Old Norwegian

Old Norwegian
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Old Norse

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Old Norwegian refers to a group of Old Norse dialects spoken and written in Norway in the Middle Ages. They bridged the dialect continuum from Old East Norse to Old West Norse.


Old Norwegian vs Common Norse

One of the most important early differences between Old Norwegian and Old Icelandic is that h in the consonant combinations hl-, hn- and hr- was lost in the former around the 11th century, but not in the latter. Thus, one has e.g. Old Icelandic hlíð 'slope', hníga 'curtsey' and hringr 'ring' vs Old Norwegian líð, níga and ringr, respectively.

Old Norwegian had an alternative dual 1st person pronoun, mit, to the Common Norse vit.[1]

Development into Middle Norwegian

The plagues that decimated Europe in the Middle Ages came to Norway in 1349 (Black Plague), killing over 60% of the population.[2] This is probably part of the cause why the process of language development accelerated around this time.[citation needed] The language in Norway after 1350 up to about 1550 is generally referred to as Middle Norwegian. The language went through several changes. Grammar was simplified, including the removal of the cases system and personal inflexion of verbs. A vowel reduction also took place, in some dialects, including in parts of Norway, reducing many of the last vowels in a word to a common "e".

The phonemic repertoire also underwent changes. The dental fricatives, represented by the letters þ and ð disappeared from the Norwegian language generally merging with their equivalent plosive sounds, represented by t and d respectively.

See also

External links


  1. ^ Richard Cleasby, Guðbrandur Vigfússon — An Icelandic-English Dictionary (1874). Eirligr-Ekkill
  2. ^ Harald Aastorp (2004-08-01). "Svartedauden enda verre enn antatt". Forskning.no. http://www.forskning.no/Artikler/2004/juli/1090833676.68. Retrieved 2009-01-03. 

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