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Encyclopedia > Old Norse language
Old Norse
norrœnt mál, dǫnsk tunga
Spoken in: Scandinavia, Iceland, Greenland, the Faroes, the British Isles, Vinland, the Volga and places in between
Language extinction: developed into continental Scandinavian languages by the 14th century, but largely survived in Icelandic
Language family: Indo-European
 Germanic
  North Germanic
   Old Norse
Language codes
ISO 639-1: none
ISO 639-2: non
ISO/DIS 639-3: non 
This is the approximate extent of Old Norse and related languages in the early 10th century. The red area is the distribution of the dialect Old West Norse; the orange area is the spread of the dialect Old East Norse. The pink island is Old Gutnish and the green area is the extent of the other Germanic languages with which Old Norse still retained some mutual intelligibility.
 

Old Norse is the Germanic language spoken by the inhabitants of Scandinavia and their overseas settlements during the Viking Age, until about 1300. It evolved from the older Proto-Norse, in the 8th century. Scandinavia is a region in Northern Europe named after the Scandinavian Peninsula. ... The Faroe Islands (Faroese: Føroyar, meaning Sheep Islands) are a group of islands in the north Atlantic Ocean between Scotland and Iceland. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged into British and Irish Isles. ... Vinland was the name given to a part of North America by the Icelandic Norseman Leifur Eiríksson, about the year (AD)1000. ... For other meanings of the word Volga see Volga (disambiguation) Волга Length 3,690 km Elevation of the source 225 m Average discharge  ? m³/s Area watershed 1. ... An extinct language (also called a dead language) is a language which no longer has any native speakers. ... The North Germanic languages make up one of the three branches of the Germanic languages, a sub-family of the Indo-European languages, along with the West Germanic languages (including English, German, and Dutch) and the East Germanic languages (now extinct). ... This 14th-century statue from south India depicts the gods Shiva (on the left) and Uma (on the right). ... Current distribution of Human Language Families Most languages are known to belong to language families. ... The Indo-European languages comprise a family of several hundred languages and dialects [1], including most of the major languages of Europe, as well as many in Southwest Asia, Central Asia and South Asia. ... The North Germanic languages make up one of the three branches of the Germanic languages, a sub-family of the Indo-European languages, along with the West Germanic languages (including English, German, and Dutch) and the East Germanic languages (now extinct). ... ISO 639-1 is the first part of the ISO 639 international-standard language-code family. ... ISO 639-2:1998 Codes for the representation of names of languages — Part 2: Alpha-3 code Twenty-two of the languages have two three-letter codes: a code for bibliographic use (ISO 639-2/B) a code for terminological use (ISO 639-2/T). ... ISO 639-3 is in process of development as an international standard for language codes. ... Download high resolution version (1235x909, 75 KB) File links The following pages link to this file: Old Norse language User:Wiglaf User:Wiglaf/maps ... Download high resolution version (1235x909, 75 KB) File links The following pages link to this file: Old Norse language User:Wiglaf User:Wiglaf/maps ... As a means of recording the passage of time, the 10th century was that century which lasted from 901 to 1000. ... Old Gutnish was the dialect of Old Norse that was spoken on the island of Gotland. ... The Germanic languages form one of the branches of the Indo-European (IE) language family. ... A pair of languages is said to be mutually intelligible if speakers of one language can readily understand the other language. ... The International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) is a system of phonetic notation devised by linguists to accurately and uniquely represent each of the wide variety of sounds (phones or phonemes) used in spoken human language. ... Phonetics (from the Greek word φωνή, phone = sound/voice) is the study of sounds (voice). ... Due to technical limitations, some web browsers may not display some special characters in this article. ... This is a concise version of the International Phonetic Alphabet for English sounds. ... The English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. ... The Germanic languages form one of the branches of the Indo-European (IE) language family. ... Scandinavia is a region in Northern Europe named after the Scandinavian Peninsula. ... The Viking Age is the name of the period between 793 and 1066 AD in Scandinavia and Britain, following the Germanic Iron Age (and the Vendel Age in Sweden). ... Events February 22 - Jubilee of Pope Boniface VIII. March 10 - Wardrobe accounts of King Edward I of Englanddo (aka Edward Longshanks) include a reference to a game called creag being played at the town of Newenden in Kent. ... Proto-Norse, Primitive Norse, Proto-Nordic, Ancient Nordic or Proto-North Germanic was an Indo-European language spoken in Scandinavia that is thought to have evolved from Proto-Germanic between the 1st century BC and the 2nd century, and was spoken until ca 800, when it evolved into the Old... (7th century — 8th century — 9th century — other centuries) Events The Iberian peninsula is taken by Arab and Berber Muslims, thus ending the Visigothic rule, and starting almost 8 centuries of Muslim presence there. ...


