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Norwegian words of more than one syllable are pronounced with one of two possible pitch contours which are known as the Single Tone or Tone 1 and the Double Tone or Tone 2.

It is the same situation in Swedish, although it should be noted that Tones 1 and 2 have different pitch contours in Swedish.

Tone 1

  • Used for all words of one syllable and most of those ending in -el, -en and -er.
  • The plurals of nouns with root vowel change e.g. bok -> b øker and the present tense of strong verbs e.g. kommer take Tone 1.
  • Di- or polysyllabic words of foreign origin with stress on syllables other than the first most often have Tone 1

It starts rather low and rises towards the end of the word, e.g. ånden 'the spirit'.

Tone 2

  • Used for many words of two or more syllables.
  • Noun and adjective plurals as well as most verb forms tend to have Tone 2.

It starts higher than Tone 1, dips and then rises to a higher pitch than where it began, e.g.:
ånden 'the breath'

Exceptions