1016.11 - Old Norse I

Course number
Old Norse I
The purpose of the course is to provide a good understanding of Old Norse, which is necessary for those who wish to research the history of language, whether Faroese or other Nordic languages. Contemporary written Faroese is based on the general spelling system found in Old Norse texts and in the main the evolution of Faroese is grounded in ancient Old Norse.
The term “Old Norse” refers herein to the ancient language of Norway and the languages of the countries in the North Atlantic that 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 Seyðabrævið, the so-called Sheep Letter, of 1298 and certain texts from the 1400s are the most significant. Relevant Old Norse texts are studied, e.g. Snorri’s Edda and the Icelandic Family Sagas. Along with the translation and reading of texts, the main principles of Old Norse grammar will be explored with an emphasis on phonetics and accidence. The text is the Old Norse grammar of Ragnvald Iversen, Norrøn grammatikk, 7. ed., 1973. The book, Hugin og Munin, by Jonhard Mikkelsen is designed for high school students. It is recommended that students read this text before the class begins. For the examination, the student is required to translate a known Old Norse text, and demonstrate knowledge of the grammar concepts discussed in the course.
Learning and teaching approaches
Instruction takes place two hours per week during the first and second terms. The examination is held at the conclusion of the second term. Old Norse I shall be completed prior to sitting for the examination in Old Norse II.
Assessment method
4-hour, written examination with internal examiners.
Anfinnur Johansen