If you want to pronounce Norse names, Read This

Being the Norse saga lovers, we might be struggling to figure out the right way to pronounce Norse names. Without proper instructions, we might misspell them which leaves us in embarrassment. But it’s not a big deal when we take a close look at the different sources of Norse names. Hel/Hela/Hella, Frigg/Frigga, or Frey/Freyr, etc. might confuse us sometimes. This article is to give you some advice upon How to Pronounce Norse names.

Image of Norse mythology pronounce Norse names
“The Wild Hunt” by Johann Wilhem Cordes

How to pronounce Norse names you might be saying wrong

Odin (The Allfather)

Many people might say this /OH-DIN/. But the right way to pronounce it is /OATH-INN/. Even though Odin is one of the most famous Norse gods, we misspell his name. But that’s not a tragedy though. If we have seen the Eddas or Norse sagas, we might catch sight of “Oðinn”. However, the material we expose to seems to neglect this detail, changing the name into “Odin”. So it’s reasonable why you are misspelling it. It is not “D” and obviously never sounds like “D”. The letter existed in Icelandic not in Modern English. The sound it makes is /TH/ like “This” or “That”. So English name “Odin” is “Oðinn” pronounced /OATH-INN/.

Hod (Odin’s son)

Another word mispronounced because of the change in writing the word. Many people might pronounce this word simply /HOD/ like “sod”. But it actually sounds /HOTH-ER/. A little bit like Odin, right? Or else, you can pronounce “TH” sound like the way you pronounce “brother”. Old Norse word is “Höðr”. But the strange “ö” might confuse us so we decide to make it “Hod” resulting in the mispronunciation. Instruction: “ö” can be pronounced like “caught”.

Njord (Seafaring God)

The common way of saying this is /KNEE-OH-ERG/. And that’s a wrong way to pronounce the word. Right way is /NYOR-THR/. Njord might be the most commonly mispronounced Norse name. Poor Njord! The way to write the name in Old Norse is “Njörðr”

Skadi (Ice giantess)

The mispronounced sound is still “D”. Many pronounce “Skadi” as /SKAH-DEE/. But in fact, it is /SKA-THEE/. It is “Skaði” in Old Norse though.

Æsir (Norse god tribe)

The way people say this word is commonly /AY-SEAR/. That’s wrong, too. How it actually sounds is /AH-SEAR/ or /ASS-SEAR/. In Old Norse, the “Æ” sounds like /A/ in “cAt”, resulting in the pronunciation /ASS-EAR/ or /AH-SEAR/

2 Replies to “If you want to pronounce Norse names, Read This”

  1. Philip Jonkers says:

    Hello, how do you pronounce Ivar, as in Ivar the Boneless?
    Thanks for your compilation.


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