I'm afraid I don't know of a good website with a guide to Icelandic
manuscript letters and abbreviations. Maybe someone else does? I'm
no expert in such matters, so I'm not sure how much help I can be, but
here's the beginning of the Sheep Letter, from the red letters half
way down the left column.
her hefr rettar bætr hakonar kngs (=konungs/kongs) sonar magnuss kngs.
sva hofu uer ok spurt vm oveniv þa sem fram hef(er) farit i landenu
meir en vera skyldi vm sauð fenað manna.
Normalised Norse Course spelling:
Hér hefr réttarboetr Hákonar konungs sonar Magnúss konungs.
Svá höfu(m) vér ok spurt um óvenju þá sem fram hefir farit í landinu
meirr en vera skyldi um sauðfénað manna.
Hér hefur réttarbætur Hákonar konungs sonar Magnúss konungs.
Svo höfum vér og spurt um óvenju þá sem fram hefur/hefir farið í
landinu meir en vera skyldi um sauðfénað manna.
Things to look out for. The manuscript, as is usual, doesn't
distinguish between long and short vowels. 'i' has what looks like an
accute accent over it, but this doesn't necessarily indicate length.
In certain words, the manuscript doesn't even distinguish long
consonants, e.g. 'han' for 'hann' just above the second red title line
(the one in the right column). The word 'ok' "and" isn't spelt out in
full, just shown with a special mark as we might use the ampersand
symbol. A horizontal dash above a word shows that it has been
abbreviated, eg. fra(m), k(onu)ngs. In the 4th black line of this
extract, 'm' stands for 'mann-', with an 'a' above it representing the
genitive plural ending. Certain letters are used more or less
e : æ
u : v
i : j
au : a/ (these can represent either 'au' or 'ö')
There are also two interchangeable symbols for 's', one more compact
like our 's', the other long like an 'l' with a hook at the top
Besides this, 'i' in unstressed syllables may be spelt 'e', e.g.
'landenu'. There are a set of superscript abbreviations for the
combinations of a vowel + 'r'. The sign like a slanting 's' stands
for 'er' (='ir' in inflections), e.g. hef(er), third black line in
--- In email@example.com
, "Fred and Grace Hatton"
> I googled, but couldn't find the sheep letter in anything except the
> manuscript. If it exists somewhere online in a form other than the
> manuscript, I would love to translate it with Patricia and anyone else
> interested. We could do it "zwischendurch" a couple of lines at a
> maybe Wednesdays - - since it only seems to be six pages.
> If it is only in the manuscript form, maybe Llama Nom could guide us
> source that would help us figure out how the script can be read.
> Fred and Grace Hatton
> Hawley Pa