descending from Old Norse /rð/. Most loanwords, however, and some literary words, have /rd/.

/ɽ/ + alveolars
Phonemes Realisation Examples
/ɽs/ [ʂ] hals, /haɽs/[hɐ̞ʂ] neck
gulsott, /²ɡʊːɽ.sutː/[²ɡʊː.ʂu̞tˑ] jaundice
/ɽt/ [ʈ] gult, /ɡʊɽt/[ɡʊːʈ] yellow (neuter)
måltid, /²mɔːɽ.tiː/[²mo̞ː.ʈiˑ] meal, time for eating
/ɽd/ [ɖ] hulder, /¹hʊɽd.əɾ/[¹hʊɖ.ɖəɾ] hulder, elf
valde, /²vaɽ.də/[²ʋɐ̞ɖ.ɖə] chose
bordduk, /²buːɽ.dʉːk/[²bu̞ː.ɖʉˑk] tablecloth
/ɽn/ [ɳ] garden, /¹ɡaːɽ.n̩/[¹ɡɐ̞ː.ɳ̩] the farm
jordnær, /²juːɽ.næːr/[²ju̞ː.ɳæˑɾ] down to earth
/ɽl/ [ɭ] mållag, /²mɔːɽ.laːɡ/[²mo̞ː.ɭɐ̞ɡ] language organisation
nordleg, /²nuːɽ.lə(ɡ)/[²nu̞ː.ɭə(ɡ)] northern
/ɽr/ [ɻ] gulrot, /²ɡʊːɽ.ruːt/[²ɡʊː.ɻuˑt] carrot

Alveolars following retroflexes may also become retroflex, for instance huldra /¹hʊɽd.ra/[¹hʊɖ.ɻɐ̞], hårstrikk /²ho̞ːr.strɪkˑ/[²ho̞ː.ʂtɾɪkˑ][²ho̞ː.ʂʈɻɪkˑ], and nummer tre /ˌnumːər ˈtreː/[ˌnu̞mˑəˈʈɻeː].

Laterals
Phoneme Transcription, example and translation
l land, [lɐ̞nd], [lɐ̞nː], country
Nasals
Phoneme Transcription, example and translation
m mann, [mɐ̞nː], man
heimferd, [²hɛ̝ɪːɱ.fɛ̝ˑr], [²hɛ̝ɪːɱ.fɛ̝ˑɽ], return homewards
n nes, [nɛ̝ːs], headland
stengja, [²stɛ̝ɲ.ʝɐ̞], to close
ŋ lang, [lɐ̞ŋɡ], [lɐ̞ŋː], long

VowelsEdit

Monophthongs
Letter IPA Example and translation
i ti, [tʰiː], ten
i tidt, [tʰitː], often
ì ɪː vìta, [²ʋɪː.tɐ̞], to know;
skrive, [²skrɪː.ʋə], written (past ptcpl.)
ɪ finna, [fɪn.nɐ̞], to find;
kiste, [çɪstə], chest
y yʷː ny, [nyʷː], new
nytt, [nyʷtː], new (neuter
ʏʷː yver, [¹ʏʷː.ʋər], over;
hỳl, [hʏʷːl], [hʏʷːɽ] pothole
ʏʷ bygd, [bʏɡd], village
u ʉː hus, [hʷʉːs], house
ʉ butt, [bʉtː], lived (past ptcpl.)
ù ʊː rug, [rʊːɡ], rye
ʊ full, [fʊlː], full;
upp, [ʊpʰː], up
e ser, [seːr], see
e rett, [retː], right; straight; correct
è ɛ̝ː vera, [²ʋɛ̝ː.rɐ̞], to be
ɛ̝ hest, [hɛ̝st], horse
æ æː læra, [²læː.rɐ̞], to learn; to teach
a ɐ̞ː har, [hɐ̞ːr], have
ɐ̞ mann, [mɐ̞nː], man
ø øː brød, [brøː], bread
ø søtt, [søtː], sweet (neuter)
œ øks, [œks], axe;
mjølk, [mjœl̥k], [mjœɽ̊k], milk
o u̞ː god, [ɡu̞ː], good
skodd, [sku̞dː], shod, shoed
ò ɞ̞ː hòl, [hɞ̞ːl], [hɞ̞ːɽ], hole
ɞ̞ golv, [ɡɞ̞lʋ], [ɡɞ̞ɽʋ], floor
å o̞ː låg, [lo̞ːɡ], low
grått, [ɡro̞tː], [ɡrɔtː], grey (neuter)
ɔ

In many Norwegian dialects, /y/ and /ʏ/ are different phonemes, such as in hyl [hyʷːl] scream and hỳl [hʏʷːl] river pothole. In other dialects, [ʏʷ] may merge with [ø] (compare the spelling høl from earlier hyl, hỳl), and leave [ʏʷ] as an allophone of [yʷ]. Most Norwegian phonologies, as a result of basing themselves on Urban East Norwegian, don’t treat [ʏʷ] as a phoneme, despite the presence in the Norwegian spoken language. This has not been the tradition with Nynorsk, and dictionaries like Norsk Ordbog by Ivar Aasen differenciate between the “open” [ʏʷ] and “closed” [yʷ]. This is similar to how one differenciates between e.g. [u̞] and [ɞ̞] in hól [hu̞ːl] low hillock and hòl [hɞ̞ːl] hole.

