Our first Norwegian word in this course is «hei». As you can see above, it means «hi» in English, and the two languages don't look very different. The pronunciations of the words are even a lot more similar than you would think simply by looking at their spellings.
Just as in English, the Norwegian «hei» is a common greeting. It can be used both formally and informally.
Words in Norwegian are usually pronounced almost the way they are written, but the spelling rules are not all the same as in English. But most consonants are pronounced the same way in English and Norwegian. So unless you are told otherwise here, you can assume the pronunciation of the consonant is the same in both lanuages. Vowels on the other hand, may be very different, and we will try to explain the pronunciation of them here when we encounter new vowels.
The Norwegian «e» is usually pronounced as the «e» in the English word «let». This is also how you would say the name of the letter, and we will refer to this as the «e»-sound. But sometimes it is pronounced as the «a» in «bad» instead, which we will refer to as the «æ»-sound. This sound change occurs mostly when the «e» is followed by an «r».
In the word «hei», the «e» can actually be pronounced in both ways, depending on which accent the speaker has. You can choose the one you prefer.
A Norwegian «i» is usually pronounced as the «i» in the English word «hit», but when it follows immediately after another vowel, the sound is usually changed to a sound similar to the «y» in English «yellow». You may therefore pronoune Norwegian «ei» similar to English «ey».
Eg heiter Ole.
I am named Ole.
My name is Ole.
«Heiter» is a verb in present tense. Verbs in present tense usually ends with the letter «r».
The last «e» in «heiter» is pronounced using an «e»-sound. Even though it is followed by an «r», its sound is not changed. This is becuase the «-er» is actually an ending. A suffix added to the verb root.
The Norwegian vowel «o» has no corresponding sound in English. But if you know German, the pronunciation of the Norwegian «o» is similar to the German «u».
«Ole» is a male name which is used a lot in Norway.
Eg er student.
I am student.
I am a student.
Norwegian does have indefinate articles as in English, but sometimes it can be dropped, like here.
The «e» in «er» is pronounced with an «æ»-sound.
Even thought «student» is spelled the same way in English and Norwegian, the pronunciation of the «u» is different. In English the «u» is pronounced as «you». In Norwegian, «u»s are usually pronounced as just the «ou» in «you».
Eg bur i Bergen.
I live in Bergen.
I live in Bergen.
Bergen is the biggest city in Western Norway, and the second biggest city in Norway.
The first «e» in Bergen is pronouned with an «æ»-sound, while the second «e» uses an «e»-sound.