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Re: [norse_course] introduction, a couple of stanzas, et c.

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  • sean de vega
    Hi Cathy, You know, I have no knowledge of anything like that. I know E. Douglas Mitchell taught a course called Topics in Germanic Linguistics: Old
    Message 1 of 40 , Jun 6, 2003
      Hi Cathy,
      You know, I have no knowledge of anything like that.  I know E. Douglas Mitchell taught a course called "Topics in Germanic Linguistics: Old Icelandic" last semester, but I didn't know they had a course that fits your description.  I think that's great; expect to see me there! I will be doing research at U. Iowa all summer, but when I get back I would be pleased to hear any further info about the course, should it start again this fall.
      Also, what's the SCA scene like in Houston? Maybe that would be more appropriate for private email correspondence, but I once went to a SCA thing over at UH when I was younger.  I've been told that I would really fit in with the heraldry group there.
      ----- Original Message -----
      Sent: Thursday, June 05, 2003 10:49 AM
      Subject: Re: [norse_course] introduction, a couple of stanzas, et c.


      I have recently learned from a new house member that there is a once a week night course for ON at Rice University.  Do you know of it or are you in the class?  I am hoping that it will be offered in the fall as I'd like to take it.  Although, I must say, Haukur's course is wonderful and I share it with other members of my house and fellow SCA friends at our events.  Also, the fantastic input from all the 'wise' people on the ON yahoo group is priceless and I enjoy the daily e-mails.  One thing for sure, I may not be able to pronounce the ON properly, but I can understand what I read and am daily learning the backbone of the language...thanks to Haukur and all the knowledgeable linguists that participate in the group.   Needless to say, my south Texas hearing has a difficult time with all the nasal vowels and regular vowels, and I swear my tongue falls over them instead of speaking them but I'm determined to speak it properly.  That's the main reason I want to take the course at Rice, surely the teacher will encourage speaking ON in class and guide us in the proper pronunciations. 

      So, please, If you do know anything of the ON course at Rice, would you mind sharing the information with me? 



        At 01:52 PM 6/4/2003 -0500, you wrote:

      Hello all!
      My name is Sean, and I'm pleasantly surprised to have found an entire listserv dedicated to the discussion of ON.  I was really just expecting a few websites of less than dubious quality.  There is so much out there! I'm glad I consulted the internet!
      Anyway, I'm currently working thorough “The Waking of Angantýr”.  Does anyone with more than extraordinary confidence in her/his own pronunciation and inflection wish to help me with an audio recording of the work? It's only 146 lines!
      I've already begun my polished translation, which begins,
         A young may met          a man with his herd
         as the sun was setting     on Munarvágr.
         The herdsman said,
         "Who is come              all alone to this isle?
         Hie you hence, and      home to a hostel!"
      (Let me know if you have any pointers on this wee bit at the beginning.  I'm rather fond of archaïc diction, as was a somewhat hero of mine, William Morris.)  I just thought I'd give a little bit to see if I'm wildly off base.
      Oh, well, if there are no takers (it was, I admit, a somewhat craven request for help), that's ok - I'm very pleased to have found you lot!
      How neat!
      Blessings, frith, and mirth to you all.
      Sean David de Vega
      Senior, English / Classics
      School of the Humanities
      Rice University
      AIM: theboyacadem
      WWW: http://www.livejournal.com/users/theboyacadem
      "We could welcome responsibility / like a long-lost friend /
      and reestablish laughter / in the doll's house once again "
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    • Bottom (METRO)
      ... Saell. I m still setting up a new computer with Linux, so the sticky keys haven t been enabled yet. No accents. ... Fair enough. ... Tradeoffs can be
      Message 40 of 40 , Jun 16, 2003
        > Sæll, Metro-Bottom.

        Saell. I'm still setting up a new computer with Linux, so the sticky
        keys haven't been enabled yet. No accents.

        > > Again, your "correct" version is actually dogmatic and stodgy, and does
        > > not take into account the lack of knowledge that this individual has. By
        > > bringing him up to speed by starting at his own level, one is sure to
        > > have more effective instruction.
        > Fair enough. It may be worth mentioning, though, that he didn't seem to
        > understand your "simple" version any more than my "dogmatic" one :)

        Fair enough.

        > > Sometimes, a *little* incorrectness isn't wrong. You start with what
        > > people know and then work to correct it. Correction is not always
        > > immediate, especially when there is no ready method in a text-based
        > > forum to convey the sound of something (especially in the absence of a
        > > native speaker).
        > You're right, of course. There is a continuum where you can choose various
        > levels of accuracy and simplicity. Ideally explanations are both very simple
        > and completely accurate but in reality there's often a tradeoff between the two.

        Tradeoffs can be corrected. It's a matter of slowly pulling someone out
        of their old habits by replacing them (often one at a time) with newer,
        better habits. This process can be time-consuming, and there are bound
        to be errors.

