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  • Writer's picturetorhild

What on earth is a Kaarmand?

The picture above (Courtesy of ) made me laugh out loud the first time I saw it - it describes the daily vocabulary of a Norwegian to a T.

One of the first hurdles someone runs into when starting researching their Scandinavian roots is the language. Though Danish, Norwegian, and Swedish are all Germanic languages and have a lot of similarities, they are independent languages and mainly spoken in their respective countries. (Danish is also spoken in Island and Greenland, and Swedish was the official record language in Finland until late 1800.) Being able to read the old records in their original language can be quite a challenge.

Fortunately, there are many great tools available. Google translate is probably one of the most common ones and works great for single words and simple phrases. But Google doesn’t understand older words and spellings. Hence the need for an actual word list. The following lists found at are useful tools while working on your family history and reading Scandinavian documents.

Just to complicate things further there were no spelling rules back in the day! Hopefully, the following list will help…

aa used for å

b used for p

c used for k

ch used for k

d used for t

e used for ä

e used for æ

f used for v

g used for k

i used for j

j used for g, gj, hj, lj, dj

k used for ck, ch,g, gg, c o for å

q used for k s used for skj, sch, sj, stj, ss, c, z sk used for k, kj, ch t used for q tj used for ki u used for v v seen as hv x used for ks

w used for v

z used for s

ö used for ø å used for o ä used for e

Feel free to contact me should you get stumped on a word or a phrase. I do offer free consultation via phone (435-799-6673) or email (

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