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10585RE: Re[2]: [norse_course] Old Norse grammar

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  • Scott
    Sep 7, 2009

      Thanks!  You have affirmed my hypothesis—it was only a guess until your

      reply.  As far as “comprehension in the other direction”, I doubt that very

      many persons speak Old Norse—I know from experience that few speak

      Koine Greek—and their speech is often incorrect: one instructor persisted

      in confusing luo and louo because the [y] sound was not in his aural corpus

      nor in that of any professor in the Greek Department—the largest Koine

      Greek in the world.

      Missed you at KWHSS this weekend.  




      From: norse_course@yahoogroups.com [mailto: norse_course@yahoogroups.com ] On Behalf Of Brian M. Scott
      Sent: Saturday, September 05, 2009 7:13 PM
      To: Scott
      Subject: Re[2]: [norse_course] Old Norse grammar



      At 5:32:54 PM on Thursday, September 3, 2009, Scott wrote:

      > Is Modern Icelandic mutually unintelligible with Old
      > Norse?

      There have been some pretty extensive sound changes. There
      have also been semantic shifts, not to mention a good deal
      of new lexicon. In the personal pronouns the dual has
      replaced the plural in the first and second persons. There
      have been some changes in the endings of the mediopassive
      and subjunctive. I'm pretty sure that there have been some
      changes in sentence-level syntax as well, but I don't know
      enough to say just what they are, and I doubt that they're a
      very formidable obstacle to understanding.

      My best guess is that a fluent speaker of modern Icelandic
      wouldn't have too much trouble with classical ON once he got
      used to the sound changes. To make matters a bit easier, in
      many cases the modern spelling actually points to the older
      sound; <au>, <y>, and <ý> are good examples of this. I
      suspect that comprehension in the other direction would be
      harder but possible, especially if the modern speaker made a
      real effort to be cooperative.


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