OLD NORSE was a North Germanic language that was spoken by
Proto-Norse language developed into
The 12th century Icelandic
Gray Goose Laws state that Swedes,
Norwegians, Icelanders and Danes spoke the same language, dǫnsk tunga
("Danish tongue"; speakers of
Old East Norse would have said dansk
tunga). Another term used, used especially commonly with reference to
West Norse, was norrǿnt mál ("Nordic speech"). Today
In some instances the term
* 1 Geographical distribution * 2 Modern descendants
* 3 Phonology
* 3.1 Vowels * 3.2 Consonants * 3.3 Orthography * 3.4 Accent
* 4 Phonological processes
* 4.1 Ablaut
* 4.2 Umlaut
* 4.2.1 U-umlaut
* 4.3 Breaking * 4.4 Assimilation or elision of inflectional ʀ
* 5 Phonotactics
* 5.1 Blocking of ii, uu * 5.2 Epenthesis
* 6 Grammar
* 6.1 Gender
* 6.1.1 Hierarchy
* 6.2 Morphology
* 7 Texts
* 8 Dialects
* 8.1 Old West Norse
* 8.2 Old East Norse
* 8.2.1 Old Danish * 8.2.2 Old Swedish * 8.2.3 Text example
* 8.3 Old Gutnish
* 8.3.1 Text example
* 9 Relationship to other languages
* 9.1 Relationship to English * 9.2 Relationship to modern Scandinavian languages
* 10 See also
* 10.1 Dialectal information
* 11 Notes * 12 References
* 13 Literature
* 13.1 Introductions * 13.2 Dictionaries * 13.3 Grammars
* 14 External links
The approximate extent of
Old Icelandic was very close to
Old Norwegian , and together they
Old West Norse dialect, which was also spoken in
North Germanic languages
The modern descendants of the
Old West Norse dialect are the West
Scandinavian languages of Icelandic , Faroese , Norwegian and the
Norn language of
Among these, Icelandic and the closely related Faroese have changed
the least from
Various other languages, which are not closely related, have been
heavily influenced by Norse, particularly the Norman dialects,
Of the modern languages, Icelandic is the closest to Old Norse.
Written modern Icelandic derives from the
Faroese retains many similarities but is influenced by Danish, Norwegian, and Gaelic (Scottish and/or Irish ). Although Swedish, Danish and the Norwegian languages have diverged the most, they still retain asymmetric mutual intelligibility . Speakers of modern Swedish, Norwegian and Danish can mostly understand each other without studying their neighboring languages, particularly if speaking slowly. The languages are also sufficiently similar in writing that they can mostly be understood across borders. This could be because these languages have been mutually affected by each other, as well as having a similar development influenced by Middle Low German .
THIS SECTION CONTAINS IPA PHONETIC SYMBOLS. Without proper
rendering support , you may see question marks, boxes, or other
symbols instead of
The vowel phonemes mostly come in pairs of long and short. The standardized orthography marks the long vowels with an acute accent. In medieval manuscripts, it is often unmarked but sometimes marked with an accent or through gemination . All phonemes have, more or less, the expected phonetic realization.
Generic vowel system c. 9th–12th centuries
FRONT VOWELS BACK VOWELS
UNROUNDED ROUNDED UNROUNDED ROUNDED
CLOSE i • ĩ iː • ĩː y • ỹ yː • ỹː
u • ũ uː • ũː
MID e • ẽ eː • ẽː ø • ø̃ øː • ø̃ː
o • õ oː • õː
OPEN, OPEN-MID ɛ • ɛ̃ ɛː • ɛ̃ː œ • œ̃
a • ã aː • ãː ɔ • ɔ̃ ɔː • ɔ̃ː
Note: The open or open-mid vowels may be transcribed differently:
* /æ/ = /ɛ/ * /ɒ/ = /ɔ/ * /ɑ/ = /a/
Sometime around the 13th century, /ɔ/ (spelled ǫ) merged with /ø/
or /o/ in all dialects except Old Danish . In Icelandic, all /ɔ/ (ǫ)
merged with /ø/. This can be determined by their distinction within
First Grammatical Treatise but not within the early
Generic vowel system c. 13th–14th centuries
FRONT VOWELS BACK VOWELS
UNROUNDED ROUNDED UNROUNDED ROUNDED
HIGH i iː y yː
MID e eː ø øː
LOW/LOW-MID ɛ ɛː
a a a ⟨a⟩ a a land "land" < *landą
a a (+i-mut) ɛ ⟨ę⟩ e ⟨e⟩ e menn "men" < *manniz
a a (+u/w-mut) ɔ ⟨ǫ⟩ ɔ ø ⟨ö⟩ lǫnd "lands" < *landu < *landō; söngr "song" < sǫngr < *sangwaz
a a (+i-mut +w-mut) œ ⟨ø₂⟩ ø ø ⟨ö⟩ gøra "to make" < *garwijaną
æː aː aː ⟨á⟩ aː aː láta "to let" < *lētaną
æː aː (+i-mut) ɛː ⟨æ⟩ ɛː ɛː mæla "to speak" < *mālijan < *mēlijaną
æː aː (+u-mut) ɔː ⟨ǫ́⟩ ɔː aː ⟨á⟩ mǫ́l "meals" < *mālu < *mēlō
e e e ⟨e⟩ e e sex "six" < *seks; bresta "to burst" < *brestaną
