10585RE: Re: [norse_course] Old Norse grammar
- 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: firstname.lastname@example.org [mailto: email@example.com ] On Behalf Of Brian M. Scott
Sent: Saturday, September 05, 2009 7:13 PM
Subject: Re: [norse_course] Old Norse grammar
At 5:32:54 PM on Thursday, September 3, 2009, Scott wrote:
> Is Modern Icelandic mutually unintelligible with OldThere 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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