13 Facts About Old Icelandic


Old Norse, Old Nordic, or Old Scandinavian, is a stage of development of North Germanic dialects before their final divergence into separate Nordic languages.

FactSnippet No. 2,435,690

Old Icelandic Norse was spoken by inhabitants of Scandinavia and their overseas settlements and chronologically coincides with the Viking Age, the Christianization of Scandinavia and the consolidation of Scandinavian kingdoms from about the 7th to the 15th centuries.

FactSnippet No. 2,435,691

Old Icelandic Gutnish is sometimes included in the Old Icelandic East Norse dialect due to geographical associations.

FactSnippet No. 2,435,692

Today Old Norse has developed into the modern North Germanic languages Icelandic, Faroese, Norwegian, Danish, and Swedish, of which Norwegian, Danish and Swedish retain considerable mutual intelligibility while Icelandic remains the closest to Old Norse.

FactSnippet No. 2,435,693

Old Icelandic was very close to Old Norwegian, and together they formed Old West Norse, which was spoken in Norse settlements in Greenland, the Faroes, Ireland, Scotland, the Isle of Man, northwest England, and in Normandy.

FactSnippet No. 2,435,694

Old Icelandic Norse had an influence on English dialects and Lowland Scots, which contain many Old Icelandic Norse loanwords.

FactSnippet No. 2,435,695

Old Icelandic Norse had nasalized versions of all ten vowel places.

FactSnippet No. 2,435,696

Unlike Proto-Norse, which was written with the Elder Futhark, runic Old Icelandic Norse was originally written with the Younger Futhark, which had only 16 letters.

FactSnippet No. 2,435,697

The standardized Old Icelandic Norse spelling was created in the 19th century and is, for the most part, phonemic.

FactSnippet No. 2,435,698

Plurals of neuters do not have u-umlaut at all in Swedish, but in Faroese and Old Icelandic they do, for example the Faroese and Old Icelandic plurals of the word land, lond and lond respectively, in contrast to the Swedish plural land and numerous other examples.

FactSnippet No. 2,435,699

Old Icelandic Norse was a moderately inflected language with high levels of nominal and verbal inflection.

FactSnippet No. 2,435,700

Old Icelandic Norse had three grammatical genders – masculine, feminine and neuter.

FactSnippet No. 2,435,701

Subsequently, Old Icelandic Norse became the vehicle of a large and varied body of vernacular literature.

FactSnippet No. 2,435,702