e e (+u/w-mut) ø ⟨ø₁⟩ ø ø ⟨ö⟩ tøgr "ten" < *teguz
e e (broken) ea ⟨ea⟩ ja ⟨ja⟩ ja gjalda "to repay" < *geldaną
e e (broken +u/w-mut) eo/io ⟨eo⟩/⟨io⟩ jo > jɔ ⟨jǫ⟩ jø ⟨jö⟩ skjǫldr "shield" < *skelduz
eː eː eː ⟨é⟩ eː eː lét "let (past tense)" < *lēt
i i i ⟨i⟩ i i mikill "great" < *mikilaz
i i (+w-mut) y ⟨y⟩ y y(ː) slyngva "to sling" < *slingwaną
iː iː iː ⟨í⟩ iː iː líta "to look" < *lītaną
oː oː oː ⟨ó⟩ oː oː fór "went" < *fōr; mót "meeting" < mōtą
oː oː (+i-mut) øː ⟨œ⟩ øː ɛː ⟨æ⟩ mœðr "mothers" < *mōdriz
u u u ⟨u⟩ u u una "to be content" < *unaną
u u (+i-mut) y ⟨y⟩ y y kyn "race" < *kunją
u u (+a-mut) o ⟨o⟩ o o fogl/fugl "bird" < *fuglaz; morginn "morning" < *murganaz
uː uː uː ⟨ú⟩ uː uː drúpa "to droop" < *drūpaną
uː uː (+i-mut) yː ⟨ý⟩ yː yː mýss "mice" < mūsiz
ai ai ai, ɛi ⟨ei⟩ ɛi ɛi bein, Gut. bain "bone" < *bainą
ai ai (+w-mut) øy ⟨ey⟩, ⟨øy⟩ øy ⟨ey⟩ ɛy kveykva "to kindle" < *kwaikwaną
au au au ⟨au⟩ au au lauss "loose" < *lausaz
au au (+i-mut) øy ⟨ey⟩, ⟨øy⟩ øy ⟨ey⟩ ɛy leysa "to loosen" < *lausijaną
eu eu eu ⟨eu⟩ jú ⟨jú⟩ jú djúpr "deep" < *deupaz
eu eu (+dental) eo ⟨eo⟩ jó ⟨jó⟩ jó bjóða/bjúða "to offer" < *beudaną
Ṽ Ṽ Ṽ Ṽ lost komȧ < *kwemaną "to come, arrive"; OWN vėtr/vėttr < vintr < *wintruz "winter"
Ṽː Ṽː Ṽː Ṽː lost hȧ́r "shark" < *hanhaz; ȯ́rar "our" (pl.) < *unseraz; ø̇́rȧ "younger" (acc. neut. wk. ) < *junhizą
LABIAL DENTAL ALVEOLAR POSTALVEOLAR PALATAL VELAR LABIOVELAR GLOTTAL
PLOSIVE p b t d
NASAL m n
FRICATIVE f (v ) θ (ð ) s
The consonant digraphs hl, hr, hn occurred word-initially. It is
unclear whether they were sequences of two consonants (with the first
element realised as /h/ or perhaps /x/), or as single voiceless
sonorants /l̥/, /r̥/ and /n̥/ respectively. In Old Norwegian, Old
Danish and later
Old Swedish the groups hl, hr, hn were reduced to
plain l, r, n, suggesting that they were most likely realised as
voiceless sonorants by
The pronunciation of hv is unclear, and may have been /xʷ/ (the
Main article: Old Norse orthography
Unlike Proto-Norse, which was written with the
Elder Futhark , runic
As for the
Latin alphabet , there was no standardized orthography in
use in the Middle Ages. A modified version of the letter wynn called
vend was used briefly for the sounds /u/, /v/, and /w/. Long vowels
were sometimes marked with acutes, but also sometimes left unmarked or
geminated. The standardized
See also: Danish stød , Norwegian tonal stress , and Swedish tonal stress
THIS SECTION NEEDS EXPANSION with: Dating, etc.. You can help by adding to it . (April 2010)
Primary stress in
ABLAUT patterns are groups of vowels which are swapped, or ABLAUTED, in the nucleus of a word. Strong verbs ablaut the lemma 's nucleus to derive the past forms of the verb. This parallels English conjugation, where, e.g., the nucleus of sing becomes sang in the past tense and sung in the past participle. Some verbs are derived by ablaut, as the present-in-past verbs do by consequence of being derived from the past tense forms of strong verbs.
UMLAUT or MUTATION is an assimilatory process acting on vowels
preceding a vowel or semivowel of a different vowel backness . In the
case of I-UMLAUT and ʀ-UMLAUT, this entails a fronting of back
vowels, with retention of lip rounding. In the case of U-UMLAUT, this
entails labialization of unrounded vowels. Umlaut is phonemic and in
many situations grammatically significant as a side effect of losing
Some /y/, /yː/, /ø/, /øː/, /ɛ/, /ɛː/, /øy/, and all /ɛi/ were obtained by i-umlaut from /u/, /uː/, /o/, /oː/, /a/, /aː/, /au/, and /ai/ respectively. Others were formed via ʀ-umlaut from /u/, /uː/, /a/, /aː/, and /au/.
Some /y/, /yː/, /ø/, /øː/, and all /ɔ/, /ɔː/ were obtained by u-umlaut from /i/, /iː/, /e/, /eː/, and /a/, /aː/ respectively. See Old Icelandic for information on /ɔː/.
/œ/ was obtained through a simultaneous u- and i-umlaut of /a/. It appears in words like gøra (gjǫra, geyra), from Proto-Germanic *garwijaną, and commonly in verbs with a velar consonant before the suffix like søkkva < *sankwijaną.
OEN often preserves the original value of the vowel directly preceding runic ʀ while OWN receives ʀ-umlaut. Compare runic OEN glaʀ, haʀi, hrauʀ with OWN gler, heri (later héri), hrøyrr/hreyrr ("glass", "hare", "pile of rocks").
