Norwegian Pronunciation Course

Vowel U

To pronounce the sound /u/, you need to round your lips and stick them out. You need to lift the center of the tongue and push it a bit forward. The English sound system doesn’t have an exact equivalent of this sound, but the closest sound can be found in the word “new”.


/o/ and /u/

It is important to distinguish between the sound /o/ and /u/.

When you pronounce /o/ you need to round your lips very closely and the back of the tongue should be lifted.

When you pronounce /u/, you don’t have to round your lips as tightly and you lift the center of your tongue and push it a little forward. Sound /u/ feels more frontal in that sense. Compare:


It is important to pronounce these two sounds correctly because some words will have different meanings. Compare the words “do” (toilet) and “du” (you).

Sound /u/ can also be short and long. Let’s practice long sound /u:/:

Jul (Christmas)

Gul (yellow)

Sur (angry)

Tilbud (offer)

Natur (nature)

Bruke (to use)

Kul (cool)

Now let’s practice short /u/:

Munn (mouth)

Full (full; drunk)

Frukt (fruit)

Gull (gold)

Ull (wool)

Gruppe (group)

U pronounced as /o/

Sometimes we pronounce U as /o/ when it is a short sound. This happens often when U is before -k with other consonant; before -ks, -kk, -ng, -nk or m. This means that you don’t always have to force yourself to pronounce /u/.

Bukser (pants)

Sukker (sugar)

Juks (cheating)

Dum (dumb)

Munk (monk)

Nummer (number)

Tung (heavy)

Note that we also pronounce lunsj with /ø/ sound. See our lesson on how to pronounce /ø/.


1.Mark the word you hear:

2. Listen and repeat the following sentences:

Tor bor i Sunndal.

Skal du på do?

Mor går på en tung tur.

3. Drag and drop the words into the correct boxes:

0 thoughts on “Vowel U”

  1. Cringing a bit on the do versus du test! And I’m sure there are no jokes based on this at the expense of hapless foreigners! If there aren’t, there definitely should be!

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