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Re: Beauty of Old Norse (was Re: New to the list)

From:daniel andreasson <daniel.andreasson@...>
Date:Saturday, June 17, 2000, 19:31
Óskar skrifði:

> Anyhow, we can't say if Old Norse was particularly beautiful or not. I > suspect it had a similar sound to it as continental Scandinavian of today > (Swedish and Norwegian). Icelandic sounds very different from the > Scandinavian languages, and very different from the old language as well (it > sounds like no European language you've heard before - lots of fricatives, > just about any consonant can be unvoiced + very melodic intonation).
You know, I saw a tv-program from Iceland the other week and the narrator was speaking Icelandic, but for the first minute or so, I couldn't tell what it was. I thought it was like Dutch or Switzerdütch(sp?) or something. The Icelandic I've heard before didn't sound like that. Don't tell me you have dialects!
> Many Scandinavians have at least agreed with me in that Icelandic is the > most beautiful Nordic language.
No, that would be Swedish. ;)
> One more thing: to Icelanders themselves, as well as some foreigners, the > beauty of Icelandic lies much more in its prosodic features than its "actual > sounds" (what are "non-prosodics" called again?).
Phonology? :) (For some reason I spelled that "phonolody" the first time. I like that word!) But okey, 'segmentals' is probably the word you're looking for.
> AFAIR, Old Norse was a pitch accent language, like Latin. But don't take me > at my word there (not the kind of info my school system has concerned itself > with).
I think you're right about the pitch accent. My books tell me that the pitch accent came along already in Old Icelandic times. BPJ? ...and when I had written this, I noticed that he had already replied:
> Most likely, tho not inevitable. The two pitch accents didn't become > distinctive until words like akr, sokn, sigl became disyllabic in the > mainland languages. Probably ON had a dynamic stress on the first > syllable and a pitch rise on the last syllable of every word. When these > words became disyllabic there arose a distinction between those disyllabic > words with the pitch rise on the first syllable and those of the old > final-syllable pitch-rise type. In my experience northern Icelandic still > has that non-distinctive pitch rise, tho not as markedly as the dialects of > southern Norway and southern Sweden.
I can nothing but agree. Daniel Andreasson PS. Ser fram emot att träffa alla nordiska conlangare i København om ett par veckor.