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Perhaps one of the hardest concepts to master in the Norwegian language is intonation. Besides varying slightly between regional and dialects, Norwegian intonation isn't subject to any official standard, and students may be expected to intuitively pick it up.

In general, most two-syllable words will have either of two tones, which are influenced by Old Norse and differ according to dialect, whereas longer words, for instance loan words or compound words, may have simpler intonation. Like in many other languages, certain sentence structures, such as question sentences, can cause rises and falls in pitch.

For various reasons, correct intonation isn't a necessity to be understood in Norwegian. Certain words can be confused, though, such as the common examples "bønder" and "bønner".

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