Bergensk is spoken in the city of Bergen in Western Norway. This dialect stands out phonetically due to the pronunciation of /r/ and the kj-sound. It also stands out grammatically, the most striking feature being the lack of the feminine gender.


Chapter 14 in Bergensk

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Chapter 26 in Bergensk

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No trilled R

In the Bergensk dialect the /r/ is pronounced as a uvular /r/ as it is in most parts of Western Norway, as opposed to the rolling pronunciation of Eastern and Northern Norway. Since only dialects with a rolling r-sound can have retroflex sounds (meaning that /rd/, /rl/, /rn/, /rs/ and /rt/ merge to one sound) the Bergensk dialect does not have any of those sounds. Indeed, these letter combinations are pronounced separately, as well as the combination of /sl/ which is commonly pronounced /sh+l/ in Oslo. Everywhere else it is pronounced /s+l/.

Kjære or skjære?

A striking feature of Bergensk is the pronunciation of the kj-sound. In standard Norwegian this letter combination has a distinct pronunciation whereas in Bergensk this sound has merged with the sounds /sj/ or /skj/ and is therefore pronounced /sh/ in all instances. The words “kjøtt”, “kjøpe” and “ikkje” (the Bergensk and Nynorsk form of “ikke”) are pronounced “shøtt,” “shøpe” and “ishe.” This merger is slowly spreading across Norway and is particularly popular with young people.

No female gender

The lack of the feminine gender is a main feature of this dialect. All feminine gender nouns are treated as though they were masculine. So a book is not “ei bok, boka” but “en bok, boken.”