Old Norse

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Old Norse is a North Germanic language that was spoken by inhabitants of Scandinavia and inhabitants of their overseas settlements during the Viking Age, until about 1300.

The Proto-Norse language developed into Old Norse by the 8th century, and Old Norse began to develop into the modern North Germanic languages in the mid- to late 14th century, ending the language phase known as Old Norse. These dates, however, are not absolute, since written Old Norse is found well into the 15th century.[]

Old Norse was divided into three dialects: Old East Norse, Old West Norse, and Old Gutnish. Old West and East Norse formed a dialect continuum, with no clear geographical boundary between them. For example, Old East Norse traits were found in eastern Norway, although Old Norwegian is classified as Old West Norse, and Old West Norse traits were found in western Sweden. Most speakers spoke Old East Norse in what is present day Denmark and Sweden. Old Gutnish, the more obscure dialectal branch, is sometimes included in the Old East Norse dialect due to geographical associations. It developed its own unique features and shared in changes to both other branches.

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 commonly used term with reference to West Norse, was norrœnt mál ("Nordic speech"). Today Old Norse has developed into the modern North Germanic languages (Icelandic, Faroese, Norwegian, Danish and Swedish), which retain considerable mutual intelligibility.

In some instances the term Old Norse refers specifically to Old West Norse.[]


Contents

See also

Dialectal information

Literature

Introductions

  • Torp, Arne, Lars S. Vikør (1993), Hovuddrag i norsk språkhistorie (3.utgåve), Gyldendal Norsk Forlag AS 2003

Dictionaries

Grammars

Notes

References

External links

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