Norwegian: Fartein Valen (composer's name)

davidbund

New Member
English
What is the correct pronunciation of the name 'Fartein Valen'? Valen was a 20th century Norwegian Classical composer.

My native language is English. A phonetic English pronunciation, with examples, would be greatly appreciated.
 
  • henbjo

    Member
    Norwegian
    This is actually a hard one to explain, at least when it comes to my east Norwegian dialect (I am from Oslo). I'll try my best. ;)

    The -rt part of the first name, Fartein, is the trouble maker. The -F is the same as in English. The -a has the same sound as in the english "fart" or "harp", but it is shorter. Now the -rt part; in east Norwegian dialects this becomes what we call a retroflex consonant. Wikipedia explains this phonetic phenomenon more precisely than I do:
    [...] in Swedish and Norwegian (where a sequence of r plus a coronal consonant may be replaced by the coronal's retroflex equivalent, e.g. the name Martin would be pronounced [maʈin].)
    As you may understand this is not very easy to explain with words, but this is how you make the sound: You do as you would when saying the -rn part of english words like "horn", "born", "sworn" etc. Then, keep the tongue in the same position, and simply say t. You will hear that the -t will be a bit "thicker", and have a sort of -rt quality to it.

    The -ein part is pretty straight forward, it's almost like in more commonly known German words like "Stein"/"Steinway and Sons", the name "Klein" etc. The only difference is the -e part of the -ei diphtong. It's pronounced like the Norwegian , a kind of short version of the -a vowel in the english "an", "and", "apple", "Andy" etc.

    "Valen" is not that hard. The only thing is that the -a is not the -ei diphtong that you have in english, but the same as in the english "harp" or "fart".

    Hope that helps! :)
     

    Obil Tu

    Senior Member
    Now the -rt part; You do as you would when saying the -rn part of english words like "horn", "born", "sworn" etc. Then, keep the tongue in the same position, and simply say t. You will hear that the -t will be a bit "thicker", and have a sort of -rt quality to it.
    I think this works best (or only) with an American or an Irish accent, not with a British one.

    Also, note that in Southern and Western Norway you don't have the problem with the retroflex: We simply pronounce the "rt" as two separate consonant sounds, either with a uvular r (like standard German) or an alveolar one (like Italian).
     
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