You might have encountered the infamous Norwegian letters æ,ø and å at some point. An example of this can be when you’re learning how to conjugate Norwegian verbs and you then find out that the infinitive marker in Norwegian is in fact å. Another example is when you’re learning the Norwegian colors and discover that several of the colors include these letters. How is the Norwegian alphabet and how many letters are there?
The Norwegian Alphabet
The Norwegian alphabet is based on the Latin alphabet and has 29 letters in it. Before we start, let’s look at the Norwegian alphabet:
As you have probably noticed, the Norwegian alphabet is identical to the English alphabet (Latin alphabet) except for the addition of three letters æ,ø and å. This alphabet is used in Norwegian (both bokmål and nynorsk) and Danish.
Before 1917, aa was used the way å is used today. The pronunciation of the Norwegian names Åse and Aase is in other words identical. After the orthography reform in 1917, the letter å was introduced into the Norwegian alphabet and replaced aa.
The Norwegian letters æ,ø and å are used in the Norwegian language today. Å has replaced aa but there are still names that still use aa, for instance Kaare and Aase (or Kåre and Åse). Here are three examples of Norwegian words that use æ, ø or å:
You have now learned that the Norwegian alphabet is like the Latin alphabet, but with three added letters: æ, ø, and å. In the next lesson we are going to learn about Norwegian pronouns.