Norwegian: Pronunciation of letter L mid-word

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New Member
It seems to me that the letter L mid-word often sounds more like an R, specifically the tapped (alveolar) R. For example, in "Kan jeg få betale", the word "betale" sounds more like "betare" to me. It happens with a lot of words, at least in some peoples' pronunciation of it. I think there are also people who don't pronounce it like this. Is this a regional/dialectical difference? I know there is no official standard of Norwegian, but do you have a recommendation about whether to use it?
  • raumar

    Senior Member
    The L in "betale" is not an R -- it is a so-called "tjukk L" ("thick L"). I think its official name is "retroflex flap".

    It is indeed a regional difference. The "thick L" is used in Eastern Norway (but not in the sociolect of Western Oslo), Middle Norway (Trøndelag) and some parts of Northern Norway. The "thick L" is not used in areas with "skarre-R" (uvular). These sounds are difficult to combine.

    Even though I use this pronunciation myself, I would not recommend you to use it. First, it may be difficult lo learn to pronounce this sound. The "thick L" is not much used in European languages (but you will find it in some South Asian languages). Second, it may be difficult to learn when (in which words) to use it.

    I should mention that you will find a more R-like sound in, for example, "betalt". Here, the "-lt" is often pronounced just like "-rt" in "lurt". Again, there are regional variations.
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