Due to the fact that most of the surviving texts are from Medieval Icelandic, the de facto standard version of the language is the Old West Norse dialect, that is Old Icelandic and Old Norwegian. Sometimes, Old Norse is defined as Old Icelandic and Old Norwegian. However, there was also a very similar Old East Norse dialect that was spoken in Denmark and Sweden and their settlements. There was no clear geographical separation between the two dialects. Old East Norse traits were found in eastern Norway and Old West Norse traits were found in western Sweden. In addition, there was also an Old Gutnish dialect, sometimes included in Old East Norse due to it being the least known dialect. Until the 13th century the three dialects were considered by their speakers to be one and the same language, and they called it dansk tunga (in the eastern dialect) or dǫnsk tunga (in the western dialect). This autonym translates as "Danish tongue". It was also called norrœnt mál ("norse language"). West Norse is also called Old Icelandic or Old Norwegian. ... Old Gutnish was the dialect of Old Norse that was spoken on the island of Gotland. ... (12th century - 13th century - 14th century - other centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 13th century was that century which lasted from 1201 to 1300. ...


Old Norse was mutually intelligible with Old English, Old Saxon and Old Low Franconian. It gradually evolved into the modern North Germanic languages: Icelandic, Faroese, Norwegian, Danish and Swedish. Old English (also called Anglo-Saxon) is an early form of the English language that was spoken in parts of what is now England and southern Scotland between the mid-fifth century and the mid-twelfth century. ... Old Saxon, also known as Old Low German, is a Germanic language. ... Old Low Franconian is the language ancestral to the Low Franconian languages, including Dutch. ... The North Germanic languages make up one of the three branches of the Germanic languages, a sub-family of the Indo-European languages, along with the West Germanic languages (including English, German, and Dutch) and the East Germanic languages (now extinct). ...


Modern Icelandic is the descendant that has diverged the least from Old Norse. In its normalised written form, Old Norse is understandable to modern day Icelandic-speakers. However, pronunciation, particularly of the vowel phonemes, has changed at least as much as other North Germanic languages. Faroese retains many similarities but is influenced by Danish, Norwegian, and Gaelic (Scots and/or Irish). Although Swedish, Danish and the Norwegian languages have diverged the most, they still retain mutual intelligibility. This could be because these languages have been mutually affected by each other, as well as having a similar development influenced by Middle Saxon. It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Middle Low German. ...

Contents


Geographical distribution

Old Icelandic was essentially identical to Old Norwegian and together they formed the Old West Norse dialect of Old Norse. The Old East Norse dialect was spoken in Denmark and Sweden and settlements in Russia, England and Normandy. The Old Gutnish dialect was spoken in Gotland and in various settlements in the East. In the 11th century, it was the most widely spoken European language ranging from Vinland in the West to the Volga in the East. In Russia it survived longest in Novgorod but died out in the 13th century. West Norse is also called Old Icelandic or Old Norwegian. ... Royal motto (French): Dieu et mon droit (Translated: God and my right) Englands location (dark green) within the United Kingdom (light green), with the Republic of Ireland (blue) to its west Languages English Capital London Largest city London Area – Total Ranked 1st UK 130,395 km² Population –mid-2004... Mont Saint Michel, one of the famous symbols of Normandy. ... Old Gutnish was the dialect of Old Norse that was spoken on the island of Gotland. ... ▶ (help· info) is the largest island in the Baltic Sea with a size of 2,994 km². It is also the largest island belonging to Sweden. ... As a means of recording the passage of time, the 11th century was that century which lasted from 1001 to 1100. ... Vinland was the name given to a part of North America by the Icelandic Norseman Leifur Eiríksson, about the year (AD)1000. ... The Volga river in Western Russia, Europes longest river, with a length of 3,690 km (2,293 miles), provides the core of the largest river system in Europe. ... Velikiy Novgorod (Russian: ) is the foremost historic city of North-Western Russia, situated on the M10(E95) federal highway connecting Moscow and St. ... (12th century - 13th century - 14th century - other centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 13th century was that century which lasted from 1201 to 1300. ...


Modern descendants

Its modern descendants are the West Scandinavian languages of Icelandic, Faroese, Norwegian and the extinct Norn language of the Orkney and the Shetland Islands as well as the East Scandinavian languages of Danish and Swedish. Norwegian has decended from West Norse (West Scandinavian), but over the centuries it has been heavily influenced by East Norse (East Scandinavian). Norn is an extinct North Germanic language that was spoken on the Shetland Islands and Orkney Islands, off the coast of Scotland. ... The Orkney Islands form one of 32 unitary council regions in Scotland, and are a Lieutenancy Area. ... The Shetland Islands, also called Shetland (archaically spelled Zetland) formerly called Hjaltland, comprise one of 32 council areas of Scotland. ...