U-umlaut is more common in Old West Norse in both phonemic and allophonic positions, while it only occurs sparsely in post-runic Old East Norse and even in runic Old East Norse. Compare West Old Norse fǫður (accusative of faðir, 'father'), vǫrðr (guardian/caretaker), ǫrn (eagle), jǫrð ('earth', Modern Icelandic: jörð), mjǫlk ('milk', Modern Icelandic: mjólk) with Old Swedish faður, varðer, örn, jorð and Modern Swedish örn, jord, mjölk with the latter two demonstrating the u-umlaut found in Swedish.
This is still a major difference between Swedish and Faroese and Icelandic today. Plurals of neuters do not have u-umlaut at all in Swedish, but in Faroese and Icelandic they do, for example the Faroese and Icelandic plurals of the word land, lond and lönd respectively, in contrast to the Swedish plural land and numerous other examples. That also applies to almost all feminine nouns, for example the largest feminine noun group, the o-stem nouns (except the Swedish noun jord mentioned above), and even i-stem nouns and root nouns , such as Old West Norse mǫrk (mörk in Icelandic) in comparison with Modern and Old Swedish mark.
See also: Vowel breaking
VOWEL BREAKING, or FRACTURE, caused a front vowel to be split into a semivowel-vowel sequence before a back vowel in the following syllable. While West Norse only broke e, East Norse also broke i. The change was blocked by a v, l, or r preceding the potentially-broken vowel. :1
Some /ja/ or /jɔ/ and /jaː/ or /jɔː/ result from breaking of /e/ and /eː/ respectively.
ASSIMILATION OR ELISION OF INFLECTIONAL ʀ
When a noun, pronoun, adjective, or verb has a long vowel or diphthong in the accented syllable and its stem ends in a single -l, -n, or -s, the -r (or the elder r- or z-variant ʀ ) in an ending is assimilated. When the accented vowel is short, the ending is dropped.
The nominative of the strong masculine declension and some i-stem feminine nouns uses one such -r (ʀ). Óðin-r (Óðin-ʀ) becomes Óðinn instead of *Óðinr (*Óðinʀ), but karl-r (karl-ʀ) remains karl.
Blása, to blow, has blæss for "you blow" instead of *blæsr (*blæsʀ).
The rule is not hard and fast, with counter-examples such as vinr, which has the synonym vin, yet retains the unabsorbed version, and jǫtunn, where assimilation takes place even though the root vowel, ǫ, is short.
Words with a final r in the word stem , such as vetr, do not add another -r, as the sounds are already the same. The effect of the dropping usually results in the lack of distinction between some forms of the noun. In the case of vetr the dropping renders the nominative and accusative singular and plural identical; the nominative singular and nominative and accusative plural would otherwise have been *vetrr (*vintrʀ), while the accusative singular would still have been vetr. This is because the 3rd strong masculine declension, to which it belongs, marks the nominative singular and nominative and accusative plural, but not the accusative singular, with inflectional ʀs.
BLOCKING OF II, UU
I/j adjacent to i, e, their u-umlauts, and æ was not possible, nor
u/v adjacent to u, o, their i-umlauts, and ǫ. At the beginning of
words, this manifested as a dropping of the initial j or v. Compare ON
orð, úlfr, ár with English word, wolf, year. In inflections, this
manifested as the dropping of the inflectional vowels. Thus, klæði +
dat -i remains klæði, and sjáum in Icelandic progressed to sjǫ́um
> sjǫ́m > sjám. The jj and ww of
An epenthetic vowel became popular by 1200 in Old Danish, 1250 in Old
Swedish and Norwegian, and 1300 in Old Icelandic. An unstressed vowel
was used which varied by dialect.
Old Norwegian exhibited all three:
/u/ was used in West Norwegian south of
Further information: Grammatical gender
All neuter words have identical nominative and accusative forms, and all feminine words have identical nominative and accusative plurals.
The gender of some words' plurals does not agree with that of their singulars, such as lim and mund. Some words, such as hungr, have multiple genders, evidenced by their determiners being declined in different genders within a given sentence.
One generally sees adjectives in their neuter form when used pronominally for this reason. For words more commonly used in this way (rather than to describe a noun) one sees their neuter forms more often than their masculine or feminine. Normally the masculine form would be the most beneficial form of an adjective to learn first, given that the majority of nouns are masculine. In these cases, however, the most practical form to learn first would be the neuter.
Main article: Old Norse morphology
Nouns, adjectives and pronouns were declined in four grammatical cases—nominative , accusative , genitive and dative , in singular and plural numbers. Adjectives and pronouns were additionally declined in three grammatical genders. Some pronouns (first and second person) could have dual number in addition to singular and plural. The genitive is used partitively , and quite often in compounds and kennings (e.g.: Urðarbrunnr , the well of Urðr; Lokasenna , the gibing of Loki).
There were several classes of nouns within each gender, the following is an example of the "strong" inflectional paradigms :
THE STRONG MASCULINE NOUN ARMR (ENGLISH ARM)
CASE SINGULAR PLURAL
NOMINATIVE armr armar
ACCUSATIVE arm arma
GENITIVE arms arma
DATIVE armi ǫrmum/armum
THE FEMININE NOUN HǫLL (OWN), HALL (OEN) (ENGLISH HALL)
CASE SINGULAR PLURAL
NOMINATIVE hǫll/hall hallir/hallar (OEN)
ACCUSATIVE hǫll/hall hallir/hallar (OEN)
GENITIVE hallar halla
DATIVE hǫllu/hallu hǫllum/hallum
THE NEUTER NOUN TROLL (ENGLISH TROLL):
CASE SINGULAR PLURAL
NOMINATIVE troll troll
ACCUSATIVE troll troll
GENITIVE trolls trolla
DATIVE trolli trollum
In addition to these examples there were the numerous "weak" noun paradigms, which had a much higher degree of syncretism between the different cases in its paradigms, i.e. they had fewer forms than the "strong" nouns.
