Our aim is to revive, restore and reconstruct the Old Norse tongue!
 
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Sveinn
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PostSubject: Please read!   Thu Jun 03, 2010 2:47 am

This is a community for Old Norse enthusiasts, you should be dedicated (even if only to a slight degree) to learning
or attempting to learn the Old Norse tongue. There is no pressure of course, but for the purposes of achieving our aim, we like people who show interest and dedication.

To explain our aim... "To revive, restore and reconstruct the Old Norse tongue!"
Well... firstly, what is the Old Norse tongue? Well, there are many ways of explaining; an inaccurate and unsatisfactory one is that it is the language of the vikings. More adequate is to say that the Old Norse tongue is the mother language of modern Icelandic, Faroese, Norwegian, Swedish, Danish and Norn. For the purposes of a modern language reconstruction, spelling and dialect have to be standardized so this forum is dominantly West Norse but I welcome anyone with an interest in the Eastern dialect and encourage their efforts.

Revive: How do we revive a dead language? Our primary aim, if all else fails, is to raise awareness of this ancient language. Latin and Ancient Greek are well-known and have uses in law and science. Even whilst Old Norse has little influence today... it is the most beautiful and poetic language of all history, and deserves recognition.

Restore: How do we restore a dead langauge? Our secondary aim, is to get people speaking the language. The key to any language is speakers to use it. With only one man, language is impossible. One man produces only speech... when another hears it... it becomes language. When many speak, and many listen... then does a language become strong.

Reconstruct: How do we reconstruct a dead language? Our final aim, is to fill in the gaps. All we have left are rune carvings, sagas, poems and the modern languages that are descended from Old Norse... to reconstruct a language, we need to rebuild it completely! An ancient language as a modern language is a challenge... but the most important part is adapting it and making it relevant to modern day life. To speak Old Norse as it was spoken in the days of Eric the Red is to speak of farming methods, battle techniques and other things that are no longer relevant... how could we write instructions for an iPod nano for example? If all we have is the centuries-old literature?

But wait! If Icelandic is the closest language to Old Norse.. surely modern Icelandic words could suffice? No... not quite. Icelandic is a great modern language... and more than most languages does it keep its identity by not adopting foreign words... but Old Norse is very different from Icelandic... and even if Old Norse words for modern day concepts are very similar to modern Icelandic words, it is important that there is a strong understanding of the history of Scandinavia. To know Old Norse is to know the minds of our ancestors. The more we learn o Old Norse, the more we understand the way in which the Old Norsemen thought... and to learn how an Old Norseman thinks, is a great tool indeed for learning Old Norse.

So! Come on friends! Bring back not just a dead language... bring back a way of thinking, a lost wisdom, the old way of seeing the world. Bring back an ancient understanding of the universe and our place within it. Bring back the ancient Scandinavian spirit. Bring back the Germanic culture! And show the world that the Germanic peoples are the greatest of them all!...

But! It is one thing to be proud of a cultural heritage... and another thing to enforce it. Anyone who believes in a true Aryan race can go to Helheimr! Nazis and extremists are not welcome! You will be axed in the head. It's people like you who give us a bad name. Maybe one day... one day in hundreds of years... we can have the swastika symbol returned to its true meaning. A symbol of Thor and of peace... not a twisted image of pain and suffering and ignorance.


Also:
If anyone needs a bit of help understanding the frequently used Old Norse terms in this forum then here is a bit of help.


Norrœna - Old Norse

Heima - Homepage or Index
F:A:Q - I won´t insult your intelligence Cool
Sœkja - Search
Liðar - Memberlist
Gruppar - Usergroups
Profíl - Profile
Sendirún/SR - Message
Engar Sendirúnar - No messages
Nýjar Sendirúnar - New messages
Ríta inn - Register
Log þú inn - Log in
Log þú út - Log out

Nýr Spjallþraðr - New topic
Svar - Reply
Læst - Locked

If you forget these terms, you can usually see a translation by hovering the cursor over a button for a few moments.


