Norwegian numbers have been influenced by Danish, English and German. Their origins make them break logical rules and therefore the first 20 numbers need to be learnt by heart.

 

 

en

 

/ehn/

one

 

 

to

 

/tooh/

two

 

 

tre

 

/trreh/

three

 

 

fire

 

/feeh-rreh/

four

 

 

fem

 

/fehm/

five

 

 

seks

 

/seh-ks/

six

 

 

sju or syv

 

/sh-oo/ /s-ew-v/

seven

 

 

åtte

 

/awt-teh/

eight

 

 

ni

 

/nee/

nine

 

 

ti

 

/tee/

ten

 

 

elleve

 

/ehl-veh/

eleven

 

 

tolv

 

/tohl/

twelve

 

 

tretten

 

/treht-t’n/

thirteen

 

 

fjorten

 

/f-yohrr-t’n/

fourteen

 

 

femten

 

/fehm-t’n/

fifteen

 

 

seksten

 

/sai-s’n/

sixteen

 

 

sytten

 

/s-ewt-t’n/

seventeen

 

 

atten

 

/ah-t’n/

eighteen

 

 

nitten

/nee-t’n/

nineteen

tjue

/tsh-oo-eh/

twenty

 

en
The first number is very versatile as it doesn’t just represent a number but also two words – ‘a’ as in ‘a book’ and ‘an’ as in ‘an apple’.  Because the words ‘a’ and ‘an’ are articles (words that describe a non-specific noun) in Norwegian they are effected by the gender of the noun.  Refer to the lesson Gender.

tre
This word has two meanings – the number three and tree/wood.

fire
This word has two meanings – the number four and the action ‘to lower’.  The ‘four’ numbers (4, 14, 40) in Norwegian change vowel sound – fire, fjorten, førti.

sju
This word has the digraph ‘sj’ creating a /sh/ sound.  Number seven can also be called ‘syv’ in certain dialects and also in biblical texts such as the Bible.  The word’s origin is Danish.

ti
This word has two meanings – the number ten and the ‘shh’ as in ‘silence!’

elleve
The word seems to have three syllables, however, it is pronounced with only two – the first and the third.  It is likely that this came about because the word was said so fast that the middle syllable was naturally dropped.

tolv
The Vv is silent.

tretten
All the teens are written with the suffix -ten however it is spoken -t’n for speed.  (It is also the name of a place in Norway.)

fjorten
It is likely that this 4 word is from the German viertzen.

seksten
This word is from Danish and sounds very different to the way it is spelt.  It would be better spelt seisen as the first vowel has an /ei/ sound and the Kk does not create the /x/ sound of the diagraph ks – just the Ss is pronounced.

sytten
This word doesn’t take after the regular seven, sju, but the other seven, syv.  (See sju above.)  Therefore it has a Danish origin.

atten
This word has a different vowel sound (ah) from the number eight, åtte (aw).  This word is likely from the German achtzehn.

tjue
Another word for 20 is tyve and if a dialect version.  Both words are likely to be influenced by the English twenty.