Trøndersk: Central Norwegian dialect

Introducing Trøndersk, a Norwegian dialect spoken in Trondheim and much of central Norway.

Imagine a scenario. I have spent countless hours learning Norwegian in Oslo. You are (almost) understanding the news broadcast and are very proud to be able to chat with the barista while waiting for your morning coffee.

People walking on an old bridge in Trondheim, Norway.

Then sit down for a few hours on the northbound train and the encounter with a stranger shatters your already swaying self-confidence. Learn Norwegian..

What people say vaguely sounds like words, but often it looks like a series of vowels sung to some abstract song.

Welcome to your first contact with Trøndersk: Dialect Trondheim And the surrounding area. It may seem daunting at first, mainly because it is, but we hope our little guide will help you get rid of a bit of confusion.

What is a dialect?

Dialects are the regional diversity of languages ​​that are distinguished by features such as vocabulary, pronunciation, and grammar. The line between dialect and language is ambiguous.

Authentic languages ​​often begin as dialects of regions that are promoted for geographical and practical reasons.

French is one example. In the 17th and 18th centuries, the French version of Paris became the “official” version, and other variations were considered inferior and shameful.

Aerial view of St. Olav Hospital in central Trondheim, NorwayAerial view of St. Olav Hospital in central Trondheim, Norway
St. Olav Hospital in Trondheim. With the city center in the background.

In Norway, dialects are not shameful. On the contrary, they are often a source of pride, and it is common for people to retain the local dialect for years after leaving the area where it is commonly spoken.

How does Trøndersk sound?

Trøndersk sounds quite different from the Norwegian spoken in Oslo. It’s actually so different that a keen listener who knows nothing about Norwegian can hear the difference.

There are three differences between this: tonality, vowels, and palatalization.

Norwegian and Trøndersk tonality

For native English speakers, Norwegian sounds strangely melodic as a whole. Norwegian speakers use unusual sound patterns when you’ve never heard of them before.

People who speak Trøndersk have adopted even more unique timbre patterns. It’s very difficult to explain, so here’s the video.

This clip was used in a humor show as an example of a confusing dialect, so it has applause and laughter. But that is a very good example of the strange song used in Norwegian, and even more so in Trøndersk.

Note that Norwegian is not a tonal language (such as Mandarin or Vietnamese), but it falls into similar but different categories. Pitch-accent language..

Vowels of Trøndersk

Disclaimer: I’m pretty oversimplified. But people who speak Trøndersk sound like they use more vowels.

For those who are not fluent in the language and are listening to the people who speak it, the “standard” Norwegian is a balance of consonants and vowels. “Flows” like Japanese people.

However, Trøndersk can sound like a series of vowels. There are several reasons for this.

First, many words used in Trøndersk have fewer consonants than their equivalents in Østlandsk (Oslo). For example, the pronoun “hun” becomes “hu”. The pronoun “henne” (she) is simply “a”. In both cases, the consonants disappear.

The second reason is Apocope disappears.. This is a linguistic term that means that the last vowel or syllable of a word remains unpronounced.

Norwegian Pstereo Music FestivalNorwegian Pstereo Music Festival
The Trondheim Pstereo Music Festival is a good place to hear the story of Trøndersk.

Paradoxically, if you remove the last vowel in a word, the whole word may sound more “vowel”. Take the verb “åkjøpe” as an example (uhshuh-puh). In Trøndersk, people often say “åkjøp” (uhshuuhp).

The last vowel is skipped, giving more length / importance to the only remaining vowel.

Palatalization: How to “moisten” consonants

Palatalization is a linguistic term that means pressing the tongue against the palate when pronouncing a consonant. For example, when you say “n”, the tip of your tongue usually touches the area of ​​the palate just above your teeth.

In palatalization, most of the tongue is pressed against the palate. It has the effect of making you interesting.

For this reason, in Trøndersk, “han” (he) becomes “hañ” (often spelled hanj). The sound is similar to jalapeno ñ-assuming the word is pronounced in the proper Spanish way.