If there´s anything else you don´t understand, then you can always message me!


Last edited by Sveinn on Thu Jul 29, 2010 2:31 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Heri Joensen
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PostSubject: Old Norse v/s Old West Norse   Wed Jul 28, 2010 8:15 am

Fascinating project, that I'd gladly support.

However, I must point out that if you are talking only about the language that gave rise to Icelandic, Faeroese and Norwegian (should also include Norn) and not Swedish and Danish, you are misrepresenting Old West Norse as Old Norse. There are several hundred years and some geographical distance between those two.

Old Norse includes by definition Swedish and Danish. If you don't want to include those then you should call the language you're trying to revive Old West Norse.
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PostSubject: Re: Please read!   Thu Jul 29, 2010 2:16 pm

Heri Joensen wrote:
Fascinating project, that I'd gladly support.

However, I must point out that if you are talking only about the language that gave rise to Icelandic, Faeroese and Norwegian (should also include Norn) and not Swedish and Danish, you are misrepresenting Old West Norse as Old Norse. There are several hundred years and some geographical distance between those two.

Old Norse includes by definition Swedish and Danish. If you don't want to include those then you should call the language you're trying to revive Old West Norse.

Þakka Heri! I respect your advice greatly and value your knowledge of history and modern Scandinavian languages highly. However, there were a few complications that came through the two dialects.

Old Norse functioning as a modern language would have to conform to other normalities of modern language; specifically standardization of spelling. So there would have to be a standardized spelling and also a standardised dialect. I understand that due to the time period, dialects in general could be said to differ more greatly than they do today, but there still has to be a common dialect. Same as when we learn German we must learn the common or official dialect rather than any Austrian dialects... so I had to take West Norse as the standard for study whilst I will encourage Swedes and Danes to further their own interest in the East dialect. Perhaps I should introduce a new area to the forum for those interested in the East Norse dialect but I won't choose to study that myself as my interest is in the West. I take your point but I will still call it Old Norse as a nickname for Old West Norse, in the same way I would say I speak English and not 'European English', even if the differences are indeed much greater for the two Norse's.

As for Norn, I should have included that. There is already a Norn section of the forum, in which I hope to find some very interesting things as this forum builds. I think I will edit the introduction now to clear up a few points that are unclear.

Lastly, I welcome your support and any input you have. My knowledge of Icelandic and Faroese are very limited and they are the most useful resources in this reconstruction, so anything you can suggest will be greatly appreciated.
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PostSubject: Re: Please read!   Thu Aug 05, 2010 11:47 pm

The difference between West Old Norse and East Old Norse was not too drastic, only dialectal, it still was the same language.

Read more at that great Hawaiian page http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_Norse :

Quote :
The 12th century Icelandic Gray Goose Laws state that Swedes, Norwegians, Icelanders and Danes spoke the same language, dǫnsk tunga. Speakers of the eastern dialect, spoken in Sweden and Denmark, would have said dansk tunga ("Danish tongue") or norrønt mál ("Nordic language") to name their language. Gradually, Old Norse splintered into the modern North Germanic languages: Icelandic, Faroese, Norwegian, Danish and Swedish; but mutual intelligibility has not fully disappeared.

The "Old Norse" without the East/West prefixe Heri is talking about is apparently Proto-Norse (Old Scandinavian, Common Nordic or whatever they call it):

Quote :
Proto-Norse (also Proto-Scandinavian, Primitive Norse, Proto-Nordic, Ancient Nordic, Old Scandinavian and Proto-North Germanic) was an Indo-European language spoken in Scandinavia that is thought to have evolved from Proto-Germanic over the first centuries AD. It is the earliest stage of a characteristically North Germanic language, and the language attested in the oldest Scandinavian Elder Futhark inscriptions, spoken ca. from the 3rd to 7th centuries (corresponding to the later Roman Iron Age and the earlier Germanic Iron Age). It evolved into the dialects of the Old Norse language at the beginning of the Viking Age.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_Norse
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PostSubject: Re: Please read!   Fri Aug 06, 2010 9:09 pm

