> > I imagine that the English and Norse mingled for generations
out there in Byzantium, fighting and drinking and dying side by
side. Not that we would know much about that.
> Or about their Gothic comrades...
Exactly. I take references to Garðaríki, Aldeigjuborg, etc. in
Heiðreks seriously. They tell me something about what kind of Norse
person originally told, or influenced the development of, these
tales. VS's telling line (in ctr.23 if I recall) about væringjar
calling the dragon Fáfnir also says something. A connection to the
warrior elite is likely, especially of the travelling variety.
> I wonder how long Norse (in the broad sense including Old Danish)
was spoken in England. I'm sure there must have been some scholarly
attempt to answer that question from the scant evidence... There was
certainly a wealth of Norse words in Early Middle English in dialects
spoken in the old Danelaw areas, even more than have made it into
standard Modern English. We even had our own amateur phonetician,
with the good Norse name of Orm, who devised his own (nearly)
phonetic spelling system not so long after the First Grammarian was
writing his treatise in Iceland.
Gordon has a short section on Norse in England in his Grammar. Not
bad at all. I'm certainly no expert on this. Speaking on the 1st
Grammarian. Junicode will produce his whole alphabet, down to the
nasalized vowels. I've produced a 'true copy' of Islendinga Bók Ara
Fróða Þorgilssonar using Ari's own phonolgy, which, thank heaven, is
still predominant in the surviving copy, using the 1st's alphabet.
He even mentions Ari favourably, so why not. I guess it*s my way of
honouring them both, and I do admire them so. But, even as much as I
would never want to disagree with the 1st, he was definitely wrong
about one thing - he write 'rúnar uísa óskýrt'. Totally false, at
least in his time (early 12th). While he wisely shows 4 new vowel
signs for Norse, adding them to the 5 from Latin, he seems not to
have noticed that the common man's alphabet, learned at home and
used the common folk down to about the reformation, - that is, the
runic one, had 9 vowels in it's West Norse edition of his time. To
boot, it had all of the needed consonants. How could he not have
noticed this, I ask? Everyone except the clergy and the elite used
runes, and we have plenty of example of priests and even munks using
them (inscriptions by them, citations in books - even on the cover
of, and in, Hómilíubók). They used them because everybody else did.
One great thing about Junicode is that I have been able to produce
my text of Ari using runes as well, all comtempory and standard
characters. Perfect. I'll I had to do was add the accents for long
vowels, and I did that below the runes with the accent facing in the
opposite direction. It's quite beautiful, not to mention two thing:
1) the common people then would be able to read it 2) it suggests
that the common folk beat the 1st grammarian to it - they already
had, not some, but all of the need characters. All they needed to
compete with him were the accents ;-) So that's why his successors,
Þóroddr Rúnameistari and Ólafr Hvítaskáld, were still using runes.
No changes were necessary. I've learned something new here.