A definite article was realised as a suffix, that retained an independent declension e.g. TROLL (a troll) – TROLLIT (the troll), HǫLL ( a hall) – HǫLLIN (the hall), ARMR (an arm) – ARMRINN (the arm). This definite article, however, was a separate word, and did not become attached to the noun before later stages of the Old Norse period.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to OLD NORSE MANUSCRIPTS .
The earliest inscriptions in
Most of the innovations that appeared in
Móðir Dyggva var Drótt, dóttir Danps konungs, sonar Rígs er fyrstr var konungr kallaðr á danska tungu.
Dyggvi 's mother was Drott, the daughter of king Danp, Ríg 's son, who was the first to be called king in the Danish tongue.
...stirt var honum norrœnt mál, ok kylfdi mᴊǫk til orðanna, ok hǫfðu margir menn þat mᴊǫk at spotti.
...the Norse language was hard for him, and he often fumbled for words, which amused people greatly.
However, some changes were geographically limited and so created a dialectal difference between Old West Norse and Old East Norse.
As Proto-Norse evolved into Old Norse, in the 8th century, the
effects of the umlauts seem to have been very much the same over the
All the while, the changes resulting in breaking (for example hiarta
from *hertō) were more influential in the East probably once again
due to generalizations within the inflectional system. This difference
was one of the greatest reasons behind the dialectalization that took
place in the 9th and 10th centuries, shaping an
Old West Norse dialect
Old West Norse and Old Gutnish did not take part in the monophthongization which changed æi (ei) into ē, øy (ey) and au into ø̄, nor did certain peripheral dialects of Swedish, as seen in modern Ostrobothnian . Another 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.
Here is a comparison between the two dialects as well as Old Gutnish. It is a transcription from one of the Funbo Runestones (U 990) meaning : Veðr and Thane and Gunnar raised this stone after Haursi, their father. God help his spirit: Veðr ok Þegn ok Gunnarr reistu stein þenna at Haursa, fǫður sinn. Guð hjalpi ǫnd hans. (OWN) Veðr ok Þegn ok Gunnarr ræistu stæin þenna at Haursa, faður sinn. Guð hialpi and hans (OEN) Veðr ok Þegn ok Gunnarr raistu stain þenna at Haursa, faður sinn. Guð hialpi and hans (OG)
The OEN original text above is transliterated according to traditional scholarly methods, wherein u-umlaut is not regarded in runic Old East Norse. Modern studies have shown that the positions where it applies are the same as for runic Old West Norse. An alternative and probably more accurate transliteration would therefore render the text in OEN as such: Veðr ok Þegn ok Gunnarr ræistu stæin þenna at Haursa, fǫður sinn. Guð hialpi ǫnd hans (OEN)
Some past participles and other words underwent i-umlaut in Old West Norse but not in Old East Norse dialects. Examples of that are Icelandic slegið/sleginn and tekið/tekinn, which in Swedish are slagit/slagen and tagit/tagen. This can also be seen in the Icelandic and Norwegian words sterkur and sterk ("strong"), which in Swedish is stark as in Old Swedish. These differences can also be seen in comparison between Norwegian and Swedish.
OLD WEST NORSE
The combinations -mp-, -nt-, and -nk- mostly merged to -pp-, -tt- and -kk- in Old West Norse at around the 7th century, marking the first distinction between the Eastern and Western dialects. :3 The following table illustrates this:
ENGLISH OLD WEST NORSE OLD EAST NORSE PROTO-NORSE
mushroom s(v)ǫppr svamper *swampuz
steep brattr branter *brantaz
widow ekkja ænkia *ain(a)kjōn
to shrink kreppa krimpa *krimpan
to sprint spretta sprinta *sprintan
to sink søkkva sænkva *sankwian
An early difference between Old West Norse and the other dialects was that Old West Norse had the forms bú "dwelling", kú "cow" (accusative) and trú "faith" whereas Old East Norse had bó, kó and tró. Old West Norse was also characterized by the preservation of u-umlaut, which meant that for example Proto-Norse *tanþu "tooth" was pronounced tǫnn and not tann as in post-runic Old East Norse; OWN gǫ́s and runic OEN gǫ́s, while post-runic OEN gás "goose".
The earliest body of text appears in runic inscriptions and in poems
composed c. 900 by
Þjóðólfr of Hvinir (although the poems are not
preserved in contemporary sources, but only in much later
manuscripts). The earliest manuscripts are from the period 1150–1200
and concern both legal, religious and historical matters. During the
12th and 13th centuries,
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
Old West Norse underwent a lengthening of initial vowels at some point, especially in Norwegian, so that OWN eta became éta, ONW akr > ákr, OIC ek > ék.
In Iceland, initial /w/ before /ɾ/ was lost. Compare Icelandic rangur with Norwegian vrangr, OEN vrangʀ. This change is shared with Old Gutnish.
A specifically Icelandic sound, the long, u-umlauted A, spelled Ǫ́ and pronounced /ɔː/, developed circa the early 11th century. It was short-lived, being marked in the Grammatical Treatises and remaining until the end of the 12th century.
/w/ merged with /v/ during the 12th century. This caused /v/ to become an independent phoneme from /f/, and the written distinction of ⟨v⟩ for /v/ from medial and final ⟨f⟩ to become merely etymological.
Around the 13th century, Œ/Ǿ (/øː/) merged to Æ (/ɛː/). Thus,
pre-13th-century grœnn ‘green’ became modern Icelandic grænn.
The 12th-century Grágás manuscripts distinguish the vowels, and so
Codex Regius copy does as well. However, the 13th-century Codex
Regius copy of the Poetic
Towards the end of the 13th century, Ę (/ɛ/) merged to E (/e/).
Further information: Old Norwegian
Around the 11th century, Old Norwegian ⟨hl⟩, ⟨hn⟩, and ⟨hr⟩ became ⟨l⟩, ⟨n⟩, and ⟨r⟩. It is debatable whether the ⟨hC⟩ sequences represented a consonant cluster, /hC/, or a devoicing, /C̥/.
