Languages

Old Norse

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Introduction


Red: Old West Norse, light-red: Old East Norse, blue: Gothic, green: other Germanic languages

Old Norse was the North Germanic language spoken by the inhabitants of Scandinavia and their overseas settlements during the Viking Age, until about 1300. It evolved from the older Proto-Norse, in the 8th century and evolved into the modern North Germanic languages after the Viking Age.

Old Norse dialects

Most speakers of Old Norse dialects spoke the Old East Norse dialect in what are present-date Denmark and Sweden. In texts which date from Medieval Icelandic time, writers wrote with Old Icelandic and Old Norwegian dialects. These dialects derive from the Old West Norse dialect.

The Old Norse verb

Verbs were conjugated in person and number, in present and past tense, in indicative, imperative and subjunctive mood.

Verbs are divided into strong verbs and weak verbs. Strong verbs form the past tense with a vowel shift and weak verbs with a -ða/-da suffix.

Sample verb: harðna

Weak verb, class I, characteristic vowel a

INDICATIVE SUBJUNCTIVE IMPERATIVE
Present Preterite Present Preterite
Sg.1 harðna harðnaða harðna harðnaða -
Sg.2 harðnar harðnaðir harðnir harðnaðir harðna!
Sg.3 harðnar harðnaði harðni harðnaði -
Pl.1 hǫrðnum hǫrðnuðum harðnim harðnaðim -
Pl.2 harðnið hǫrðnuðuð harðnið harðnaðið -
Pl.3 harðna hǫrðnuðu harðni harðnaði -

Click verbs to conjugate them in the table above!

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