Talk:Old Norwegian

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Paragraph[edit]

The second last paragraph:

The plagues that decimated Europe in the Middle Ages came to Norway in 1349 (The Black Plague), and caused the language to fall apart. At that time the wise men holding the key to the language died. Therefore the language went through several changes, including the removal of the cases system and a vowel reduction, reducing many of the last vowels in a word to a common "e".

seems to be too POV. I'll remove it unless anyone can show me wise men actually held the keys to the language...--Felix the Cassowary 11:23, 22 Jan 2005 (UTC)

If you read up on any books on the norse language history, you will find it to be true. Also, the union with Denmark in 1380 was a reason the language demised.

"Held the key to the written language" would be a more correct phrasing. The "wise men" were monks; and that group was severely affected by the plague, because many of them took care of the already sick.

Changing the focus of this article[edit]

The language is generally called old Norse, and it is described in the article on old Norse language. If there is to be any justification for a separate article on old Norwegian, it has to focus on what was specifically Norwegian, as opposed to the rest of the old Norse area.--Barend 16:08, 25 August 2006 (UTC)

None of the changes mentioned outside of the comparison to Icelandic are unique to Old Norwegian. The cutting of cases and inflections is identical to what happened in Old Danish and Old Swedish, and so is dental spirants merging with dental stops. Change of final vowels to "e" is dubious, it is a reduction to ə (schwa) in danish, and I think norwegian too?? And of course the wording is highly confusing: "...in some dialects, including in parts of Norway...": it's worded like the article is actually about Old Norse changes, but it has to be read "...in some dialects [of old norwegian], including in parts of Norway..." which makes little sense, or at worst implies that Old Norwegian was spoken widely outside of Norway.
If the article is cleaned of this non-unique material, and the confusing passages fixed, it reads:

The plagues that decimated Europe in the Middle Ages came to Norway in 1349 (The Black Plague), killing approximately half the Norwegian population, and this was probably part of the cause why the process of language development accelerated around this time. The language in Norway after 1350 up to about 1550 is generally referred to as Middle Norwegian. The language went through several changes. Grammar was simplified. The phonemic repertoire also underwent changes."

That's hardly a justification for an independent status.--AkselGerner (talk) 22:35, 23 March 2008 (UTC)
Even worse, if you read the black death stuff critically it appears that that whole section belongs to a nonexisting article Middle Norwegian rather than to Old Norwegian. Taking that into account all that remains is the following:
"Old Norwegian is a dialect or daughter language of Old Norse, spoken in Norway between 800AD and 1350AD.
And that's completely absurd.--AkselGerner (talk) 00:01, 24 March 2008 (UTC)

Nasal vowels[edit]

Since the only evidence of nasal vowels at all, in any old nordic language is Icelandic (The First Grammatical Treatise), where is the evidence for or against it in Old Norwegian? Old Norwegian might have kept them, and probably did, since the Treatise was written about 250 years after the settlement of Iceland and at that time there was no linguistic confusion. Cheers157.157.230.197 (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 19:11, 4 June 2009 (UTC).

I find it unlikely if no source is given to that effect. If I recall, it is in fact believed that the other Germanic languages also encountered nasalization, but that it disappeared much earlier, and may never have become phonemic. Certainly, as you say, the exclusive evidence isn't evidence of exclusivity. ᛭ LokiClock (talk) 15:44, 2 May 2010 (UTC)
It's completely wrong that the only evidence for nasal vowels is the FGT. For example, the Elfdalian dialects spoken in Dalecarlia, Sweden still have them. It would be very surprising if the nasal vowels weren't pretty standard in most Old Norse dialects, including the Old Norwegian ones.
JiPe ( 193.10.251.194 (talk) 15:47, 14 July 2010 (UTC) )
The dialect in Selbu in Norway has kept nasal vowels up to the present.--213.236.196.39 (talk) 20:21, 29 May 2011 (UTC)
And let me add that the Old Norse feminine and neuter substantive endings -an and/or -in have become /u/ or /o/ in some Norwegian dialects, especially along the coast. The usual explanation for this is that the vowel has been influenced by the following nasal. Later, the nasal quality of the vowel has been lost everywhere except in Selbu. This may indicate that the nasal vowels where preserved in Norwegian for a longer time than in Icelandic. The statement in the text is therefore not only incorrect, it was probably the other way around, Because of this, it should be removed, since it is also unsourced.--213.236.196.39 (talk) 12:47, 30 May 2011 (UTC)
Finally, it's unlikely even the majority of the dialects had merged "long before," as it is estimated that they merged in Old East Norse just the previous century in The Nordic Languages; 202. The typological development of the Nordic languages I: Phonology; 3 Old East Nordic. So I have removed the statement. ᛭ LokiClock (talk) 12:10, 7 August 2011 (UTC)
I was wary about using modern nasals as evidence, as the existence of nasals then and now doesn't mean that they're the same nasals. However, The Nordic languages II refers to the nasals as "still existing in Dalarna." The etymologies of Selbu and Swedish nasals should be investigated. ᛭ LokiClock (talk) 21:54, 10 August 2011 (UTC)

Old Norwegian vs. Old Norse[edit]

I am definitely not an expert on this, but I wonder, is it really possible to speak about Old Norwegian as a unitary phenomena as opposed to e.g. Old Swedish? I would think that Old East Norwegian had more in common with Old Swedish, particularly Old West Swedish, than it had with old West Norwegian. The main reason for this is that there are mountains in between the different parts of Norway, while Sweden and Eastern Norway both are quite flat. --Oddeivind (talk) 20:12, 30 November 2009 (UTC)

Even as the geographical boundary that the East/West Old Norse isogloss represents caused West and East Old Norwegian to diverge, there were still other sound changes that were localized to Norway, not to East Norway or West Norway. These were converging features, coexisting with the diverging features. You can either focus on the diverging features, and discuss West Old Norwegian and East Old Norwegian, or you can focus on the converging features and discuss the unitary Old Norwegian, which is generally pigeonholed as Old West Norse. Neither express the whole of the situation. LokiClock (talk) 20:51, 17 February 2010 (UTC)
Yes, Old East Norwegian and Old West Swedish (i.e., götamål) had more in common with eachother than, say, Old East Norwegian and Old West Norwegian, or Old West Swedish and Old East Swedish (sveamål). The terms Old Norwegian and Old Swedish are based on modern chauvinistic politics. In reality there was a dialect continuum and a few developed written standards that were used over political areas. People in Norway didn't start to speak Old Danish just because the written standard was moved from Western Norway (Bergen, Nidaros) to Copenhagen, just the same way people in Eastern Norway didn't start to speak Old West Norwegian just because the written standard in Norway was based in Western Norway. In Sweden the standard was based in West Sweden, which is the reason "Old Swedish" paradoxically had lost the diphthongs in the 12th century even though they are still existing in e.g. Finland Swedish and Norrlandic, Finland and Norrland being colonized by swedes centuries after the diphthongs were lost! Solution: "Old Swedish" was really Old West Swedish with strong Danish influences, the people in Eastern Sweden (who colonized Finland) spoke practically a different language at the time.
JiPe ( 193.10.251.194 (talk) 16:02, 14 July 2010 (UTC) )