SCANDINAVIAN 101A: Introduction to Old Norse

MWF 10-11 , Dwinelle 6415. Instructor: Isobel Boles

Units: 4

L&S Breadth: Arts & Literature

(Fall only. Old Norse 101B is offered in the Spring.)

Would you like to learn the language that the stories of the Vikings and their descendants were written and passed down in? Old Norse literature preserves many of these tales in its sagas and poetry. In reading this literature, one can learn of the travels of medieval Scandinavians to places as distant as North America and Byzantium, the conflicts and quarrels of giants and gods, heroic encounters with crafty dragons, adaptations of Arthurian legends, and the miracles of saints and bishops.

This class will introduce students to the written vernacular language of Iceland and Norway in the Middle Ages. Class time will focus on the grammatical structure of Old Norse, translating into English, and close-reading exercises of Old Norse texts. Students will practice some English to Old Norse translation and learn about the stories and culture of medieval Scandinavia. By the end of the semester students should be able to read saga-style Old Norse prose texts in normalized orthography with the help of a dictionary. Assignments will include translations, grammatical exercises, quizzes, a midterm, and a final exam. Regular and active participation is required.