Among these, Icelandic and the closely related Faroese have changed the least from Old Norse in the last thousand years, although with Danish rule of the Faroe Islands Faroese has also been influenced by Danish. Old Norse also had an influence on English dialects and particularly Lowland Scots which contains many Old Norse loanwords. It also influenced the development of the Norman language. The English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. ... Scots is an Anglic variety spoken in Scotland, where it is sometimes called Lowland Scots to distinguish it from Scottish Gaelic spoken by some in the Highlands and Islands (especially the Hebrides). ... A loanword is a word directly taken into one language from another with little or no translation. ... The Norman language is a Romance language, one of the Oïl languages. ...


Various other languages, which are not closely related, have been heavily influenced by Norse, particularly the Norman dialects and Scottish Gaelic. Russian and Finnish also have a number of Norse loanwords; The words "Rus" and "Russia", according to one theory, may be derivatives from "Rus", the name of a Norse tribe (see Etymology of Rus and derivatives). Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig) is a member of the Goidelic branch of Celtic languages. ... Rus’ (Русь, ) was a medieval East Slavic nation, which, according to the most popular but by no means the only theory, took its name from its ruling warrior class with Scandinavian roots. ... Originally Rus (Русь, Rus’) was a medieval country and state that comprised mostly Early East Slavs. ...


Phonology

Vowels

The vowel phonemes mostly come in pairs of long and short. The orthography marks the long vowels with an acute accent. All phonemes have, more or less, the expected phonetic realization.

Vowels of Old Norse
  Front vowels Back vowels
Unrounded Rounded
Close i y u
Mid ɛ œ øː o
Mid-open         ɔ ɔː
Open æ æː     ɒ ɒː

Consonants

Old Norse has six stop phonemes. Of these /p/ is rare word-initially and /d/ and /b/ do not occur between vowels, because of the fricative allophones of the Proto-Germanic Language (e.g. *b *[β] > v between vowels). The /g/ phoneme is realized as a voiced velar fricative [ɣ] inside words and wordfinally, except when it is geminated. Listen to this article · (info) This audio file was created from the revision dated 2005-07-20, and does not reflect subsequent edits to the article. ...

  Labial Den­tal Al­veo­lar Pa­la­tal Ve­lar Glot­tal
Stop p b t d k ɡ
Nasal    m    n
Fricative f θ ð s (x) h
Approx­imant    w    j
Liquid r l

The velar fricative [x] is an allophone of /h/ pronounced in the combinations hv [xw], hl [xl], hr [xɾ] and hn [xn] in words like hvat "what", hlaupa "run", hringr "ring", hnakki "neck".


Orthography

The standardized Old Norse spelling was created in the 19th century, and is for the most part phonemic. The most notable deviation is that the non-phonemic difference between the voiced and the unvoiced dental fricatives is marked. As mentioned above, long vowels are denoted with acutes. Most other letters are written with the same glyph as the IPA phoneme, except as shown in the table below.

Orthography of characters not using IPA glyphs
IPA Standard Alternative
ɔ ǫ ö
æː æ
œ ø ö
øː œ ǿ
θ þ
w v

Grammar

Old Norse was a highly inflected language. Most of the grammatical complexity is retained in modern Icelandic, whereas modern Norwegian has a much simplified grammatical system. Inflection or inflexion refers to a modification or marking of a word (or more precisely lexeme) so that it reflects grammatical (i. ...


Old Norse nouns could have three grammatical genders - masculine, feminine or neutral. Nouns, adjectives and pronouns were declined in four grammatical cases - nominative, genitive, dative and accusative, in singular and plural. There were several classes of nouns within each gender, the following is an example of some typical inflectional paradigms: A noun, or noun substantive, is a part of speech (a word or phrase) which can co-occur with (in)definite articles and attributive adjectives, and function as the head of a noun phrase. ... It has been suggested that natural gender be merged into this article or section. ... An adjective is a part of speech which modifies a noun, usually describing it or making its meaning more specific. ... In linguistics and grammar, a pronoun is a pro-form that substitutes for a noun phrase. ... In linguistics, declension is a paradigm of inflected nouns. ... The nominative case is a grammatical case for a noun, which generally marks the subject of a verb, as opposed to its object or other verb arguments. ... The genitive case is a grammatical case that indicates a relationship, primarily one of possession, between the noun in the genitive case and another noun. ... The dative case is a grammatical case generally used to indicate the noun to whom something is given. ... The accusative case of a noun is the grammatical case used to mark the direct object of a verb. ... Look up Plural in Wiktionary, the free dictionary Plural is a grammatical number, typically referring to more than one of the referent in the real world. ... An inflectional paradigm is a table illustrating the forms of an inflected word. ...