Orthographic evidence suggests that, in a confined dialect of Old Norwegian, /ɔ/ may have been unrounded before /u/, so that u-umlaut was reversed where the u had not been eliminated. e.g. ǫll, ǫllum > ǫll, allum.
Further information: Greenlandic Norse
This dialect of Old West Norse was spoken by Icelandic colonies in Greenland. When the colonies died out around the 15th century, the dialect went with it. The phoneme /θ/, and some /ð/ merged to /t/, so that Old Icelandic ÞóRðR becomes TORTR.
Further information: Old Norse orthography
The following text is from Alexanders saga, an Alexander romance . The manuscript, AM 519 a 4to , is dated c. 1280. The facsimile demonstrates the sigla used by scribes to write Old Norse. Many of these were borrowed from Latin. Without familiarity with these abbreviations, the facsimile will be unreadable to many. In addition, reading the manuscript itself requires familiarity with the letterforms of the native script. The abbreviations are expanded in a version with normalized spelling like the standard normalization system's. Comparing this to the spelling of the same text in Modern Icelandic shows that, while pronunciation has changed greatly, spelling has changed little.
DIGITAL FACSIMILE OF THE MANUSCRIPT TEXT THE SAME TEXT WITH NORMALIZED SPELLING THE SAME TEXT IN MODERN ICELANDIC
ſem oꝩın͛ h̅ſ brıgzloðo h̅o̅ epꞇ͛ þͥ ſe̅ ſıðaʀ mon ſagꞇ verða. Þeſſı ſveın̅ aͬ.* ꝩar ıſcola ſeꞇꞇr ſem ſıðꝩenıa e͛ ꞇıl rıkra man̅a vꞇan-lanꝺz aꞇ laꞇa g͛a vıð boꝛn̅ ſíıƞ́ Meıſꞇarı ꝩar h̅o̅ ꝼengın̅ ſa e͛ arıſꞇoꞇıleſ heꞇ. h̅ ꝩar harðla goðꝛ clercr ⁊ en̅ meſꞇı ſpekıngr aꞇ ꝩıꞇı. ⁊ er h̅ ꝩͬ .xíí. veꞇᷓ gamall aꞇ allꝺrı nalıga alroſcın̅ aꞇ ꝩıꞇı. en ſꞇoꝛhvgaðꝛ u̅ ꝼᷓm alla ſına ıaꝼnallꝺꝛa.
sem óvinir hans brigzluðu honum eftir því, sem síðarr man sagt verða. þessi sveinn Alexander var í skóla settr, sem siðvenja er til ríkra manna útanlands at láta gera við bǫrn sín. meistari var honum fenginn sá, er Aristoteles hét. hann var harðla góðr klerkr ok inn mesti spekingr at viti. ok er hann var 12 vetra gamall at aldri, náliga alroskinn at viti, en stórhugaðr umfram alla sína jafnaldra,
sem óvinir hans brigsluðu honum eftir því, sem síðar mun sagt verða. Þessi sveinn Alexander var í skóla settur, sem siðvenja er til ríkra manna utanlands að láta gera við börn sín. Meistari var honum fenginn sá, er Aristóteles hét. Hann var harðla góður klerkur og hinn mesti spekingur að viti og er hann var 12 vetra gamall að aldri, nálega alroskinn að viti en stórhugaður umfram alla sína jafnaldra
* A printed in uncial . Uncials not encoded separately in
OLD EAST NORSE
Old East Norse, between 800 and 1100, is called
Runic Swedish in
Runic Old East Norse is characteristically archaic in form, especially Swedish (which is still true for modern Swedish compared to Danish). In essence it matches or surpasses the archaicness of post-runic Old West Norse which in its turn is generally more archaic than post-runic Old East Norse. While typically "Eastern" in structure, many later post-runic changes and trademarks of EON had yet to happen.
The phoneme ʀ, which evolved during the Proto-Norse period from z, was still clearly separated from r in most positions, even when being geminated, while in OWN it had already merged with r.
Monophthongization of æi > ē and øy, au > ø̄ started in mid-10th-century Denmark. Compare runic OEN: fæigʀ, gæiʀʀ, haugʀ, møydōmʀ, diūʀ; with Post-runic OEN: fēgher, gēr, hø̄gher, mø̄dōmber, diūr; OWN: feigr, geirr, haugr, meydómr, dýr; from PN *faigiaz, *gaizaz, *haugaz, *mawi- + dōmaz (maidendom; virginity), *diuza ((wild) animal).
Feminine o-stems often preserve the plural ending -aʀ while in OWN they more often merge with the feminine i-stems: (runic OEN) *sōlaʀ, *hafnaʀ/*hamnaʀ, *vāgaʀ while OWN sólir, hafnir and vágir (modern Swedish solar, hamnar, vågar; suns, havens, scales; Danish has mainly lost the distinction between the two stems with both endings now being rendered as -er or -e alternatively for the o-stems).
Vice versa, masculine i-stems with the root ending in either g or k tended to shift the plural ending to that of the ja-stems while OEN kept the original: drængiaʀ, *ælgiaʀ and *bænkiaʀ while OWN drengir, elgir (elks) and bekkir (modern Danish "drenge", "elge", "bænke", modern Swedish drängar, älgar, bänkar).
The plural ending of ja-stems were mostly preserved while those of OEN often acquired that of the i-stems: *bæðiaʀ, *bækkiaʀ, *væfiaʀ while OWN beðir (beds), bekkir, vefir (modern Swedish bäddar, bäckar, vävar).
