The Danish and Norwegian alphabet is based upon the Latin alphabet and has consisted of the following 29 letters since 1955 (Norwegian since 1917):
This article is part of the series on: Danish language
Use: Alphabet Phonology Grammar
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(Listen to a Danish speaker recite the alphabet in Danish.)
The letters c, q, w, x and z are only used in loanwords. Some also spell their otherwise Scandinavian family names using these letters.
The letter Å (HTML å) was introduced in Norwegian in 1917, replacing Aa. Similarly, the letter Å was introduced in Danish in 1948, but the final decision on its place in the alphabet was not made. The initial proposal was to place it first, before A. Its place as the last letter of the alphabet, as in Norwegian, was decided in 1955. The former digraph Aa still occurs in names and old documents and is still the correct transliteration, if the letter is not available for technical reasons. Aa is treated like Å in alphabetical sorting, not like two adjacent letters A. This rule does not apply to non-Scandinavian names, so a modern dictionary would list the German city of Aachen under A but list the Danish town of Aabenraa under Å.
The difference between the Dano-Norwegian and the Swedish alphabet is that Swedish uses the variant Ä instead of Æ (HTML Æ), and the variant Ö instead of Ø (HTML Ø) — similar to German. Also, the collating order for these three characters is different: Å, Ä, Ö. Some scholars have argued that Ä/Æ and Ö/Ø are mere glyph variants of the same letters and should thus be encoded the same.
In current Danish and Norwegian, W is recognized as a separate letter from V. In Danish, the transition was made in 1980; before that, the W was merely considered to be a variation of the letter V and words using it were alphabetized accordingly (e.g.: "Wales, Vallø, Washington, Wedellsborg, Vendsyssel"). A common Danish children's song about the alphabet still states that the alphabet has 28 letters; the last line reads otte-og-tyve skal der stå, i.e. "that makes twenty-eight". However, today the letter "w" is considered an official letter.