1012.04 - Old Norse

Course number
Old Norse
To provide students with thorough knowledge of Old Norse language.
The course in Old Norse language and grammar is necessary for anyone who wishes to research the history of the Faroese language and Nordic languages in general. The term “Old Norse” refers to the ancient language of Norway and the languages of the countries in the North Atlantic which were settled by the Norwegians. Surviving texts are primarily Icelandic manuscripts from the 13th century, though some of the medieval material, preserved in Icelandic manuscripts, has Norwegian origins. Although there are very few medieval Faroese texts, the Sheep-Breeding Enactment (Seyðabrævið) of 1298 is most significant. In the nineteenth century, the orthography of modern Faroese found form in normalized spellings derived from Old Norse texts, and these texts continue to serve as reference tools for Faroese scholars. A suitable selection of these texts featuring e.g. Snorri’s Edda, Family Sagas and Sagas of Kings will be read throughout the course. Along with the translation and reading of texts, the main principles of Old Norse grammar will be explored with an emphasis on phonetics, inflections and syntax. There will be two lectures per week over the course of three semesters (or the equivalent). For the examination the student is required to: translate an Old Norse text either previously known to the student or unknown to the student; demonstrate a firm knowledge of the Old Norse language system, phonology, morphology and syntax, as it appears in normalized medieval text; describe the distinctive features of the language form in the examination texts, their style and genre; place the texts of the examination in their literary, cultural, and social-historical context and demonstrate knowledge of their preservation. For the examination the student submits 1 Old Norse grammar (e.g. Ragnvald Iversen: Norrøn grammatikk, 7. ed., 1973 or Eskil Hansen, Else Mundal, Kåre Skadberg: Norrøn grammatikk, 1975 or Odd Einar Haugen: Grunnbok i norrønt språk, 2001), 100 pages of prose divided between various types of texts and styles and 1 scholarly work compiled from papers and articles with relevance for the set texts.
Learning and teaching approaches
2 lectures per week over the course of three semesters (or the equivalent).
Assessment method
6-hours written exam with external examiners.
Anfinnur Johansen