SCANDINAVIAN 101B: Introduction to Old Norse

TuTh 12:30-2 , 6415 Dwinelle. Instructor: Kate Heslop

Units: 4

L&S Breadth: Arts & Literature

 In this, the second part of the Old Norse language course, we practice and extend the language skills learned in Old Norse 101A. Grammar topics from 101A will be repeated and deepened as needed. Students will both prepare translations out of class and work cooperatively on translating Old Norse texts during class time.

We will read a broad range of texts, intended to give a taste of the genres and styles of Old Norse prose and poetry, supplemented by secondary literature illuminating the historical context in which the primary texts were written, transmitted and read. Students will also learn how to work critically with modern editions and reference tools.

By the end of the course, students will have a solid basis for literary and philological work in the Old Norse field. They should be able to read Old Norse prose fluently and decode Old Norse poetry. They should also be capable of analyzing and situating Old Norse literary works in their literary, cultural and historical contexts.

Course requirements: regular participation, weekly translation exercises, midterm, translation project, class presentation, final exam.

Calculation of final grade
Class participation: 20%
Midterm: 10%
Translation project: 20%
Class presentation: 10%
Final exam: 40%

The course is assessed via a midterm, translation project, class presentation and final exam. To receive full marks for participation, students will need to regularly submit translations prepared out of class as well as participating in in-class translation exercises. The final exam is closed-book.

Prerequisite: Scandinavian 101A: Introduction to Old Norse I


Michael Barnes, A New Introduction to Old Norse. Part I: Grammar. London: Viking Society for Northern Research, 2008. ISBN 978-0-903521-74-1.

Anthony Faulkes, A New Introduction to Old Norse. Part II: Reader. London: Viking Society for Northern Research, 2011. ISBN 978-0-903521-83-3.

Anthony Faulkes, A New Introduction to Old Norse. Part III: Glossary and Index of Names. London: Viking Society for Northern Research, 2011. ISBN 978-0-903521-70-3.

NB: all three volumes of the above can be downloaded free from

Rory McTurk, ed. A Companion to Old Norse-Icelandic Literature and Culture. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2007. ISBN 978-1-4051-6367-5.

Geir T. Zoëga. A Concise Dictionary of Old Icelandic. Medieval Academy Reprints for Teaching. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2004 [or any other edition]. ISBN 978-0486434315.

Additional materials will be made available to the students through bCourses.