Tones in Norwegian

I read on Wikipedia that Norwegian has two tones/accents that differentiate words from each other. ( I haven't seen this in the course or mentioned in any discussions here. Could someone explain this? Do I need to worry about this much as a beginner?

October 29, 2015


I don't think it's something you need to worry about too much as a beginner, but it will need to be something that you'll need to be aware of. The example of bønder vs. bønner will obviously be important when it comes to correct pronunciation and listening, but for reading you will be fine. The earlier you learn correct pronunciation, the better.

The other tonal pronunciations that it should have mentioned is in regards to the many "sh" sounds that are in Norwegian. TJ, SKJ, KJ, SJ, K, etc. each have their own type of harshness and way of saying the sound, so the basic SH doesn't necessarily suffice.

TJ, SKJ, KJ, SJ, K, G, SH, CH, KKJ, J, SK, C, SCH, SGJ have merged into a single sound in some regions(±the t or s in other regions), and people here have a trouble distinguishing these, so not even all Norwegians can hear the difference.

That's actually good to hear as it makes things slightly easier. Most courses I've seen overstress the importance of the distinction between all of these similar sounds.

I know I often have trouble distinguishing between them unless there are two in a word, like tjuesju.

By all means, respect the sounds. There is a huge difference between kjede and skjede!

Is the Norwegian pitch accent the same with the Swedish one?

I don`t think so, since it varies from region to region.

I started a new thread about this. Hopefully there will be more discussion and information there.

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