The masculine noun armr (English arm):

Singular Plural
Nominative armr armar
Genitive arms arma
Dative armi ǫrmum
Accusative arm arma

The feminine noun hǫll (English hall):

Singular Plural
Nominative hǫll hallir
Genitive hallar halla
Dative hǫllu hǫllum
Accusative hǫll hallir

The neuter noun troll (English troll):

Singular Plural
Nominative troll troll
Genitive trolls trolla
Dative trolli trollum
Accusative troll troll

The definite article was expressed as a suffix, e.g. troll (a troll) - trollit (the troll), hǫll ( a hall) - hǫllin (the hall), armr (an arm) - armrinn (the arm).


Verbs were conjugated in person and number, in present and past tense, in indicative, imperative and subjunctive mood. In linguistics, conjugation is the creation of derived forms of a verb from its principal parts by inflection (regular alteration according to rules of grammar). ... // Introduction The subjunctive mood (sometimes referred to as the conjunctive mood) is a grammatical mood of the verb that expresses wishes, commands (in subordinate clauses), emotion, possibility, judgment, necessity and statements that are contrary to fact. ... In linguistics, many grammars have the concept of grammatical mood, which describes the relationship of a verb with reality and intent. ...


Texts

The earliest inscriptions in Old Norse are runic, from the 8th century. Runes continued to be commonly used until the 15th century. With the conversion to Christianity in the 11th century came the Latin alphabet. The oldest preserved texts in Old Norse in the Latin alphabet date from the middle of the 12th century. Subsequently, Old Norse became the vehicle of a large and varied body of vernacular literature, unique in medieval Europe. Most of the surviving literature was written in Iceland. Best known are the Norse sagas, the Icelanders' sagas and the mythological literature, but there also survives a large body of religious literature, translations into Old Norse of courtly romances, classical mythology, the Old Testament, as well as instructional material, grammatical treatises and a large body of letters and official documents. Younger Futhark inscription on the Vaksala Runestone The Runic alphabets are a set of related alphabets using letters known as runes, formerly used to write Germanic languages, mainly in Scandinavia and the British Isles, but before Christianization also on the European Continent. ... (7th century — 8th century — 9th century — other centuries) Events The Iberian peninsula is taken by Arab and Berber Muslims, thus ending the Visigothic rule, and starting almost 8 centuries of Muslim presence there. ... The Latin alphabet, also called the Roman alphabet, is the most widely used alphabetic writing system in the world today. ... The vernacular is the native language of a country or locality. ... The Norse sagas or Viking sagas (from Icelandic saga, plural sögur), are stories about ancient Scandinavian and Germanic history, about early Viking voyages, about migration to Iceland, and of feuds between Icelandic families. ... The Icelanders sagas (Icelandic: Íslendingasögur) or family sagas are prose histories describing mostly events that took place in Iceland during the Age of Settlement (870-930) and the following century. ... The courtly romance or roman courteois was a genre of aristocratic entertainment in narrative verse popular in the Middle ages. ...


Relationship to English

Old English and old Norse were closely related languages, and it is therefore not surprising that many words in old Norse look familiar to English speakers, e.g. armr (arm), fótr (foot), land (land), fullr (full), hanga (to hang), standa (to stand), etc. This is because both English and old Norse date back to old Germanic. In addition, a large number of old Norse words were borrowed into the old English language during the Viking age, becoming loanwords. Examples of old Norse loanwords in modern English are multiple, and include knife, window, bag and they. A loanword is a word directly taken into one language from another with little or no translation. ...


Dialects

As Proto-Norse evolved into Old Norse, in the 8th century, the effects of the umlauts varied geographically. The typical umlauts (for example fylla from *fullian) were stronger in the West whereas those resulting in diaeresis (for example hiarta from herto) were more influential in the East. This difference was the main reason behind the dialectalization that took place in the 9th and 10th centuries shaping an Old West Norse dialect in Norway and the Atlantic settlements and an Old East Norse dialect in Denmark and Sweden. (7th century — 8th century — 9th century — other centuries) Events The Iberian peninsula is taken by Arab and Berber Muslims, thus ending the Visigothic rule, and starting almost 8 centuries of Muslim presence there. ... In linguistics the term Umlaut is used in a variety of closely related ways, some narrower, some broader. ... In linguistics, a, diaeresis, or dieresis (AE) (from Greek (diaerein), to divide) is the modification of a syllable by distinctly pronouncing one of its vowels. ... As a means of recording the passage of time the 9th century was that century that lasted from 801 to 900. ... As a means of recording the passage of time, the 10th century was that century which lasted from 901 to 1000. ...


A second difference was that Old West Norse lost certain combinations of consonants. The combinations -mp-, -nt-, and -nk- were assimilated into -pp-, -tt- and -kk- in Old West Norse, but this phenomenon was limited in Old East Norse.

