Norwegian: hv at start of word sounds as k?

littlepond

Senior Member
Hindi
Hei! In Episode 7 of the web/TV series "Blank", I notice that words starting with "h" often sound, at least to my ears, as if they were starting with "k". So "hva skjer" sounds like "ka skjer" (at 1:05 here) and "hva er det" sounds like "ka er det" (at 1:16 here). Is it some feature of the pronunciation I have missed so far, or is it indicating some particular region/dialect, or is it simply that my ears are right now out of order? (I also hear their "ikke" as "ishshe"!)

Thanks in advance!
 
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  • Ben Jamin

    Senior Member
    Polish
    Hei! In Episode 7 of the web/TV series "Blank", I notice that words starting with "h" often sound, at least to my ears, as if they were starting with "k". So "hva skjer" sounds like "ka skjer" (at 1:05 here) and "hva er det" sounds like "ka er det" (at 1:16 here). Is it some feature of the pronunciation I have missed so far, or is it indicating some particular region/dialect, or is it simply that my ears are right now out of order? (I also hear their "ikke" as "ishshe"!)

    Thanks in advance!
    Yes, you have heard correct. In many Norwegian dialects "hva" is replaced by "ka", and "ikke" with "ikkje", where the 'kj' digraph is pronounced like 'ch' in German 'ich', (not 'sh'!).
     

    Ben Jamin

    Senior Member
    Polish
    That's right, but the "kj" sound is losing ground in Norwegian. You sometimes hear young people from Western Norway say "isje" instead of "ikkje".
    Isn't "losing ground" a little bit of an overstatement? There is still a large majority of Norwegians that use the 'ch' pronunciation.
     

    littlepond

    Senior Member
    Hindi
    Does the "hv" to "k" thing happen only with "hva-" words? Or can it also happen with words such as "hvorfor" (does it become "korfor"?) or "hver" ("ker?")? Also, are there any particular regions where one is more likely to hear "ka" instead of "hva" and "ikkje" instead of "ikke"?
     

    Ben Jamin

    Senior Member
    Polish

    raumar

    Senior Member
    Norwegian
    Does the "hv" to "k" thing happen only with "hva-" words? Or can it also happen with words such as "hvorfor" (does it become "korfor"?) or "hver" ("ker?")? Also, are there any particular regions where one is more likely to hear "ka" instead of "hva" and "ikkje" instead of "ikke"?

    Most of the Bokmål "hv"-words are written with "kv" in Nynorsk, for example "kva". But there is no "kv" -- just "k" -- before "o"; Bokmål "hvor" can be either "kor" or "kvar" in Nynorsk. The spoken dialect does not necessarily match the written version of Norwegian. Many dialects in Nynorsk areas in Western Norway use "kva". But "ka" is used in many areas where most people write Bokmål, such as Northern Norway and Bergen.

    "Ikkje" is also written Nynorsk. But again, there are many regions where most people say "ikkje" (or "itj", as in Trøndelag), but write Bokmål and therefore "ikke".

    Isn't "losing ground" a little bit of an overstatement? There is still a large majority of Norwegians that use the 'ch' pronunciation.

    Yes, that's of course right.
     
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