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NORN KJOKL • View topic - Å, aa or á? (Ny)norn as an Insular Scandinavian language.

NORN KJOKL

The Orkney & Shetland Norn Forum
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 08, 2014 10:25 pm 
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It is broadly claimed, that Norn was a 'West Scandinavian' language. The division between West and East Scandinavian, is something we retain from the classic division of Old Norse in West (Iceland, Faroes, Shet./Ork.?, Norway) and East (Danmark, Sweden) Norse. Historically, effectively - as we know from inscription and documents in both 'dialects' - the two were different and had many particular shades not known outside their areas, but it came to be already obsolete by the turn of the millennia. In the following centuries, as Norway came more in contact with its mainland Scandinavian neighbouring countries, than Iceland and the Faroes, this distinction came to be less realistic, with Norwegian being replaced by Dano-Norwegian, a norwegised version of Danish. Modern linguist, realise the distinction between Scandinavian languages to be either Insular or Mainland, that is from the Scandinavian peninsula.

Therefore, I might argue that (Ny)Norn is an Insular Scandinavian language, and not just a 'West Norse' dialect.
The development of vowel á from Norse to present-day Scandinavian seems to follow the Insular / Mainland division.
In the Insular Scandinavian languages (Icelandic and Faroese) long a (á) became a diphthong [ɔaː] (Far.), [auː] (Ice.), while in Mainland Scandinavian it was firstly doubled into aa, then an A with an upper small o, finally a å. The pronunciation, though, did change considerably, being å pronounced [ɔː] and not as a lengthened a. The exception being, strange enough (joking), Faroese, whose short á is indeed pronounced [ɔ] as in 'átta' (eight).

If it is said, for Norn, to be mutually intelligible - if not similar - to Faroese (and especially to the Suðuroy dialect), why do we use å in words of Norse origin, if the [ɔː] sound is a marking feature of a Mainland Scandinavian language?

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en so mykid j Hiatlande ad segs skillingar ok XL hrentadi leigan a huerium tolf manadum... ok þar til oll ol gogn sidan fyrir vttan kannur ok diska ok potta ok onnur elld gogn er hon mintisk ei huorsu morg voru (Húsavíkarbrøvini, 1403)


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 02, 2014 6:23 am 
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Góðan morgun!
So you propose á is used instead?


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 02, 2014 5:29 pm 
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I'm not just proposing that. Well, that might be a "side effect". 8-)
I'll explain myself: if Norn (and consequently Nynorn) is in the same group of the Insular Scandinavian languages, then it is unlikely that ON á /aː/ became as Dan./Nor./Swe. å /ɔː/.
It might have turned into a diphthong (as in modern Icelandic and Faroese) or just simply remained a long vowel.
And - don't insult me - I do not take too seriously Dr. Jakobsen's work on pronounciation: after all, his orthography for Faroese language (thank God they chose Hammershaimb's!!) is nothing but phonetical, even though we usually talk about Nynorn reconstruction based on etymology.

The actual problem is as follows: we have two languages on which Dr. Jakobsen worked, Faroese and Norn. Faroese is clearly an Insular Scandinavian language, and ON á became the diphthong /ɔaː/ which Jakobsen differently spelled <åa> in fåa (Ham.: fáa) and slåa (Ham.: sláa), and <á> in bátur and ár. Fairly inconsistent, under this matter. After all, Jakobsen himself writes hæstur for hestur /ˈhɛstʊr/, bårg for borg /pɔɹk/, fåa for fáa /ˈfɔːa/, rykje for ríki /ˈɹʊiːtʃɪ/ and even sjørta for skjúrta /ʃiːʏʃta/!! In the declension of the Faroese word for "boat" Jakobsen writes the Nsg bátur /ˈpɔɑːʰtʊɹ/ but the Gsg båts ˈpɔʰts/...

Talking about Nynorn, and considering that the PDF version of the description of the Norn language (+ dictionary) by Dr. Jakobsen seems to be corrupted or does not support IPA, or it was electronically converted from another document and thus strange characters compared instead of the supposed ones.. how reliable is the phonological description of Norn? Do I have to read letter "y" as Faroese i /iː/, as Danish y /yː/, or as Faroese í/ý /ʊiːj/ (Jak.'s Faroese orthography proposed y for that diphthong)??

