Learn the Norwegian Diphthongs

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A diphthong is a complex speech sound or glide that begins with one vowel and gradually changes to another vowel within the same syllable. Did not understand what it means? Well, don’t worry, I didn’t either 🙂

What is important to understand the various sounds so that you can speak and understand these sounds like a Norwegian.

Below are the sounds you should be familiar with on your journey to learn Norwegian.

Word Pronunciation
 ei as the English word, “eye
 øy a from “a book” followed by ee. “a-ee
 au as the “ow” in the word, “towel”
 ng as the “ng” in the word, “ring”
 gn as the “n” in the word, “rain
 sk as the “sh” in the word, “shout”
 skj as the “sh” in the word, “shout”
 sj as the “sh” in the word, “shout”
 rs as the “sh” in the word, “shout”
 eg as the English word, “eye



Below are some videos that will help you understand the pronunciation easily.

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13 Replies to “Learn the Norwegian Diphthongs”

  1. funny that the samples you give under ‘diphthongs’ do not fit your definition. Maybe you mean digraph?

    In my sense a diphthong is two vowels that count as a single unit, a single stress. THe Norwegian diphthongs are ‘ei’ ‘øy’ ‘au’ and lesser importance: oy (hoye and eu)

  2. Hei!

    Jeg er litt uenig når det gjelder uttalen av “ei”. Jeg uttaler det som “ay” i det engelske ordet “way”. På norsk heter way “vei”, og uttalen er nesten som det engelske “way”.

    I disagree a bit about the pronunciation of “ei”. As a Norwegian, I pronounce it like “ay” in the English word way. In Norwegian way is “vei”, it sounds almost like the English word.


    “Øy” synes jeg høres mer ut som u (i hurt) + y (i way). Det høres ut som euil i navnet Auteuil (Daniel Auteuil er en fransk skuespiller).

    “Øy” I think sounds more like u (in hurt) + y (in way). Like euil in the French name Auteuil (Daniel Auteuil is a French actor).

    1. Thanks for the help, Sigrun. But can you explain a bit more about vei. When I was in Oslo, I would for example here on the tram, “Frognerveien”. It would sound as Frognerv”eye”en.

  3. What one hears on the tram in Oslo is an Oslo dialect pronunciation. And even that sounds something between “eye” and “(w)ay” in my ears.
    I don’t know if this link works http://translate.google.com/?hl=no&tab=wT#no/en/jeg%20g%C3%A5r%20p%C3%A5%20veien
    If it doesn’t go to Google Translate and write “Jeg går på veien” and click on the “listen”-button. (“eg” i “jeg” is also a diphthong and sounds like “ei”. )
    Sorry that I don’t know the phonetic alphabet.

    I subscribed to followup comments via email last time I visited your site. For some reason I did not receive an email when you replied. Is there a RSS feed for comments?

  4. I hope this comment page is still active. My last name is Eidem. My ancestors came from Selbu, Sor Trondelag. I assume they spoke Trondersk dialect. How would the “ei” be pronounced in Trondersk; as the English work “eye” or as the English word ‘eight” ?

      1. Thank you for the response. If it’s not too much trouble, please let me know if you ever discover a website that could help.

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