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The Magic Behind ÆØÅ

Hei alle sammen! (Hi, everyone!)

If you live in Norway or read anything in Norwegian, then you've probably noticed that we have a few extra funny little vowels. The Norwegian alphabet is actually 10% larger than the English one, and we owe it all to our fantastic friends: ÆØÅ. These three unique characters add that extra Nordic flair to our written language, making it stand out from the rest.

Now, time for a quick history lesson!

Did you know that runes are the oldest alphabet used in Norway? The Vikings were the ones who first dabbled in these magical signs, which most people couldn't read. They believed that Odin himself brought the runes to humanity, and only the powerful, like kings, nobles, and magicians, could decipher them.

Fast forward to the 9th century, and Christianity made its way to Norway. Runes were eventually replaced by Latin, and that's how the Danish-Norwegian alphabet was born. In this fascinating merge of old and new, we introduced the fantastic trio: ÆØÅ.

  1. Æ was the first to join the party, already a part of the Latin alphabet (remember "cæsar"?). In true Viking fashion, we loved it and decided to keep it for ourselves.

  2. Next up, Ø came into play. Some believe it originates from Old English, and the earliest traces can be found in Danish handwriting around the 12th century.

  3. Lastly, Å made its grand entrance. While a similar sound had been used since the early Viking age, it wasn't officially seen in writing until the 16th century.

I bet you want to know how to use these fun new letters now, don't you?


  • Æ combines A and E. It sounds like the A in “sad”.

  • Ø combines the O and the E and sounds like the U in “turn”.

  • Å started as AA and sounds like the first sound in “awesome”.


Having trouble finding those charming Norwegian letters on your keyboard? While some may suggest using AE for Æ, OE for Ø, and AA for Å, we're here to let you in on a little secret – that's not quite the same thing in Norway. But hey, no worries! We've got some super easy tricks that'll help:

1. On a phone or tablet, simply press and hold the vowel you want to add an accent to, and you'll find your Norwegian letters right there. (You might need to download Norwegian as a language first.)

2. On a Mac, it's a piece of cake:

  • æ + Option Q

  • Æ + Option + Shift Q

  • ø + Option O

  • Ø + Option + Shift O

  • å + Option A

  • Å + Option + Shift A

3. On a PC, hold down the Alt button and type the 4-digit number below:

  • æ Alt+0230

  • Æ Alt+0198

  • ø Alt+0248

  • Ø Alt+0216

  • å Alt+0229

  • Å Alt+0197

So, there you have it, a little more info behind our charming extra letters! Go ahead and impress your friends with your use of ÆØÅ! 🎉

There is so much more to explore in the world of Norwegian and we're here to guide you every step of the way. If you have questions or want to learn more, give us a shout! We're happy to help make your language journey smooth, enjoyable, and filled with little delightful discoveries.

If you're interested in going from beginner to conversationally fluent quickly, consider our A1-B2 package deal for just 1680 per month. We'll have you speaking Norwegian in no time! Let’s go!

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Big Fat Toast
Big Fat Toast
Nov 19, 2023

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