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en so mykid j Hiatlande ad segs skillingar ok XL hrentadi leigan a huerium tolf manadum... ok þar til oll ol gogn sidan fyrir vttan kannur ok diska ok potta ok onnur elld gogn er hon mintisk ei huorsu morg voru (Húsavíkarbrøvini, 1403)


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 06, 2014 2:17 pm 
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First of all; I do not intend to insult you :-P

You seem to have strong arguments for what you propose.
I don't know much about J.J's faroese ortography, other than something I read about it being purely phonetical.
Now, I can only think of an example from my own country to point out why this could be problematical.
A man who lived here in Norway in the end of the nineteenth century, called Olaus Fjørtoft, proposed a spelling directly based on the spoken language of the common people. This argument "fall på si eiga urimelegheit" as we say. There were simply to large differences in pronounciation across norway that such a spelling wouldn't be beneficent. Instead people stuck to I.Aasen's etymological spelling.
One thing that Fjørtoft was succsessful in though, was making writers of the landsmål(early nynorsk) drop unpronounced consonants.
This is still practised today, allthough not completely consistent. For example one writes 'leiar' for 'leidar'(leader) but spells 'huset' and 'tid' where /'hʉːse/ and /ti/
/ is commonly spoken.

I can't comment much on your criticism of J.J's work on norn, since I am not aquainted with it, but your theory that the old norse /á/ evolved into something else than scandinavian /ɔː/ is very interesting, and should be thuroughly discussed.

Do you know if old norse /í,ý/ turned into /ʊiːj/ on Shetland and/or Orkneys?

Maybe it would be good to have discussion on source criticism in the nynorn project.

But that's as far as my current knowledge strechtes, and so also my reply :-P

Thanks for an interesting post!


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 06, 2014 9:05 pm 
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I always think twice before writing.. We have knowledge of the suðuroyamál, the dialect of Suðuroy, whose phonology may be somewhat close to Norn. Nobody will never know about correct pronunciation, but a good reconstruction may favour something less "mainland Scandinavian"-ish. I would like to avoid Åå at all, I'll try to get more infos on the historical development of ON á...

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en so mykid j Hiatlande ad segs skillingar ok XL hrentadi leigan a huerium tolf manadum... ok þar til oll ol gogn sidan fyrir vttan kannur ok diska ok potta ok onnur elld gogn er hon mintisk ei huorsu morg voru (Húsavíkarbrøvini, 1403)


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 06, 2014 9:10 pm 
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So when people say that Norn was historically close to faroese, one could/should look to suðuroyar for refence/inspiration?
How for example is the á and 'll,nn' pronounced there?


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 06, 2014 9:51 pm 
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I just got "The phonology of Icelandic and Faroese" and I was surprised to see 26 results explaining differences or peculiarities of Suðuroyamál... When I'll get home I'll sum then in a comment and post it here... 8-)

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en so mykid j Hiatlande ad segs skillingar ok XL hrentadi leigan a huerium tolf manadum... ok þar til oll ol gogn sidan fyrir vttan kannur ok diska ok potta ok onnur elld gogn er hon mintisk ei huorsu morg voru (Húsavíkarbrøvini, 1403)


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 06, 2014 9:53 pm 
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Great! That would be very interesting! :-D


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 08, 2014 6:45 pm 
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 08, 2014 9:16 pm 
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About the Suðuroyamál. I read the book as I said, though not really in depths because it is a bit complicated.
But I got seven interesting points from that work:

1) monophthongal /e/ in læra [leːɹa], fær and fer [feːɹ] (raising of old open /æ/, merged with etymological /e/);
2) back rounded vowel in the merger of /-ir/ and /-ur/ as in undir [ʊntʊɹ];
3) appearance of rounded vowels in ending like /-in/ as in morgunin [mɔɹkʊnʊn], Fámjin [faːmijʊn], maðurin [mɛaːvəɹøn];
4) preaspiration after long high vowels, as in greytur [grɛiʰtʊɹ], and before /s/ in forms like ísur [ʊʏːʰsʊɹ];
5) clusters of /tʰ/ + /j/ instead of /t͡ʃʰ/ as in tjóvur [tʰjɔuːvʊɹ] and tjaldur [tʰjaltʊɹ], djarvur [tjaɹvʊr] and djúpur [tjʉuːpʊɹ];
6) presence of fricative /ç/ like in Icelandic as in kenna [çɛnːa] (regular Faroese [t͡ʃɛnːa]) or hjallur [çatlʊɹ] (Faroese [t͡ʃatlʊɹ]);
7) initial /j/ as in gjógv [jɔkːv] and geva [jeːva]: words like gjørð and jørð are homophonous ([jœːɹ]).

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en so mykid j Hiatlande ad segs skillingar ok XL hrentadi leigan a huerium tolf manadum... ok þar til oll ol gogn sidan fyrir vttan kannur ok diska ok potta ok onnur elld gogn er hon mintisk ei huorsu morg voru (Húsavíkarbrøvini, 1403)


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