--- In norse_course@egroups.com, Deep Stream <DeepStream@...> wrote:

> As long as we're on the subject (please feel free
> to ignore if I'm getting too far ahead).

This is slightly ahead, yes, but it was I who started on the "heilsa"
thing, so I might as well make sure we all understand how to normally
greet people :)

> Does ON have a formal with a separate
> conjugation? In German the formal applies to all
> strangers, but in English there is only a
> "superformal" (when referencing royalty) which is
> built simply with the plural - does ON use
> something like this, and does it also only apply
> to royalty?

Well, not really; however, the old Imperial Roman custom of speaking
to royalty in plural became customary among ON speakers too. It became
so widespread in English that now you all speak to each other in
plural at all times ("you are" being said to one person just as well
as many). So if you sometime get around to reading ON texts, don't be
surprised to see the hero poet addressing the king as if he were many,
while trying to make a good impression.

> What about "diminutive" - does ON have diminutive
> (like German "Frau" to "Fraeulein" = "Mrs" to
> "Miss") and if so does the gender shift for nouns
> in the diminutive? Imagine the female name
> "Hilde" becoming "Hildelein" - would the greeting
> change (ie "Heil Hilde!" en "Heilt Hildelein!")?

ON does have diminutives (commonly -ill and -lingr/-ingr, which both
change the gender to masculine), but none of them are used with titles
of any sort. The -ingr suffix, however, is peculiarly added to
nationalities with -land in it, yielding "Íslendingr" (Icelander) and
"Englendingr" (Englishman) for example.