Trøndersk vocabulary

In addition to pronunciation and tonal habits, Trøndersk has its own vocabulary and sounds different. This is especially problematic for foreign speakers. Because they don’t know many of the commonly used words.

Often, when a dialect uses a completely different word, it is a very commonly used word, such as “I”, “girl”, “how”, “tired”. This applies not only to Trøndersk, but to all Norwegian dialects.

The advantage of this is that learning the 100 most common words in a particular dialect will greatly help reduce noise and deepen your understanding.

Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim in winter.Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim in winter.
Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim in winter.

More complex terms such as “philosophy,” “contemporary art,” and “metaphysics” can be exactly the same regardless of dialect.

Example of Trøndersk vocabulary

Here are some examples of these common words that are completely different in Trøndersk.

Trøndersk Bokmål English
æ Jeg Me
veitj Gente girl
koss / kossen hvordan how
klar Slit / trot tired
mytji My E Lots / Lots

The pronoun “I” helps identify which dialect a person is speaking. In Trøndersk it is usually “æ”. Vowels are notoriously difficult to pronounce, but “æ” is said to resemble the “a” sound of “sad.”

“Veitj” is another word that can be very confusing as it is very different from the Bokmål word. However, not everyone who considers themselves speaking Trøndersk uses it. Some use “jente”, but as mentioned above, “n” is palatalized.

“How” is another word that varies greatly from dialect to dialect. In Trøndersk, it is often “koss” or “kossen”.

“Klar”, confusingly, also exists in Bokmål, but means something completely different: “ready.” When I suppressed yawning due to jet lag at the wedding ceremony, I was asked “Er du klar?” And answered “Klar tilhva?” To myself who did not know Trøndersk. (What are you ready for?).

Mytji, which I don’t even try to explain pronunciation, means “many” or “many” and is one example of blurring the boundaries between anomalous pronunciation and different vocabulary.

There are multiple Trøndersk

Make it clear before your inbox is full. The above list is not written in stone. Not everyone who sees himself when speaking Trøndersk uses the above words.

Some use more ambiguous ones, while others use the equivalent of Bokmål. Languages ​​are fluid and evolving, and the dialects people speak depend on their background, such as where they came from, where they currently live, and how old they are.

How to understand Trøndersk

Now that we know a little more about Trøndersk, here are some tips to help you better understand it.

Open your heart

Some of the different dialect-specific words are completely different, as described above, but some are pronounced slightly differently. If you open your mind to accept the difference in pronunciation, you can do a lot for free.

NTNU University in Trondheim, NorwayNTNU University in Trondheim, Norway
NTNU, Trondheim.

The Bokmål word “gulv” for floors is often “gølv” in Trøndersk. In Trøndersk, some words with an “i” suddenly have an “e”. Considering vowels to be largely interchangeable helps you understand the meaning of words that look completely unknown when you first hear them.

Learn the most common words

There are about 12 ways to say “how” in the Norwegian dialect, but unfortunately the solution as a non-native speaker is to learn them. If you are only focusing on Trøndersk, it is enough to know both “hvordan” and “koss / kossen”.

Similarly, you need to learn other very commonly used ones.Here, the book Introducing the Norwegian dialect It’s irreplaceable.

It provides a very useful introduction to a large family of Norwegian dialects, along with a list of words and details of their pronunciation peculiarities. It is relatively easy to read and is not recommended for those who are interested.

ask a question

Learning a language is closely related to accepting that you sometimes sound stupid. Some of them mean making mistakes, and others mean asking people about the word they just used that you didn’t understand.

No matter how good you are at finding information or learning new words and pronunciation rules, you are guaranteed to come across words that you have forgotten or never encountered. Fortunately, Norwegians are most willing to help. They are usually pleased to see someone interested in their dialect.

Tell me what you are thinking

Do you know someone who speaks Trøndersk? Been to Trondheim or Trondheim Raga Area? What do you think about the dialect? Let us know in the comments! Trøndersk: Central Norwegian dialect

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