Further information: History of Danish
Until the early 12th century,
Old East Norse was very much a uniform
dialect. It was in
In Old Danish, /hɾ/ merged with /ɾ/ during the 9th century. From the 11th to 14th centuries, the unstressed vowels -a, -o and -e (standard normalization -a, -u and -i) started to merge into -ə, represented with the letter e. This vowel came to be epenthetic , particularly before -ʀ endings. At the same time, the voiceless stop consonants p, t and k became voiced plosives and even fricative consonants . Resulting from these innovations, Danish has kage (cake), tunger (tongues) and gæster (guests) whereas (Standard) Swedish has retained older forms, kaka, tungor and gäster (OEN kaka, tungur, gæstir).
Moreover, the Danish pitch accent shared with Norwegian and Swedish changed into stød around this time.
Further information: Old Swedish
At the end of the 10th and early 11th century initial h- before l, n and r was still preserved in the middle and northern parts of Sweden, and is sporadically still preserved in some northern dialects as g-, e.g. gly (lukewarm), from hlýʀ. The Dalecarlian dialects developed independently from Old Swedish and as such can be considered separate languages from Swedish.
This is an extract from
Västgötalagen , the Westrogothic law. It is
the oldest text written as a manuscript found in
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.
If someone slays a Swede or a Smålander , a man from the kingdom, but not a West Geat , he will pay eight örtugar (20-pence coins) and thirteen marks, but no weregild . 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 fellow countryman. A priest counts as a freeman. If a Southerner is slain or an Englishman, he shall pay four marks to the plaintiff and two marks to the king.
Main article: 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 to the agreement that the Gotlanders had with the Swedish king sometime before the 9th century:
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.
So, by their own will, 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
RELATIONSHIP TO OTHER LANGUAGES
RELATIONSHIP TO ENGLISH
See also: History of English § Scandinavian influence , and List of
English words of
* NOUNS – anger (angr), bag (baggi), bait (bæit, bæita, bæiti), band (band), bark (bǫrkʀ, stem bark-), birth (byrðr), dirt (drit), dregs (dræggiaʀ), egg (ægg, related to OE. cognate "æg" which became Middle English "eye"/"eai"), fellow (félagi), gap (gap), husband (húsbóndi), cake (kaka), keel (kiǫlʀ, stem also kial-, kil-), kid (kið), knife (knífʀ), law (lǫg, stem lag-), leg (læggʀ), link (hlænkʀ), loan (lán, related to OE. cognate "læn", cf. lend), race (rǫs, stem rás-), root (rót, related to OE. cognate "wyrt", cf. wort ), sale (sala), scrap (skrap), seat (sæti), sister (systir, related to OE. cognate "sweostor"), skill (skial/skil), skin (skinn), skirt (skyrta vs. the native English shirt of the same root), sky (ský), slaughter (slátr), snare (snara), steak (stæik), thrift (þrift), tidings (tíðindi), trust (traust), window (vindauga), wing (væ(i)ngʀ) * VERBS – are (er, displacing OE "sind") blend (blanda), call (kalla), cast (kasta), clip (klippa), crawl (krafla), cut (possibly from ON kuta), die (døyia), gasp (gæispa), get (geta), give (gifa/gefa, related to OE. cognate "giefan"), glitter (glitra), hit (hitta), lift (lyfta), raise (ræisa), ransack (rannsaka), rid (ryðia), run (rinna, stem rinn-/rann-/runn-, related to OE. cognate "rinnan"), scare (skirra), scrape (skrapa), seem (søma), sprint (sprinta), take (taka), thrive (þrífa(s)), thrust (þrysta), want (vanta) * ADJECTIVES – flat (flatr), happy (happ), ill (illr), likely (líklígʀ), loose (lauss), low (lágʀ), meek (miúkʀ), odd (odda), rotten (rotinn/rutinn), scant (skamt), sly (sløgʀ), weak (væikʀ), wrong (vrangʀ) * ADVERBS – thwart/athwart (þvert) * PREPOSITIONS – till (til), fro (frá) * CONJUNCTION – though/tho (þó) * INTERJECTION – hail (hæill), wassail (ves hæill) * PERSONAL PRONOUN – they (þæiʀ), their (þæiʀa), them (þæim) (for which the Anglo-Saxons said híe, hiera, him) * PRENOMINAL ADJECTIVES – same (sami)
In a simple sentence like "They are both weak" the extent of the Old Norse loanwords becomes quite clear ( Old East Norse with archaic pronunciation: "Þæiʀ eʀu báðiʀ wæikiʀ" while Old English "híe syndon bégen (þá) wáce"). The words "they" and "weak" are both borrowed from Old Norse, and the word "both" might also be a borrowing, though this is disputed (cf. German beide). While the number of loanwords adopted from the Norse was not as numerous as that of Norman French or Latin, their depth and everyday nature make them a substantial and very important part of every day English speech as they are part of the very core of the modern English vocabulary.
