Fridays with Norwegian #13 – Nørront (2).


Before I start – If you haven’t checked my first post about it, here it is: Nørront (1)

As we said, Nørront is a name for both Old Norse and Old Icelandic, because the difference between them both was pretty small. The difference started to appear around 13th century so therefore they become more and more different. But only Old Icelandic stayed near Nørront and is believed to be the closest to Nørront from all the Nordic languages. So if someone wants to learn “Vikings” language, they should grab some Icelandic dictionary


At first Nørront was written with runes just like its precursor, urnordisk. I said before one type of the runes was Futhark but we shouldn’t just stick to that one, because it is known that there were three types of futhark.

  1. The older futhark (Den eldre futharken) – the oldest of them; it was used to write down German sounds (urnordisk and other German dialects) around 100-600 a.d. oldest-futhark.jpg
  2. The younger futhark (Den yngre futharken) – this one is similar or even the same to the one I posted before in separated post. I wouldn’t call it ‘the same’, because its origin is Bergen, which is known to be influenced by a lot of thing since its position on Norwegian map. It had 16 runes, it was basically reduced version of the older futhark. It was used mostly between 500 and 800 a.d. which is known to be the Viking Age. And here the difference between futhark actually appear, it divided mainly between Normal Runes (Danish Runes) and Swedish-Norwegian Runes. That’s why when you see futhark it’s easy to say if it’s younger or older, but it’s hard to point the place where it’s fromfuthark2
  3.  The later Futhark  – this is the last one, and the one who was mostly influenced by incoming Latin language.  The runes become more and more similar to Latin writing, so after some time it was easier to just use Latin instead. We can say that runes stopped being used around 13th and 14th century.

The one of the main differences about Nørront and Bokmål or Nynorsk is the Syntax. Syntax is basically a section of linguistics learning, where placement of word can change it meaning. So in Nørront there could be this example:

Olafr gaf Haraldi hest.
Haraldi gaf Olafr hest.

Which in modern Norwegian would be:

Olaf gave a horse to Harald

Harald gave a horse to Olaf

But speaking of Nørront, those sentences mean the same thing, which would be that Olaf gave a horse to Harald (Olaf gave Harald a horse). So when it comes to translating poems and other types of litterature from Nørront-period, it can be really tricky. Its all about looking for grammatical cases.


I wish those two posts shows some interesting bits and facts about this amazing part of Norwegian. Next week I will do something about Icelandic, which I’m studying right now (it’s not part of my studies though).

Have a nice weekend as usual.






Author: againorway

a dreamer trying to make a living in Norway

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