Collection: Learn Old Norse Language

Old Norse is a North Germanic language spoken by the inhabitants of Scandinavia during the Viking Age (approximately 8th to 11th centuries). It serves as a crucial window into the cultural, historical and literary heritage of the Norse people. It is the linguistic precursor to modern Scandinavian languages such as Icelandic, Norwegian, Danish, and Swedish. Old Norse played a pivotal role in shaping the identity and communication of early Scandinavian societies.

At its peak, Old Norse was not only spoken in Scandinavia but also wielded significant influence throughout the Viking diaspora, reaching territories as far-ranging as Iceland, Greenland, the British Isles, and even parts of mainland Europe. This widespread distribution facilitated cultural exchange and contributed to the dissemination of Norse mythology, literature, and legal traditions across medieval Europe.

Learning Old Norse is a little like learning German today. Its nouns have cases and its verbs conjugate in many ways. English speakers will recognise many words from their own language, and they can guess a lot of meanings through intuition. It’s worth learning Old Norse if only to enter into the mindset of the formidable warrior, the intrepid adventurer and cunning raider of the past! And remember, Icelanders can still read Old Norse texts with little difficulty, so perhaps try your Old Norse on them!