English Old West Norse Old East Norse
mushroom
precipice
widow
sopp
bratt
ekkia
svamp
brant
ænkia

However, these differences were an exception. The dialects were very similar and considered to be the same language, a language that they sometimes called the Danish tongue (dǫnsk tunga), sometimes Norse language (norrœnt mál), as evidenced in the following two quotes from Heimskringla by Snorri Sturluson: Heimskringla is the Old Norse name of a collection of sagas recorded in Iceland around 1225 by the poet and historian Snorri Sturluson (1179-1242). ... Snorri Sturluson (1178 – September 23, 1241) was an Icelandic historian, poet and politician. ...


Móðir Dyggva var Drótt, dóttir Danps konungs, sonar Rígs er fyrstr var konungr kallaðr á danska tungu.[1] Dyggve's mother was Drott, the daughter of king Danp, Ríg's son, who was the first to be called king in the Danish tongue. Dygvi, Dyggve or Digne was a Swedish king of the House of Ynglings. ... Drott, Drótt or Dróttin was a Scandinavian kingly and priestly title corresponding to prince in a wide sense. ... Ríg is the name applied to a god described as old and wise, mighty and strong in the eddic poem Rígthula (Old Norse Rígþula ) Song of Ríg. He wandered through the world and brought into being (apparently by fathering them) the progenitors of the three...


...stirt var honum norrœnt mál, ok kylfdi mjǫk til orðanna, ok hǫfðu margir menn þat mjǫk at spotti.[2] ...the Norse language was hard for him, and he often fumbled for words, which amused people greatly.


Here is a comparison between the two dialects. It is a transcription from one of the Funbo Runestones (U990) meaning : Veðr and Thane and Gunnar raised this stone after Haursa, their father. God help his spirit: The U937 runestone in the park of Uppsala university featuring a triquetra The Funbo runestones constitute a group of four remaining runestones, from Funbo in the Swedish province of Uppland, and which were raised by members of the same family, in the 11th century. ...

Veðr ok Þegn ok Gunnarr reistu stein þenna at Haursa, föður sinn. Guð hjalpi ǫnd hans. (OWN)
Veðr ok Þegn ok Gunnarr ræistu stæin þenna at Haursa, faður sinn. Guð hialpi and hans (OEN)

Old West Norse

Most of the innovations that appeared in Old Norse spread evenly through the Old Norse area, but some were geographically limited and created a dialectal difference between Old West Norse and Old East Norse. One difference was that Old West Norse did not take part in the monophthongization which changed æi/ei into e, øy/ey into ø and au into ø. An early difference was that Old West Norse had the forms bu (dwelling), ku (cow) and tru (faith) whereas Old East Norse had bo, ko and tro. Old West Norse was also characterized by u-umlaut, which meant that for example Proto-Norse *tanþu was pronounced tǫnn and not tand as in Old East Norse. Moreoever, there were nasal assimilations as in bekkr from Proto-Norse *bankiaz. In linguistics the term Umlaut is used in a variety of closely related ways, some narrower, some broader. ... Proto-Norse, Primitive Norse, Proto-Nordic, Ancient Nordic or Proto-North Germanic was an Indo-European language spoken in Scandinavia that is thought to have evolved from Proto-Germanic between the 1st century BC and the 2nd century, and was spoken until ca 800, when it evolved into the Old...


The earliest body of text appears in runic inscriptions and in poems composed ca 900 by Tjodolf of Hvin. The earliest manuscripts are from the period 1150-1200 and concern both legal, religious and historical matters. During the 12th and 13th centuries, Trøndelag and Vestlandet were the most important areas of the Norwegian kingdom and they shaped Old West Norse as an archaic language with a rich set of declensions. In the body of text that has come down to us from until ca 1300, Old West Norse had little dialect variation, and Old Icelandic does not diverge much more than the Old Norwegian dialects do from each other. A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z ... Events Persian scientist, Rhazes, distinguished smallpox from measles in the course of his writings. ... Tjodolf of Hvin is considered to have been the original author of Ynglingatal, a poem glorifying the Norwegian petty king Ragnvald, by describing how he was descended from the Swedish kings and the Norse gods. ... Events Åhus, Sweden gains city privileges City of Airdrie, Scotland founded King Sverker I of Sweden is deposed and succeeded by Eric IX of Sweden. ... Events University of Paris receives charter from Philip II of France The Kanem-Bornu Empire was established in northern Africa around the year 1200 Mongol victory over Northern China — 30,000,000 killed Births Al-Abhari, Persian philosopher and mathematician (died 1265) Ulrich von Liechtenstein, German nobleman and poet (died... (11th century - 12th century - 13th century - other centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 12th century was that century which lasted from 1101 to 1200. ... (12th century - 13th century - 14th century - other centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 13th century was that century which lasted from 1201 to 1300. ... Trøndelag is the name of a geographical region in the middle of Norway, consisting of the two counties Nord-Trøndelag and Sør-Trøndelag. ... Vestlandet is the region along the Atlantic coast of southern Norway. ... Events February 22 - Jubilee of Pope Boniface VIII. March 10 - Wardrobe accounts of King Edward I of Englanddo (aka Edward Longshanks) include a reference to a game called creag being played at the town of Newenden in Kent. ... The Old Icelandic language was the most prominent of the Old Norse languages. ... West Norse is also called Old Icelandic or Old Norwegian. ...


