Languages

Proto-Norse

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Introduction

Proto-Norse was an Indo-European language spoken in Scandinavia that is thought to have evolved from Proto-Germanic over the first centuries AD. It is the earliest stage of a characteristically North Germanic language, and the language attested in the oldest Scandinavian Elder Futhark inscriptions, spoken ca. from the 3rd to 7th centuries (corresponding to the later Roman Iron Age and the earlier Germanic Iron Age).

Proto-Norse to Old Norse

In the period 500–800, two great changes occurred within Proto-Norse. Umlauts appeared which means that a vowel was influenced by the succeeding vowel or semi-vowel, e.g. Old Norse gestr (guest) came from Proto-Norse ȝastiz (guest). Umlauts also resulted in the appearance of the new vowels y (e.g. fylla from *fullian) and œ (e.g. dœma from *dōmian).

Proto-Norse evolved into the dialects of the Old Norse language at the beginning of the Viking Age.

The Proto-Norse verb

  • 4 moods: Indicative, Subjunctive, Optative, and Imperative
  • 2 tenses: Present and Past
  • 3 numbers: Singular, Dual, and Plural
  • 3 persons

Sample verb: kallōn

INDICATIVE OPTATIVE SUBJUNCTIVE IMPERATIVE
Present Preterite
Sg.1 kallōn / kallō kallōðō kalla kallōiā -
Sg.2 kallōR kallōðēR kallēR kallōīR kallō!
Sg.3 kallōð kallōðe kallē kallōĭ̄ kall!
Du.1 kall? kallō? kall? kallō? kall?
Du.2 kall? kallō? kall? kallō? kall?
Pl.1 kallōm kallōðum kallēm kallōīm kallum!
Pl.2 kallōð kallōðuð kallēd kallōīð kalleð!
Pl.3 kallōn / kallō kallōðun kallēn / kallē kallōīn / kallōī kall?

Related topics

References

  • Jóhannesson, Alexander. Grammatik der Urnordischen Runeninschriften. Germanische Bibliothek. Carl Winter's Universitätsbuchhandlung. Heidelberg. 1923.

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