Heill Electron,

I appreciate your support to this great project and thank you for joining.
But please be assured that I would not have undertaken this project had I not known exactly what Old Norse was. :P
While Wikipedia has its uses, it can only serve to briefly sum up information about subjects which go much deeper than wikipedia can explain. Also, I am certain Harra Joensen knows the difference between Old Norse and Proto-Norse as he has trained as a linguist aswell; and quite probably to a much further degree than I have.

Yes, West Norse and East Norse are dialects but before universal linguistic standardisation (the time where languages started following rules of general spelling and pronunciation), two different dialects differed far more greatly than as they do these days. Back in the 10-12th centuries... and indeed much earlier than that... there was a very fine line between language and dialect.
But as I have mentioned, as this Old Norse or... perhaps New Old Norse (hehe) shall have to conform to rules of modern languages... there must be standardisation... so Old West Norse will have to be the common dialect whilst East Norse will become an interesting alternative. Odinn
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PostSubject: Re: Please read!   Mon Aug 09, 2010 10:51 pm

Well,......... so which period of "Old Norse" is this forum dedicated to? 300-800 (aka "Proto Norse") or 800-1200 (aka "Old Norse")?
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PostSubject: Re: Please read!   Tue Aug 10, 2010 8:01 pm

As fascinating as Proto-Norse is... It would be near impossible to reconstruct, due to the lack of sources.
Old Norse (800-1200) has a lot of literature for reference.
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PostSubject: Let's get one thing straight   Wed Aug 25, 2010 5:02 pm

Hi there,

I feel I have to add my voice to this, just to make sure that everyone's clear on what is chiefly meant by Old Norse. Proto-Norse--which gave rise to Old Swedish, Old Danish and Old Norwegian--was spoken from about 200 until roughly 700 AD. Before the 700s, Scandinavians could talk to Germans and Englishmen and expect to be understood, even when uttering sentences with complex nuances. By Old Norse one generally refers to Old West Norse--not Old Swedish and Old Danish--which lasted from about 700 to 1350 AD, and which gave rise to Faroese, Norn, Icelandic, Greenlandic Norse and Modern Norwegian. In historical contexts one tends to dub all these Insular Scandinavian languages Old Norse, due to simplicity. However, in learning at universities Old Norse one always refers to either Old West Norse or Old Icelandic. There are two ways of reconstructing the pronunciation of Old West Norse, one being based on a comparison of living West Scandinavian dialects, the other being based on Icelandic pronunciation.

According to professor Kenneth W. Harl, after the 8th century communication between North-Germanic speakers and West-Germanic speakers became too difficult for complex nuances to be understood. This evolution was probably due to the Justinian plague during the 530s; which is thought to have been a common phenomenon for all of Europe, in wiping out an hitherto unknown but perhaps considerable part of the population. It is likely that the language evolved so swiftly due to the social unrest which followed because of the plague. To illustrate how this phenomenon could have mattered, I can add that the Black Plague also proved to be fatal for Old West Norse in Norway, from the late 1340s onwards.

Also, you have to pay attention to the fact that Scandinavians were Christianized at a much later point than their highly-esteemed neighbors, the Franks--giving rise to some sort of culture clash between the North and the South. Germanic-speakers could communicate, with some effort and good-will, but if a Norwegian were to be telling a German an anecdote of some sort in the 10th century, he could hardly expect to be understood. Basic vocabulary was understandable, such as it still is to this very day--consider English "to eat", German "essen", Dutch "eten", Norwegian "eta", Icelandic "eta"--but not beyond that. This was perhaps a tad bit different in England due to the Danelaw--Old Norse influenced Old Anglo-Saxon to a very high degree indeed, so some general knowledge of Old Norse is thought to have been very likely. Evidence of the enormous influence Old Norse played can be found in the everyday vocabulary, for example the English personal pronoun "they", which came from Old Norse "þeir". For a personal pronoun to gradually change, from O.E. hi, hie, to they by about 1400, a culture has to exercise a considerable degree of influence on the other.