Old Norwegian differentiated early from Old Icelandic by the loss of the consonant h in initial position before l, n and r, thus whereas Old Icelandic manuscripts might use the form hnefi (fist), Old Norwegian manuscripts might use nefi.


From the late 13th century, old Icelandic and old Norwegian started to diverge more. After c. 1350, the Black Death and following social upheavals seem to have accelerated language developments in Norway. From the late 14th century, the language used in Norway is generally referred to as Middle Norwegian. Illustration of the Black Death from the Toggenburg Bible (1411). ...


Text example

The following text is from Egils saga. The manuscript is the oldest known for that saga, the so called θ-fragment from the 13th century. The text clearly shows how little Icelandic has changed structurally. The last version is legitimate Modern Icelandic, although nothing has been altered but the spelling. The text also demonstrates, however, that a modern reader might have difficulties with the unaltered manuscript text, to say nothing of the lettering. Egill Skallagrímsson in a 17th century manuscript of Egils Saga Egils saga is an epic Icelandic saga possibly by Snorri Sturluson (1179-1241 A.D.), who may have written the account between the years 1220 and 1240 A.D. It is an important representative of the sagas and has...

The manuscript text, letter for letter The same text in normalized, Old Norse spelling The same text in Modern Icelandic

ÞgeiR blundr systor s egils v þar aþingino & hafði gengit hart at liþueizlo við þst. h bað egil & þa þstein coma ser t staðfesto ut þangat a myrar h bio aðr fyr suNan huit a fyr neþan blundz vatn Egill toc uel aþui. oc fysti þst at þr leti h þangat fa ra. Egill setti þorgeir blund niðr at ana brecko En stein fǫrði bustað siN ut yf lang á. & settiz niðr at leiro lǫk. En egill reið hei suðr anes ept þingit m flocc siN. & skilðoz þr feðgar m kęrleic

Þorgeirr blundr, systursonr Egils, var þar á þinginu ok hafði gengit hart at liðveizlu við Þorstein. Hann bað Egil ok þá Þorstein koma sér til staðfestu út þangat á Mýrar; hann bjó áðr fyrir sunnan Hvítá, fyrir neðan Blundsvatn. Egill tók vel á því ok fýsti Þorstein, at þeir léti hann þangat fara. Egill setti Þorgeir blund niðr at Ánabrekku, en Steinarr fœrði bústað sinn út yfir Langá ok settisk niðr at Leirulæk. En Egill reið heim suðr á Nes eptir þingit með flokk sinn, ok skildusk þeir feðgar með kærleik.

Þorgeir blundur, systursonur Egils, var þar á þinginu og hafði gengið hart að liðveislu við Þorstein. Hann bað Egil og þá Þorstein að koma sér til staðfestu út þangað á Mýrar; hann bjó áður fyrir sunnan Hvítá, fyrir neðan Blundsvatn. Egill tók vel á því og fýsti Þorstein, að þeir létu hann þangað fara. Egill setti Þorgeir blund niður að Ánabrekku, en Steinar færði bústað sinn út yfir Langá og settist niður að Leirulæk. En Egill reið heim suður á Nes eftir þingið með flokk sinn, og skildust þeir feðgar með kærleik.

