Dusting off the blog to share this video. A group of Norse heathens including religious leaders and scholars came together to make a statement in support of water protectors at Standing Rock, drawing parallels between the Dakota Pipeline and the story of the Eddic poem Gróttasöngr. In the poem, King Fróði maintains a period of peace and abundance through the work of the giantesses Fenja and Menja, but rather than maintain a fair relationship and equilibrium he abuses them in attempt to claim more power and wealth. As a result, they turn on Fróði and spá his downfall (it is implied that they are both predicting and influencing his future; see The Norns in Old Norse Mythology by Karen Bek-Pederson for more on this topic).

Here, the greed of Fróði is compared with Dakota Access — the danger due to the pipeline’s proximity to important water sources, the bulldozing of burial sites, the brutal mistreatment of protesters, etc, not to mention the further contribution to a culture of reliance on fossil fuels.

Donations can be made at http://standwithstandingrock.net/donate/ or by check made out to:

Standing Rock Sioux Tribe
#1 N. Standing Rock Avenue
Fort Yates, ND 58538

Here are more suggestions for how to help.

See also this message from Lakota Chief Arvol Looking Horse.

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Pronunciation

Totally forgot to post on the blog thing here that I added a page on Old Norse Pronunciation, covering several different points in the development from Common West Norse to Modern Icelandic.

I said it on the page and I’ll say it again here: 100% technical accuracy is highly unlikely. But it’s also not a shot in the dark. Using historical linguistics we can, to a large extent (with a lot of help from a 12th-century Icelander’s description of his own language) recreate the phonemic structure of the language (that is, not the actual sounds, or phones). Within that structure there is plenty of room for both temporal and regional variation. However, the changes that are noted are likely the ones that, once they happened, stuck and spread, making way for future developments in the language leading to the Icelandic that is spoken today.

So no, this is not perfect, and even if it were, I would have no way of knowing, but I feel relatively confident that it’s at least an improvement over most of what can be found on the internet and definitely helpful for a student trying to understand the relationships between sounds.

If anyone has any questions or suggestions, feel free to let me know.

Update

Since I haven’t updated in forever, I wanted to post to say that I just finished with something that was taking up all of my time and intend to rededicate myself to this website. I have learned a lot in the past few months and am probably going to revamp a lot of the content that’s already on here along with new stuff. I expect that this will start probably next week or so.

Update to “late additions to the runes”

I stumbled across a page from AM 738 4to with an expanded Norwegian Rune Poem with verses for additions to the standard sixteen “base” runes. I had some trouble translating it, but I’ve posted a normalized version of the text and my tentative attempt at a translation on the “late additions to the runes” page. For convenience, I’ll reproduce the part I just added after the break.

Continue reading

For Danerne

I noticed that of the views this page gets, after the United States, most come from Denmark. If any of you have access to Det Kongelige Bibliotek, aside from being an amazing library in general it also has a lot of online resources, including including the usual journal articles, but also whole ebooks for download. That was how I got, among other things, From Proto-Indo-European to Proto-Germanic by Don RingeRunes and Germanic Linguistics by Elmer Antonsen, and Texts and Contexts of the Oldest Runic Inscriptions by Tineke Looijenga, for example.

I think you have to actually connect to the internet through the library – I wasn’t able to download anything from home when I was in Denmark. It’s a little bit of a pain in the ass because usually you have to download a chapter at a time, and sometimes the books have figures missing and other annoying problems, but it’s still a great resource.

This probably applies to plenty of other libraries all over the world, I just happen to be aware of this one case and thought it was worth pointing out for anyone who didn’t know, but is interested. I have no idea if you can access the same stuff from other libraries in Denmark but it might be worth a shot.

Some folktales

This is kind of off-topic to the rest of the stuff on this website, but we had already done these and I don’t have a folktales website, so we thought it couldn’t hurt to put them here, since a lot of people into Norse language and runes also have an interest in folklore.

My friend and I (mostly my friend) picked out a handful of stories we liked from a couple of Icelandic folklore collections and translated them for another friend of ours. To my knowledge, these haven’t been translated to English before, but I could be wrong. The originals were found in collections by Sigfús Sigfússon and Þorsteinn M. Jónsson (attributions given on individual pages).

Here is the list. Right now there are six stories.

I don’t have specific plans to add to these but if anyone is interested in more, or stories related to a particular topic, let me know, but it will probably take a while to respond.

Runic transliteration and transcription

Anyone interested in working with actual runic inscriptions will usually not be looking at the actual inscription itself, but a representation given by a runologist who has seen it. Since you need to know what you’re looking at, this is a description of the tools runologists use to do that called transliteration and transcription. Read it here: https://ordstirr.wordpress.com/runes/reading-rune-transliterations/