Old West Norse gave rise to Icelandic, Faroese, Norn and Norwegian. "The Old Norse tongue"--in the historical context meaning Old Danish, Old Norwegian and Old Swedish--was only written down in short, simple messages--in runic form; so the reconstructing of this language would prove futile. Surprisingly, I see that there appears to be some confusion as what exactly is meant by "Old Norse"--even in academia! What is chiefly meant is Old West Norse, but it's not always specified. However, it is worth noting that we cannot resurrect Old Swedish or Old Danish, since it simply cannot be done to the degree of Old West Norse/Old Icelandic. If interested, however, it is worth noting that there indeed is a bible in Gothic online, but I'm not so sure how one would go about the pronunciation.

Quote :
Yes, West Norse and East Norse are dialects but before universal linguistic standardisation (the time where languages started following rules of general spelling and pronunciation), two different dialects differed far more greatly than as they do these days.

This is simply not true--feel free to correct me if I've misunderstood you. The further back in time you go, the more similar related languages become. This is due to a common proto-ancestor. Proto-Germanic was, for instance, the common ancestor of all Germanic languages and is thought to have been spoken up until about 500 BC. The Germanic language of today ultimately trace back to a common birthplace in Northern Germany/Southern Denmark.

I hope this hasn't been received as criticism--I just wanted to clear up some confusion on the subject. Feel free to correct anything you deem to be untrue/inaccurate.

Sandberg
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PostSubject: Re: Please read!   Thu Aug 26, 2010 10:05 pm

Sandberg wrote:

This is simply not true--feel free to correct me if I've misunderstood you. The further back in time you go, the more similar related languages become. This is due to a common proto-ancestor. Proto-Germanic was, for instance, the common ancestor of all Germanic languages and is thought to have been spoken up until about 500 BC. The Germanic language of today ultimately trace back to a common birthplace in Northern Germany/Southern Denmark.

I hope this hasn't been received as criticism--I just wanted to clear up some confusion on the subject. Feel free to correct anything you deem to be untrue/inaccurate.

Sandberg

Thank you! Very Happy Now hopefully there should be no confusion about what language we're talking about.
But I think you may have misunderstood me on that last point. I was talking about dialects and not languages. Of course languages are more similar as you go back... If you go back far enough, Russian, French and Hindi would all be identical. :P
But I'm saying that with modern technology and media, years past standardisation... dialectal differences can be very minor.
Personally, living in England I would say that there isn't much noticeable difference between the English spoken where I live and English spoken in Scotland... just a few odd pronunciations.

But the difference between two dialects in the previous millenium could be said to be more significant, because there wouldn't be the strong influence of a common standardised pronunciation. If people today always say "How is that spelt" they refer to dictionaries which give them the common standardised spelling... which means everyone is moving closer to the common dialect. Before dictionaries and standardisation people would spell things and pronounce things as they saw or heard from people around them. By the way, I'm not suggesting that there would be any difficulty in two people of different dialects understanding each other... but just that the differences would be more noticeable.

But before we get confused here... as there is also a very fine line between what we call language and what we call dialect... the only language I am trying to reconstruct here is the Old West Norse found in the Eddas. As fascinating as it might have been, any attempts to reconstruct Proto-Norse or Old East Norse or Proto-Germanic would be useless as there is not enough source material.
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PostSubject: Re: Please read!   Tue Mar 15, 2011 4:29 pm

It is clear what is aimed to be accomplished here, glad to be a part of this.
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