Old East Norse

Old East Norse, between 800 and 1100, is in Sweden called Runic Swedish and in Denmark Runic Danish, but the use of Swedish and Danish is not for linguistic reasons. They are called runic due to the fact that the body of text appears in the runic alphabet. Unlike Proto-Norse, which was written with the Elder Futhark, Old Norse was written with the Younger Futhark, which only had 16 letters. Due to the limited number of runes, the rune for the vowel u was also used for the vowels o, ø and y, and the rune for i was used for e. Events December 25, Rome, coronation of Charles the Great (Charlemagne) as emperor by Pope Leo III. Celtic monks begin work on the Book of Kells on the Island of Iona. ... Events William II of England dies in a hunting accident - Henry I becomes King of England King Henry I proclaims the Charter of Liberties, one of the first examples of a constitution. ... Younger Futhark inscription on the Vaksala Runestone The Runic alphabets are a set of related alphabets using letters known as runes, formerly used to write Germanic languages, mainly in Scandinavia and the British Isles, but before Christianization also on the European Continent. ... Proto-Norse, Primitive Norse, Proto-Nordic, Ancient Nordic or Proto-North Germanic was an Indo-European language spoken in Scandinavia that is thought to have evolved from Proto-Germanic between the 1st century BC and the 2nd century, and was spoken until ca 800, when it evolved into the Old... The 24 runes of the Elder Futhark The Elder Futhark (or Elder Fuþark, Older Futhark, Old Futhark) are the oldest form of the runic alphabet, used by Germanic tribes for Proto-Norse and other Migration period Germanic dialects of the 2nd to 8th centuries for inscriptions on artefacts (jewellery... Technical note: Due to technical limitations, some web browsers may not display some special characters in this article. ...


Until the early 12th century, Old East Norse was a uniform dialect. It was in Denmark that the first innovations appeared that would differentiate Old Danish from Old Swedish and these innovations spread north unevenly creating a series of isoglosses going from Zealand to Svealand. (11th century - 12th century - 13th century - other centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 12th century was that century which lasted from 1101 to 1200. ... Old Swedish (Swedish: fornsvenska), general linguistic term for medieval Swedish. ... Isoglosses on the Faroe Islands An isogloss is the geographical boundary of a certain linguistic feature, e. ... Zealand (Danish: Sjælland ) is the largest island of Denmark. ... Svealand Swedens historical four lands. ...


The word final vowels -a, -o and -e started to merge into -e. At the same time, the voiceless stop consonants p, t and k became voiced stops and even fricatives. These innovations resulted in that Danish has kage, bide and gabe whereas Swedish has retained older forms, kaka, bita and gapa. A stop, plosive, or occlusive is a consonant sound produced by stopping the airflow in the vocal tract. ... Note: This page contains phonetic information presented in the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) using Unicode. ...


Moreover, Danish lost the tonal word accent present in modern Swedish and Norwegian, replacing the grave accent with a glottal stop. The glottal stop or voiceless glottal plosive is a type of consonantal sound, used in many spoken languages. ...


Text example

This is an extract from the Westrogothic law (Västgötalagen). It is the oldest text written as a manuscript found in Sweden and from the 13th century. It is contemporaneous with most of the Icelandic literature. The text marks the beginning of Old Swedish. A copy of the Early Westrogothic law from the late 13th century Västgötalagen or the Westrogothic law is the oldest Swedish text written in the Latin script and the oldest law code of the Lands of Sweden. ... (12th century - 13th century - 14th century - other centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 13th century was that century which lasted from 1201 to 1300. ... Old Swedish (Swedish: fornsvenska), general linguistic term for medieval Swedish. ...

Dræpær maþar svænskan man eller smalenskæn, innan konongsrikis man, eigh væstgøskan, bøte firi atta ørtogher ok þrettan markær ok ænga ætar bot. [...] Dræpar maþær danskan man allæ noræn man, bøte niv markum. Dræpær maþær vtlænskan man, eigh ma frid flyia or landi sinu oc j æth hans. Dræpær maþær vtlænskæn prest, bøte sva mykit firi sum hærlænskan man. Præstær skal i bondalaghum væræ. Varþær suþærman dræpin ællær ænskær maþær, ta skal bøta firi marchum fiurum þem sakinæ søkir, ok tvar marchar konongi.

Translation:

If someone slays a Swede or a Smålander, a man from the kingdom, but not a West Geat, he will pay eight örtugar and thirteen marks, but no wergild. The king owns nine marks from manslaughter and the killing of any man. If someone slays a Dane or a Norwegian, he will pay nine marks. If someone slays a foreigner, he shall not be banished and have to flee to his clan. If someone slays a foreign priest, he will pay as much as for a foreigner. A priest counts as a freeman. If a Southerner is slain or an Englishman, he shall pay four marks to the plaintif and two marks to the king.

is a historical province (landskap) in southern Sweden. ... Geatas (Gautar in Old Norse, Götar in Swedish) is the Old English spelling of the name of the Geats, a North Germanic tribe historically associated with Götaland (land of the Geats) in modern Sweden. ... Weregild (Alternative spellings: wergild, wergeld, weregeld, etc. ... The Scandinavian clan or Ätt was a social group based on common descent or on the formal acceptance into the group at a Ting. ... Royal motto: Dieu et mon droit (French: God and my right) Official language None; English is de facto Capital London Capitals coordinates 51° 30 N, 0° 10 W Largest city London Area  - Total Ranked 1st UK 130,395 km² Population  - Total (2001)  - Density Ranked 1st UK 49,138,831...

