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Norwegian orthography is the method of writing the Norwegian language, of which there are two written standards: Bokmål and Nynorsk. While Bokmål has for the most part derived its forms from the written Danish language and Danish-Norwegian speech, Nynorsk gets its orthographical standards from Aasen's reconstructed "base dialect", which are intended to represent the distinctive dialectical forms. Both standards use a 29-letter variant of the Latin alphabet.
|J||j||/jeː/ or /jɔd/|
The letters c, q, w, x and z are not used in the spelling of indigenous Norwegian words. They are rarely used; loanwords routinely have their orthography adapted to the native sound system.
Norwegian (especially the Nynorsk variant) also uses several letters with diacritic signs: é, è, ê, ó, ò, â, and ô. The diacritic signs are not compulsory, but can be added to clarify the meaning of words (homonyms) which otherwise would be identical. One example is ein gut ("a boy") versus éin gut ("one boy"), in Nynorsk, as opposed to en gutt in Bokmål. Loanwords may be spelled with other diacritics, most notably ü, á, à and é, following the conventions of the original language. The Norwegian vowels æ, ø and å never take diacritics.
- for (preposition. For or to, Bokmål and Nynorsk)
- fór (verb. Went, in the sense went quickly, Bokmål and Nynorsk. Only to be used with the pronoun, vi)
- fòr (noun. Furrow, only Nynorsk)
- fôr (noun. Fodder, feed, fodder, Bokmål and Nynorsk)
Ò can be used in òg, meaning "also". This word is found in both Nynorsk and Bokmål. An example of ê in Nynorsk is the word vêr, meaning "weather". An example of è in Bokmål is karrière meaning "career".
A macron-like diacritic can be used for decorative purposes both in handwritten and computed Bokmål and Nynorsk or to denote vowel length such as in dū (you), lā (infinitive form of "to let"), lēser (present form of "to read") and lūft (air). The diacritic is entirely optional, carries no IPA value and is seldom used in modern Norwegian outside of handwriting.
Sound to spelling correspondences
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|e (short)||/ɛ/, /æ/|
|e (long)||/eː/, /æː/|
|o (short)||/ɔ, ʊ/|
|o (long)||/uː, oː/|
|æ (short)||/æ/, /ɛ/|
|æ (long)||/æː/, /eː/|
|g||/j/ before ⟨i⟩ or ⟨y⟩, /ɡ/ elsewhere|
|gn||/ɡn/ word-initially, /ŋn/ elsewhere|
|k||/ç/ before ⟨i⟩ or ⟨y⟩, /k/ elsewhere|
|r||/ɾ/, /ʁ/, /χ/|
|rd||[ɖ], /ɾ/, /ɽ/, /ʁ(d)/|
|sk||/ʂ/ before ⟨i⟩ or ⟨y⟩, /sk/ elsewhere|
The letter Å (HTML
å) was officially introduced in Norwegian in 1917, replacing Aa or aa. The new letter came from the Swedish alphabet, where it had been in official use since the 18th century. The former digraph Aa still occurs in personal names. Geographical names tend to follow the current orthography, meaning that the letter å will be used. Family names may not follow modern orthography, and as such retain the digraph aa where å would be used today. Aa remains in use as a transliteration, if the letter is not available for technical reasons. Aa is treated like Å in alphabetical sorting, not like two adjacent letters A, meaning that while a is the first letter of the alphabet, aa is the last. This rule does not apply to non-Scandinavian names, so a modern atlas would list the German city of Aachen under A but list the Danish city of Aabenraa under Å.
The difference between the Dano-Norwegian and the Swedish alphabet is that Swedish uses the variant Ä instead of Æ, and the variant Ö instead of Ø — similarly to German. Also, the collating order for these three letters is different: Å, Ä, Ö.
In computing, several different coding standards have existed for this alphabet:
- IBM PC code page 865
- ISO 8859-1
- NS 4551-1, later established in international standard ISO 646
- Norwegian phonology
- Norwegian language conflict
- Danish phonology
- Futhark, the Germanic runes used formerly
- Icelandic orthography
- Latin spelling alphabets
- Swedish alphabet
- Norwegian language council: The use of accents (in Norwegian)