Learn the Norwegian Diphthongs

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.

 eias the English word, “eye
 øya from “a book” followed by ee. “a-ee
 auas the “ow” in the word, “towel”
 ngas the “ng” in the word, “ring”
 gnas the “n” in the word, “rain
 skas the “sh” in the word, “shout”
 skjas the “sh” in the word, “shout”
 sjas the “sh” in the word, “shout”
 rsas the “sh” in the word, “shout”
 egas the English word, “eye



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

Get all of the lessons on Norwegian vocabulary and grammar in my ebook.
Check it out at: Beginning Norwegian

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9 thoughts on “Learn the Norwegian Diphthongs

  1. Louis Janus

    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. Sigrun


    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. Kevin Post author

      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. Sigrun

    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?

    1. Kevin

      Thanks Sigrun,

      Sorry for the late reply. I will check out if there is any problem with the followup comments via email.


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