Old Gutnish

The Gutasaga is the longest text surviving from Old Gutnish. It was written in the 13th century and dealt with the early history of the Gotlanders. This part relates of the agreement that the Gotlanders had with the Swedish king sometime before the 9th century: The Gutasaga was recorded in the 13th century and survives in only a single manuscript, the Codex Holm. ... Old Gutnish was the dialect of Old Norse that was spoken on the island of Gotland. ... (12th century - 13th century - 14th century - other centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 13th century was that century which lasted from 1201 to 1300. ... As a means of recording the passage of time the 9th century was that century that lasted from 801 to 900. ...

So gingu gutar sielfs wiliandi vndir suia kunung þy at þair mattin frir Oc frelsir sykia suiariki j huerium staþ. vtan tull oc allar utgiftir. So aigu oc suiar sykia gutland firir vtan cornband ellar annur forbuþ. hegnan oc hielp sculdi kunungur gutum at waita. En þair wiþr þorftin. oc kallaþin. sendimen al oc kunungr oc ierl samulaiþ a gutnal þing senda. Oc latta þar taka scatt sinn. þair sendibuþar aighu friþ lysa gutum alla steþi til sykia yfir haf sum upsala kunungi til hoyrir. Oc so þair sum þan wegin aigu hinget sykia.

Translation:

So, by their own volition, the Gotlanders became the subjects of the Swedish king, so that they could travel freely and without risk to any location in the Swedish kingdom without toll and other fees. Likewise, the Swedes had the right to go to Gotland without corn restrictions or other prohibitions. The king was to provide protection and aid, when they needed it and asked for it. The king and the jarl shall send emissaries to the Gutnish thing to receive the taxes. These emissaries shall declare free passage for the Gotlanders to all locations in the sea of the king at Uppsala (that is the Baltic Sea was under Swedish control) and likewise for everyone who wanted to travel to Gotland.

Note here that the diphthong ai in aigu, þair and waita is not regressively umlauted to ei as in e.g. Old Icelandic eigu, þeir and veita. The Gotlanders are the population of the island of Gotland. ... Jarl is the Scandinavian language cognate of Earl. ... A thing or ting (Old Norse and Icelandic: þing; other modern Scandinavian: ting) was the governing assembly in Germanic societies, made up of the free men of the community and presided by lawspeakers. ... Gamla Uppsala is an area rich in archaeological remains seen from the grave field whose larger mounds (left part) are close to the royal mounds. ... Map of the Baltic Sea. ...


See also

Proto-Norse, Primitive Norse, Proto-Nordic, Ancient Nordic or Proto-North Germanic was an Indo-European language spoken in Scandinavia that is thought to have evolved from Proto-Germanic between the 1st century BC and the 2nd century, and was spoken until ca 800, when it evolved into the Old... The orthography of the Old Norse language since the introduction of the Latin alphabet in Iceland is a thorny subject. ... Old Norse poetry encompasses a range of verse forms written in a number of Nordic languages, embraced by the term Old Norse, during the period from the 8th century to as late as the far end of the 13th century. ...

References

// Brief Biography E.V. Gordon (Eric Valentine Gordon) lived between the short years of 1896-1938. ... Oxford is a city and local government district in Oxfordshire, England, with a population of 134,248 (2001 census). ... Oxford University Press (OUP) is a highly-respected publishing house and a department of the University of Oxford in England. ...

External links

  • «Kulturformidlingen norrøne tekster og kvad»
  • Indo-European Language Resources The resources in question are mostly Germanic, including two dictionaries of Old Icelandic (in English), two grammars of Old Icelandic (one in English, one in German) and a grammar of Old Swedish (in German).
  • soundsample
  • Old Norse for Beginners
  • Old Norse Online, by Todd B. Krause and Jonathan Slocum from the Linguistics Research Center, University of Texas at Austin.
Germanic languages
Afrikaans | Danish | Dutch | English | Faroese | Frisian |
German | Icelandic | Norwegian | Scots | Swedish | Wymysojer | Yiddish

The Germanic languages form one of the branches of the Indo-European (IE) language family. ... Afrikaans is a West Germanic language mainly spoken in South Africa and Namibia with smaller numbers of speakers in Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland, Zimbabwe and Zambia. ... The English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. ... Frisian is a Germanic group of closely related languages, spoken by about half a million members of an ethnic group living on the southern fringes of the North Sea in the Netherlands and Germany. ... Scots is an Anglic variety spoken in Scotland, where it is sometimes called Lowland Scots to distinguish it from Scottish Gaelic spoken by some in the Highlands and Islands (especially the Hebrides). ... Wymysojer (Wilamowicean) is a West Germanic language spoken in the small town of Wilamowice (Wymysau in Wymysojer), on the border between Silesia and Little Poland. ... Yiddish (Yid. ...


 
 

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