Norwegian silent letters

click to hear the audiofile

You have most probably already noticed that several consonants in Norwegian may occur as so-called mute or silent letters; which means they are written, but not pronounced.

Below, we briefly have summarized which consonants are silent and where.

1) “d” is silent in “ld, nd, rd” and may be silent at the end of syllables after a vowel:

kald /’kɑl/ cold
Trondheim /’tronheim/ Trondheim
bord /’buːr/ table
med /’meː/ with

2) “g” is silent in “gj” and in adjectives ending in -ig:

gjøre /’jøːre/ do
hyggelig /’hygeli/ nice

3) “h” is silent in “hj, hv” :

hjelpe /’jelpe/ help
hvor /’vur/ where

4) “t” is silent in the definite form singular of neuter nouns:

flyet /’flyːe/ the plane

5) “t” is also silent in one important word, “det”:

det /’deː/ it, that

Discussion

As you have noticed there are discrepancies between spelling and pronunciation. This is true for most languages, including our own mother tongue!

We get frustrated when learning another language’s pronunciation and wonder why on earth foreigners can’t write in the same way they speak. Well…they actually do. In the same way you do.

As always in language and culture, everything is relative.

So, how do YOU practise spoken Norwegian?

Have you perhaps tried our CALST pronunciation program and found a dialect you like?

Sometimes we just learn languages based on how they sound in our ears.

A good strategy for learning pronunciation could be to select a dialect of Norwegian you like from CALST and then try to copy it.

Give it a try and tell us how that works for you!

Share this article:

This article is from the free online course:

Norwegian for Beginners 1

Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)