Words like "bull" and "Thursday" are more difficult when it comes to
their origins. "Bull" may be from either
RELATIONSHIP TO MODERN SCANDINAVIAN LANGUAGES
A ⟨A⟩ a(ː) a/ɛaː a/ɑː ⟨a⟩; ɔ/oː ⟨å⟩ (+ld,rd,ng) ⟨a⟩; ɔ/ɔː ⟨å⟩ (+rd) ON land "land": Ic/Fa/Sw/Da/No land; ON dagr "day": Ic/Fa dagur, Sw/Da/No dag; ON harðr "hard": Ic/Fa harður, Sw/Da hård, No hard;
ON langr "long": Ic/Fa langur, Sw lång, Da/No lang
JA ⟨JA⟩ ja(ː) ja/jɛaː (j)ɛ(ː) ⟨(j)ä⟩ jɛ: ⟨jæ⟩; jæ: ⟨je⟩ (+r) ON hjalpa "to help": Ic/Fa hjálpa, Sw hjälpa, Da hjælpe, No hjelpe; ON hjarta "heart": Ic/Fa hjarta, Sw hjärta, Da hjerte, NB hjerte, NN hjarta/hjarte
Aː ⟨á⟩ au(ː) ɔ/ɔaː ɔ/oː ⟨å⟩ ɔ/ɒ: ⟨å⟩ ON láta "to let": Ic/Fa láta, Sw låta, Da lade, No la
ɛː ⟨æ⟩ ai(ː) a/ɛaː ɛ(ː) ⟨ä⟩
ON mæla "to speak": Ic/Fa mæla; ON sæll "happy": Ic sæll, Fa sælur, Sw säl, Da sæl
E ⟨E⟩ ɛ(ː) ɛ/eː
ON menn "men": Ic/Fa menn, Sw män, Da mænd, No menn; ON bera "to bear": Ic/Fa bera, Sw bära, Da/No bære, NN bera; ON vegr "way": Ic/Fa vegur, Sw väg, Da vej, No veg/vei
Eː ⟨é⟩ jɛ(ː) a/ɛaː ⟨æ⟩
ON lét "let" (past): Ic lét, Fa læt, Sw lät
I ⟨I⟩ ɪ(ː) ɪ/iː ɪ/iː ⟨i⟩ e ⟨i⟩/ eː ⟨e⟩ ON kinn "cheek": Ic/Fa kinn, Sw/Da kind, No kinn
Iː ⟨í⟩ i(ː) ʊɪ(ː) ʊt͡ʃː ⟨íggj⟩ ⟨i⟩ ON tíð "time": Ic/Fa tíð, Sw/Da/No tid
ɔ ⟨ǫ⟩ ø > œ(ː) ⟨ö⟩ œ/øː ⟨ø⟩, ɔ/oː ⟨o⟩ ⟨a⟩; ⟨o⟩; ⟨ø⟩ (+r); ⟨å⟩ (+ld,rd,ng) ON hǫnd "hand": Ic hönd, Fa hond, Sw/NN hand, Da/NB hånd; ON nǫs "nose": Ic nös, Fa nøs, Sw/No nos, Da næse; ON ǫrn "eagle": Ic/Sw örn, Fa/Da/No ørn; ON sǫngr "song": Ic söngur, Fa songur, Sw sång, Da/NB sang, NN song
Jɔ ⟨Jǫ⟩ jø > jœ(ː) ⟨jö⟩ jœ/jøː ⟨jø⟩ (j)œ/(j)øː ⟨(j)ø⟩
ON skjǫldr "shield": Ic skjöldur, Fa skjøldur, Sw sköld, Da/No skjold; ON bjǫrn "bear": Ic/Sw björn, Fa/Da/NN bjørn
ɔː ⟨ǫ́⟩ aː > au(ː) ⟨á⟩ ɔ/ɔaː ⟨á⟩, œ/ɔuː ⟨ó⟩ ɔ/oː ⟨å⟩ ⟨å⟩ ON tá (*tǫ́) "toe": Ic/Fa tá, Sw/Da/No tå
O ⟨O⟩ ɔ(ː) ɔ/oː ɔ/oː ⟨o⟩
ON morginn/morgunn "morning": Ic morgunn, Fa morgun, Sw/NN morgon, Da/NB morgen
Oː ⟨ó⟩ ou(ː) œ/ɔuː ɛkv ⟨ógv⟩ ʊ/uː ⟨o⟩ ⟨o⟩ ON bók "book": Ic/Fa bók, Sw/No bok, Da bog
U ⟨U⟩ ʏ(ː) ʊ/uː ɵ/ʉː ⟨u⟩
ON fullr "full": Ic/Fa fullur, Sw/Da/No full
Uː ⟨ú⟩ u(ː) ʏ/ʉuː ɪkv ⟨úgv⟩ ⟨u⟩ ON hús "house": Ic/Fa hús, Sw/Da/No hus
Jó ⟨Jó⟩ jou(ː) jœ/jɔuː (j)ɛkv ⟨(j)ógv⟩ jɵ/jʉː ⟨ju⟩ ⟨y⟩ ON bjóða "to offer, command": Ic/Fa bjóða, Sw bjuda, Da/No byde
Jú ⟨Jú⟩ ju(ː) jʏ/jʉuː (j)ɪkv ⟨(j)úgv⟩ ON djúpr "deep": Ic/Fa djúpur, Sw djup, Da dyb, NB dyp, NN djup
ø ⟨ø⟩ ø > œ(ː) ⟨ö⟩ œ/øː ⟨ø⟩ œ/øː ⟨ö⟩
ON gøra "to prepare": Sw göra
øː ⟨œ⟩ ɛː > ai(ː) ⟨æ⟩ ⟨ø⟩ ON grœnn "green": Ic grænn, Fa grønur, Sw grön, Da grøn, No grønn
Y ⟨Y⟩ ɪ(ː) ɪ/iː ⟨ö⟩; ⟨y⟩ ON dyrr "door": Ic/Fa dyr, Sw dörr, Da/No dør ON fylla "to fill": Ic fylla, Fa/Sw fylla, Da fylde, No fylle
Yː ⟨ý⟩ i(ː) ʊɪ(ː) ʊt͡ʃː ⟨ýggj⟩ ʏ/yː ⟨y⟩ ⟨y⟩ ON dýrr "dear": Ic dýr, Fa dýrur, Sw/Da/No dyr
ɛI ⟨EI⟩ ei(ː) aɪ(ː) at͡ʃː ⟨aiggj⟩ e(ː) ⟨e⟩ ⟨e⟩ ON steinn "stone": Ic steinn, Fa steinur, Sw/Da/NB sten, NN stein
œY ⟨EY⟩ ei(ː) ɔɪ(ː) ⟨oy⟩ ɔt͡ʃː ⟨oyggj⟩ œ/øː ⟨ö⟩ ⟨ø⟩ ON ey "island": Ic ey, Fa oyggj, Sw ö, Da ø, No øy
ɔU ⟨AU⟩ øy(ː) ɛ/ɛɪː ⟨ey⟩ ɛt͡ʃː ⟨eyggj⟩ ON draumr "dream": Ic draumur, Fa dreymur, Sw dröm, Da/NB drøm, NN draum
* ^ NB =
Pronunciation of vowels in various Scandinavian languages SPELLING OLD NORSE Modern Icelandic Modern Faroese Modern Swedish
⟨A⟩ a a(ː) a/ɛaː a/ɑː
⟨á⟩ aː au(ː) ɔ/ɔaː –
⟨ä⟩ – – – ɛ/ɛː
⟨å⟩ – – – ɔ/oː
⟨æ⟩ ɛː ai(ː) a/ɛaː –
⟨E⟩ e ɛ(ː) ɛ/eː e/eː
⟨é⟩ eː jɛ(ː) – –
⟨I⟩ i ɪ(ː) ɪ/iː ɪ/iː
⟨í⟩ iː i(ː) ʊɪ(ː) –
⟨O⟩ o ɔ(ː) ɔ/oː ʊ/uː; ɔ/oː
⟨ó⟩ oː ou(ː) œ/ɔuː –
