The Scandinavian languages form the Northern branch of the Germanic languages. In the Middle Ages they were divided in two quite close stocks: West Scandinavian (Norway, Iceland, Greenland, Faroe, Shetland and Orkney Islands) and East Scandinavian (Sweden and Denmark). “Old Norse” is a not very precise term that covers the written forms of Old Scandinavian; according to authors, it may either cover all dialects, either West Scandinavian only. The best attested variety by far is Old Icelandic; “classical” Old Norse is the language of the Icelandic sagas from the 12th and 13th centuries. Tolkien knew this language well and delighted in its literature. The “outer names” of the Dwarves, by which they are known to us, and the name of Smaug as well, are in Old Norse, which represents the tongue of Dale in the literary device of pseudo-translation set up in The Lord of the Rings. The pronunciation we tried to achieve roughly reproduces early 13th century Icelandic; it would be quite different in the modern language.
– Pater noster
, an Old Norse version from around 1200, edited by Haraldur Bernharðsson.
– Reckoning of the Dwarfs
an extract of the Vǫluspá
, from the Elder Edda
Njǫrðr and Skaði
– Chapter 23 of the Gylfaginning
from the Prose Edda
by Snorri Sturluson.
The death of Hervǫr
– Excerpts from the chapters 13 and 14 of the Hervarar saga ok Heiðreks konungs
(Saga of Hervǫr and King Heiðrekr).
The works of John Ronald Reuel and Christopher Tolkien are under the copyright of their authors and/or rights holders, including their publishers and the Tolkien Estate.
Quotations from other authors, editors and translators mentioned in the bibliography are under the copyright of their publishers, except for those whose copyright term has ended.
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