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> In some manuals, the pronunciation of letter S is as S (deaf) and the
> R final is not pronounced. But I obtained the compact-disc Rímur:
> collection fom Steindór Andersen (Naxos World, 2003): in it, the S is
> sharp with SH (or X), while in all the words the final R is sharp (But
> the god Freyr, after all, would be Frey in the pronunciation, as well
> as Sultur would be Sultu, or Sigurdr is Sigurd)?. After all, which the
> correct one?
> Tanks, Demian
Steindór Andersen is correct. Final 'r' is pronounced where it is
written. In the later middle ages (14th century?), in words like
'sultr' and 'Sigurðr', a extra vowel was inserted: 'sultur',
'Sigurður'. This happened where the -r came after a consonant. But
'Freyr' hasn't changed in this way because the -r follows a vowel.
In many words (including these three), the final -(u)r is an
inflectional ending which shows the nominative case. Nominative case
is usually used for the subject of a clause. When the word has a
different role in the clause, it will have a different case ending, or
no ending at all.
Sigurðr reynir þetta sverð "Sigurd tries this sword."
...kemr Reginn at máli við Sigurð "Reginn comes to talk to Sigurd"
Because of this, -(u)r is sometimes left off IN OTHER LANGUAGES when
writing Old Norse/Icelandic names in these other languages. In
languages with a range of case distinctions on nouns, translators
might replace -(u)r in names with the inflection appropriate to that
language, depending on the context. In less inflected languages, such
as English, the nominative ending of Icelandic names is sometimes used
in all contexts. Other translators leave it off altogether. One
popular method is for the translator to drop -(u)r after a consonant,
but to keep it after a vowel, e.g. Freyr, Sigurd. Of course, this has
nothing to do with how the words are pronounced in Icelandic itself,
ancient or modern.
There are other words where -(u)r is part of the root, e.g. Baldr
(modern Icelandic Baldur). In these, -(u)r is kept in translation.
's' is a voiceless alveolar fricative [s]. It might be realised in
slightly different ways when it comes next to different sounds in a
word, but these are not phonemic differences.
Hope that's not too confusing...