Differences between Norwegian and Swedish language

Norway, Sweden, and Denmark were all one country at one point. All derived from Old Norse, referred to as the ”Viking Language”. However, we will shift our focus primarily between Swedish and Norwegian. There are many occasions during my commute between Norway and Sweden in which I noticed how very similar the languages are.

Primarily, the interrogative questions words directly translated are:


Var- Hvor-Where





The extra letters writtenly are expressed as:

Norwegian: å, æ, ø

Swedish: å, ä, ö

Norwegian uses expressions of Old Norse starting point which are firmly identified with Swedish. As a result, ‘maybe’ is kanskje in Norwegian and kanske in Swedish, “no” is nei in Norwegian and nej in Swedish. Both Norwegian and Swedish have the delicate ‘k’, so while the Norwegian word for ‘love’, kjærlighet, pronounced closer to the Swedish one kärlek, the ‘k’ in both Norwegian and Swedish is articulated as a ‘sh’ sound.

Swedish Flag (Left) Norwegian Flag (Right)


It is very common for Norwegians to understand Swedish but Swedes usually you have a hard time understanding Norwegians. One has to wonder why is this the case? At an early age, Norwegian kids are often exposed to Swedish children television programs such as Pippi Långstrump and Emil i Lönneberga. These TV shows are not translated to Norwegian their kept in its native Swedish language. Being exposed to Swedish programs at early age has helped bridged the gap between the languages for Norwegians. In addition to, Norway has two official written forms of Norwegian called Bokmål and Nynorsk. With a variety of distinct dialects which can be similar to Swedish or Danish depending on what part of Norway you visit.




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