In some dialects, like the one of Setesdal, the “closed” y (< Old Norse ý, ȳ) has developed into a diphthong. A word like sky (< Old Norse ský) is therefore pronounced [ʃuy̯ʷː] or [sjuy̯ʷː]. The “open” y (< Old Norse y) is pronounced like [yʷ] or [yʷø̯]. Example: ON fyl[fyʷːl] foal; ON synir[²sʷyø̯ʷːnɪ] (sỳni) sons. The latter has also become [²sʷy̯øʷːnɪ] (sø̀ni).

The Norwegian /y/ and /ʏ/ are commonly realised as protruded [yʷ] and [ʏʷ], while it’s common to write them as [y] and [ʏ]. Some dialects, in Western Telemark and North Gudbrand Valley, use the non-protruded, or regular, y [yᵝ] and [ʏᵝ]. Example: syl [syᵝːl] awl. The distinction is therefore relevant, not only on an international level, but also on a national one.

Short å has commonly the more open pronunciation [ɔ], so that the neuter of grå [ɡro̞ː] is [ɡrɔtː] instead of [ɡro̞tː]. In Setesdal, the vowel retains its length even before long consonant sounds, and does not change quality. Grått is therefore [ɡro̞ːtː].

The vowel å (from Old Norse á) has some places become a diphthong, most prominently in Hardanger, Voss and Sogn, with the pronunciations [ɐ̞u̞̯], [ɐ̞ʊ̯] or [ɔ̞u̞̯]. The eye dialect spelling of this is commonly ao or åo, such as in sognamaol (sognamål, lit. ‘Sogn language’), the dialect of Sogn.

Diphthongs
Spelling IPA Transcription, example and translation
au œʊ̯ sau, [sœʊ̯], sheep
ei ɛ̝ɪ̯ nei, [nɛ̝ɪ̯], no
øy œʏ̯ʷ døy, [dœʏ̯ʷ], die

The diphthong au is pronounced in various ways, most commonly [œʊ̯] and [əʊ̯], but some places also [æ̞ʊ̯], [æʊ̯], [ɐʊ̯], [ɞ̞ʊ̯], [u̞ʊ̯] and [əɵ]. In Setesdal, Hallingdal, Valdres, and parts of Nordfjord and Sunnmøre, it is pronounced [ɐ̞ʉ̯], [a̝ʊ̯] and [ɔ̞ʉ̯].[1] Setesdal also has [a̝u̯] and [o̞u̯], and [œu̯] in the southern part.[2]

The diphthong ei has a smaller amount of variations, and is most commonly pronounced [æi̯] or [ɛ̝ɪ̯]. Other pronunciations are [a̝ɪ̯] in Setesdal, Hallingdal, Valdres, Hardanger, Voss, Inner Nordfjord and South Gudbrand Valley, and also [æ̞ɪ̯] in the latter two.[1] Setesdal also has [ɐ̞ɪ̯] and [æ̞ɪ̯].[2]

The diphthong øy is almost always [œʏ̯ʷ], with the most common exception being dialects where it’s merged with ei due to iotacism. Parts of Inner Hordaland, Sogn, Inner Nordfjord and Inner Sunnmøre have [o̞ɪ̹̯], and other places have [oy̯ʷ], [ɐ̞y̯ʷ], [ɔy̯ʷ], [ɶ̠y̯ʷ] and [œɪ̹̯]. In Setesdal, it’s [ɔ̞ʏ̯ʷ].[2]

Stress and tonemesEdit

Most dialects of Norwegian separate between two distinct tonemes. The way they are realised differs considerably between different dialects. The table gives only a few examples.

Stress and tone
IPA Examples Examples of realisation
[¹] livet
[¹liː.ʋə]
Tone 1 / acute accent:
  • low-rising tone in Oslo and Trondheim: [ˈlìː.ʋə̌]
  • falling-low tone in Bergen: [ˈlíː.ʋə̀]
  • rising-falling tone in Stavanger: [ˈlǐː.ʋə̌]
  • simple primary stress in certain accents: [ˈliːʋə][3]
[²] live
[²liː.ʋə]
Tone 2 / grave accent:
  • falling-rising tone in Oslo and Trondheim: [ˈlíː.ʋə̌]
  • rising-falling tone in Bergen: [ˈlǐː.ʋə̂]
  • falling-falling tone in Stavanger: [ˈlîː.ʋə̂]
  • simple primary stress in certain accents: [ˈliː.ʋə][3]

ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 Hans Ross (1906) Norske bygdemaal[1], Kristiania: Det Norske Samlaget, page 32
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Hans Ross (1909) Norske bygdemaal[2], Christiania: Jacob Dybwad, page 40
  3. 3.0 3.1 A few dialects have a simple primary stress rather than a contrastive pitch accent. In those accents, livet (meaning ‘the life’) and live (dative of liv, such as in i live ‘alive’) are pronounced exactly the same.