        It also teaches people not to believe everything I say simply because I
        say it's so. Though I like it when people believe me, I would prefer
        that people question me because it is evidence of THOUGHT and this is
        the key to true understanding. Working with Americans has taught me that
        the bulk of us are notoriously lazy thinkers. Getting them out of that
        habit is the first step.

        > I'm wary, however, of saying anything that isn't strictly correct - even
        > if it's "helpful". Plans like that tend to backfire. If I tell one person
        > that he's probably best of pronouncing Old Norse 'x' as English 'x' - and
        > even if I qualify it heavily with words like APPROXIMATELY - things can
        > quickly get out of hand. That person will tell the next person to prounounce
        > ON 'x' as English 'x' and he will omit my qualifications. Then we have someone
        > "knowing" something which is plainly wrong and me being the ultimate source
        > for it.

        I use words like "tend" and "tendency toward" so that people learn that
        this may not be 100% correct. Pronunciations of words is one example:
        this is why the process I use to teach is:

        1) Creation of Paradigm
        2) Habit Formation
        3) Correction
        4) Refinement
        5) Self-Directed Perfection
        6) Perfection with Feedback
        7) Habit Formation
        8) Refinement
        9) Perfection

        It is long, arduous, tedious, and boring from both the instructor's and
        student's perspectives, but the end result is one of quality, and this
        process can be used for anything.

        Saying something that is 'APPROXIMATELY' holds little meaning for those
        who are in a hurry. By notifying them that you're giving them something
        close, you ultimately increase the chances that they're likely to be
        automatons who never seek for themselves, relying on you for their
        answers. In my way, I teach people to become students rather than
        relying on them to simply be so.

        Both ways have their strong and weak points. This person wasn't serious
        about learning, or he would have asked for more detail.

        > You can easily imagine how misunderstandings like "Final 'r' in ON is silent"
        > can arise with this method (and in other ways as well as I've mentioned before).

        I never said it was. I actually argued against it. However, I was
        ultimately shot down by the fact that I didn't start low enough on the
        linguistic end of things for this person's understanding.

        > But of course pronunciation is always approximate to some degree and I might
        > as well admit to using the "write it out as it's pronounced" method myself :)

        Writing evolved as an approximation of speech. It's natural to learn
        this way.

        > A recent IM communication with my 11 years old brother went something like this:
        > - - -
        > Sverrir: "Hvernig er enska orðið yfir 'vísindi'?"
        > Haukur: "Það er 'science', borið fram 'sæens'."
        > - - -
        > Of course "science" isn't really pronounced exactly as Sverrir will
        > read "sæens" but I know it's good enough to be useful and then some.
        > The Icelandic orthography is also probably more useful for pseudo-phonetic
        > transcription than the English train-wreck.

        Where you both speak English to some degree, that makes perfect sense. I
        see no fault with it at all.

        > And then, I don't pronounce English perfectly either. See the next post.

        As a native speaker of English, I can say honestly that I don't
        pronounce it perfectly, either.

        Don't sweat it. Your old habits stay with you beginning about age 15.

        > > ON/b = Old Norse/Bokmal (forgive the lack of accents, I'm in a rush to
        > > get out the door) and ON/I = Old Norse/Icelandic. There is a distinct
        > > fracture between the two languages, though they have the same roots. I
        > > was demonstrating that what one person knows is not always apparent to
        > > another, especially when one uses terms that the other doesn't
        > > understand.
        > I've never heard of "Old Norse/Bokmål" but I assume you mean Old Norwegian.
        > So, do you have an example of a manuscript that spells the name as you
        > suggest (with two s's and one n)?

        Old Norse broke into two distinct branches: Old Icelandic (what we
        commonly refer to as Old Norse), and a modern dialect, Bokmal.
        Linguistically, both are in the Northern Gothic language tree.

        As for the name, I was pulling it out of my head, and I meant two N's.

        > > All joking aside, I think that we simply have a difference of opinion
        > > where styles themselves are concerned. It's not that I doubt you know
        > > your stuff (you've demonstrated admirably that you do), it's more that
        > > you are at such a high level that the lower levels are beginning to
        > > escape you.
        > Fair enough. Or close enough to fair enough.
        > > -Ragin Bragisbjörn Gullintannisson
        > I've never heard the names 'Ragin', 'Bragir' or 'Tannir'.
        > It seems likely to me that you are confused about the genitive
        > ending of weakly declined masculine words
        > nom. Bragi
        > acc. Braga
        > dat. Braga
        > gen. Braga
        > So "Bragi's bear" is 'Bragabjörn' etc. Look this up in your grammar.

        Actually, that's my name. My mother's American-Irish, and I suspect she
        had large influence in that. My father was away for six months in Viet
        Nam at the time I was born, so I don't think he had a lot of say in the

        Ragin is probably Regin. I never asked. It's pronounced the same,

        Gullintannisson is the surname on that one. Probably Gullintannir's Son,
        but I haven't ever tried to break it down. My dad's father wasn't known.

        Bragabjorn makes more sense, though, you're right.

        Once again, forgive the lack of appropriate accenture.

        Takk, ok thakka thu fyrir!

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