Norwegian 'kj' pronunciation


New Member
English - England

How is the letter combination of 'kj' in a word pronounced? For example, in the name 'Kjell' and the words 'kjære', 'kjole', 'kjøpe', 'kjøkken', etc. Is it different for different words, and is it the same for every Norwegian dialect?
I am a beginner in Norwegian so I'm still stuck on these simple-seeming things! I've read quite a few things online about the pronunciation, but for some reason can't find anything about the 'kj' combination.
  • Magb

    Senior Member
    Norway, Norwegian
    The standard pronunciation in south-eastern Norwegian (the Oslo area) is [ç], a voiceless palatal fricative. That's the same sound as the German "ich-laut", and it's about the same sound as the first consonant sound in English words like "human". Another way to think of it is as the voiceless counterpart of the first consonant in the word "yes".

    In other parts of the country you can find some other pronunciations, including [tʃ] (the sound of the first and last consonant in "church") and [cç] (a sound quite similar to the previous one). It's also getting very common among young people in some of the bigger cities, especially Oslo, to pronounce "kj" identically to "sj", namely [ʃ] (a "sh" type sound).

    Note also that the "kj" sound is usually used in words spelled <ki> and <ky>, for example in words like kirke "church" and kylling chicken. The only exceptions to this are some loanwords and maybe a few names.