⟨ǫ⟩ ɔ – – –
⟨ǫ́⟩ ɔː – – –
⟨ö⟩ – ø > œ(ː) – œ/øː
⟨ø⟩ ø – œ/øː –
⟨œ⟩ øː – – –
⟨U⟩ u ʏ(ː) ʊ/uː ɵ/ʉː
⟨ú⟩ uː u(ː) ʏ/ʉuː –
⟨Y⟩ y ɪ(ː) ɪ/iː ʏ/yː
⟨ý⟩ yː i(ː) ʊɪ(ː) –
⟨EI⟩ ɛi ei(ː) aɪ(ː) –
⟨EY⟩ œy ei(ː) ɛ/ɛɪː –
⟨OY⟩ – – ɔɪ(ː) –
⟨AU⟩ ɔu øy(ː) – –
* Germanic a-mutation * An Introduction to Old Norse —A common textbook on the language * List of English words of Old Norse origin * Old Norse morphology —The grammar of the language. * Old Norse orthography —The spelling of the language * Old Norse poetry * Proto-Norse language —The Scandinavian dialect of Proto-Germanic that developed into Old Norse
* ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank,
Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Old Norse".
Glottolog 2.7 . Jena: Max Planck
Institute for the Science of Human History.
* ^ Torp, Arne, Lars S. Vikør (1993)
* ^ Peter Tunstall. Review of The syntax of Old Norse: With a
survey of the inflectional morphology and a complete bibliography.
* ^ A B C D E F G Adams, Charles Kendall (1895). Johnson\'s
Universal Cyclopedia: A New Edition. D. Appleton, A. J. Johnson. pp.
* ^ A B Article Nordiska språk, section Historia, subsection
Omkring 800–1100, in
* ^ A B C D E Introduction to Letter A * ^ Introduction to Letter Ö (Ø): 1, 2 * ^ Formation of Words – Vowel Changes; Page 1: Umlaut, Breaking (Resolution); Page 2: Breaking, Absorption and Contraction, Ablaut * ^ Noun Tables, Remarks on the 1st Strong Masculine Declension (Assim.: Note 3.α) * ^ References to words labelled heterogeneous in gender: Lilja-Linditre; Muna-Mundr * ^ Introduction to Letter R * ^ A B C Introduction to Letter Æ (Œ) * ^ Introduction to Letter E: 1, 2
* Cleasby, Richard. Vigfússon, Guðbrandur. An Icelandic-English Dictionary. Oxford: Clarendon Press, (1874). @: Germanic Lexicon Project (images, text). Google Books (images)
* Gutasagan, Lars Aronsson, ed.
Project Runeberg (1997), Facing Text
Translation by Peter Tunstall
* Harbert, Wayne. The Germanic Languages. Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press (2007)
* Haugan, Jens. Right Dislocated 'Subjects' in
* Byock, Jesse (2013). Viking Language – Learn Old Norse, Runes, and Icelandic Sagas. Jules William Press. ISBN 978-1-4802-1644-0 . * Gordon, Eric V.; A. R. Taylor (1981). An Introduction to Old Norse. Oxford: Clarendon Press. ISBN 978-0-19-811184-9 . * Sweet, Henry (1895). An Icelandic Primer, with Grammar, Notes, and Glossary. Univerzita Karlova. * Torp, Arne, Lars S. Vikør (1993), Hovuddrag i norsk språkhistorie (3.utgåve), Gyldendal Norsk Forlag AS 2003
* An Icelandic–English Dictionary (1874),
Richard Cleasby and
Gudbrand Vigfusson . @ Internet Archive, Germanic Lexicon Project
(HTML, PNG, TIFF)
* G. T. Zoëga, A Concise Dictionary of
Old Icelandic (1910),
Univerzita Karlova – UK (in Czech)
* "Ordbog over det norrøne prosasprog – A Dictionary of Old Norse
Prose." Copenhagen 1989–. (Scientific dictionary of
THIS SECTION NEEDS EXPANSION. You can help by adding to it . (January 2010)
* Bayldon, George. An Elementary Grammar of the
OLD NORSE TEST of at Wikimedia Incubator
OLD NORSE REPOSITORY of
For a list of words relating to Old Norse, see the OLD NORSE
LANGUAGE category of words in
* Heimskringla.no, an online collection of
* ^ Geir T. Zoëga. "A Concise Dictionary of Old Icelandic — Словари — Северная Слава". norroen.info. Retrieved 2016-09-04. * ^ "Lexicon Poeticum : Index Page". Notendur.hi.is. 2003-03-08. Retrieved 2