Sju vs Syv

Recently got to the numbers skill where the grammar notes explained something that had been bugging me about the number 7...

My Mum was of Norwegian ancestory and growing up we learnt a couple of nursury rhymes, to say thanks for the meal and to count to 10 (all very badly). 7 was always "souve" to me so the "sju" in earlier skills always jarred. I'm guessing the less common "syv" in the grammar notes is the correct spelling of what I was taught as a kid.

I guess I'd rather prefer to stick with what I was brought up with so my first question is how odd would it sound to use "syv" instead of "sju"?

Also would appreciate if anyone is able to shed any light on what the distinction is? I'm assuming there are particular dialects that prefer "syv"? My mother had family near both Oslo and Bergen but her father's family likely originated closer to Trondheim. Also the Norwegian she knew was pretty old fashioned (1940s ish) if that makes a difference?

January 21, 2017


How odd it is depends on where you are and what dialect you are learning. In Oslo I tend to be seen as a bit posh for saying "syv", as it's mostly used by older people on the western side of town, while it's completely normal other places.

In bokmål is both acepted (syv and sju) . In nyorsk is only sju acepeded. Yes, it is used many places in different dialects. I use both. Vikings counted like this : 1:einn, 2:tveir, 3:þrír, 4:fjórir, 5:fim(m), 6:sex, 7:sjau, 8:átta, 9:níu, 10:tìu. Norwegian Language Council is called Språkrådet. They decide what world is valid or not. Link to Norwegian Language Council (Språkrådet) and 7 :

Thanks. If you use both is there any distinction on when you may prefer one over the other?

Did your mother speak a specific dialect? Her pronunciation could have been dialect based, not necessarily standard

I'm not entirely sure and that is one of the reasons why I'm trying to learn Norwegian now. I would rather wait until I am more confident in the language before I speak to my aunts, uncles and the rest of my family.

She grew up in England with Norwegian parents from different parts of Norway so it was probably a mix of two but I'd guess favouring a dialect from somewhere around Bergen. She did say she was teased by her cousins when visiting Norway for sounding old fashioned.

Saying syv instead of sju would not sound odd at all. Syv is still widely used, and is how it is usually said in many of the biggest cities - at least in Bergen, Stavanger, and probably Oslo (although I suspect both are in use there). I've only ever heard sju from people from around Trondheim as far as I can remember though.

Thanks! :) I think it may be a fight to keep it natural to me when Duolingo only uses Sju and didn't even accept syv the one time I tried it.

You say Syv is how it usually said in many of the biggest cities....Do you have a different view to the Duolingo grammar notes then that said it was much less common than sju?

Are sytten and sytti used for 17 and 70 regardless of whether sju or syv are preferred?

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