1. Alphabet. Common reading rules.
The Nynorn alphabet consists of 24 letters:
Aa Bb Dd (Ð)ð Ee Ff Gg Hh Ii Jj Kk Ll
Mm Nn Oo Pp Rr Ss Tt Uu Vv Yy Øø Åå
The letter ð never occurs at the beginning of the word, so its capital
counterpart Ð is mentioned only for completeness sake.
The following letters are pronounced as their English/Scots counterparts:
r is a trilled rhotic sound as in Scots, Gaelic or Spanish
ng is uttered as ng + g
hv reads as [hw] except Foula and Westside where it is uttered as
j reads as English y in young
hj reads as j (English y)
sj reads as English sh;
tj reads as English ch.
One consonant letter, ð, reads as zero sound (like in Faroese),
except 2 positions: rð and gð, where you can pronounce it either
like [r, g]
or [rd, gd] respectively.
The letter g in the adjective ending -ig is silent, i.e. the
ending reads as [i].
The vowel letters are pronounced according to rules, common for most European
a reads as a in French and German (or Arabic Allah akbar)
o reads as o in English song
u reads as oo in English spoon
i reads as a mix of i and ee in English bit, steel
e reads as e in English bed
ø reads as Shetlandic ui in guid, German ö
or French eu (very close to English ur in hurt)
å reads as o
y reads as i
NB! The pronunciation of a,o,u,å + ll,nn,tt,pp,kk may have
dialectal variations which are to be covered in the following lessons.
The letters ð,y,å refer to Old Norse sounds which have merged with other
sounds or become silent during the history of Norn.
The stress in Nynorn normally falls onto the first syllable, except in
borrowings from other languages where other syllables can be stressed.
The vowels in the stressed syllable are long, unless followed by a long
consonant (marked with two consonant letters) or a group of consonants.
long vowels: hus 'house', taka 'to take', dag
'day', voga 'week'
short vowels: hest 'horse', drengi 'boy', efter
'after', kerling 'old woman'
long consonants: miss 'loss', hvessa 'to sharpen', sommer
Read the following words:
bera 'to carry', joga 'eye', udal 'allodial', hval
'whale', tjug 'thigh', hånga 'to hang', bjårga 'to save', hjog
'oyster-catcher', miss 'loss',
njavi 'fist', nyr 'kidney', bjørg 'rocky hill',
'Christmas', ting 'court; district', sjå
'to see', hvessa
2. Strong substantives. Plural
As in German and Scandinavian languages, all substantives in Nynorn are divided
into two main classes, strong
(S) and weak (W). It has nothing to do with force or weakness, this
naming is purely conventional and refers to two main declension types. As a
rule, the strong
nouns, with a few exceptions, end in a consonant (hest, kerling, hus),
weak ones always end in a vowel (drengi, voga, joga).
Another characteristic common to all substantives is gender. As in Faroese,
Icelandic and German, there are three genders in Nynorn:
masculine (M), feminine (F) and neuter (N). The gender of a
substantive is to be checked in the dictionary.
First we introduce the strong substantives and how they form their plural form.
Masculine and feminine nouns add either -ar or -er, while the
neuter nouns stay unchanged. The plural ending in each particular case is as
given in the dictionary. The majority of masculine nouns has
-ar in plural, while -er seems to be more typical for feminine
1. hest 'horse' - hestar 'horses';
2. gest 'guest' - gester 'gests'
1. kerling 'old woman' - kerlingar 'old women';
2. ferd 'journey' - ferder 'journeys'
kast 'chance' - kast 'chances'
Change the following words to plural (the class of the word is given in the
parantheses - e.g., FS2 stands for feminine strong, type 'ferd'):
dag 'day'(MS1), toft 'thwart; ruin'(FS2), fjord
'house'(NS), rug 'heap'(FS1), fisk 'fish'(MS1), sild
'herring'(FS2), rum 'space; room'(NS),
stað 'place'(MS2), mess 'mass'(FS1)
Discuss this lesson on the