Knutti speaks in Old Norse at the Viking gift shop in York


Knutti the Viking spoke a language called Old Norse. He called his language dansk tǫngu (Danish tongue) or norrænt mál (Northern speech).

Many of Knutti's customers at his store were the local Anglo-Saxons. They spoke Old English. Speakers of Old Norse and Old English could understand each other. This was likely a huge relief for Knutti!

Today, we're not sure which language, Old English or Old Norse, gave us certain vocabulary because the two languages were so closely related!

To the left, Knutti is saying "Hæll ok sæll!", which means "Hello!".

Today, Old Norse survives as Icelandic, Norwegian, Swedish and Danish.

Old Norse also survives in Modern English. With a little help, it is possible for English speakers to recognise many Old Norse words from a thousand years ago. There are many examples.

Can you learn a few words of Knutti's language? See Speaking Norse.