Old Norse

Old Norse is the medieval language of Iceland and Norway and a descendant of the language spoken by the Vikings. It is also the language in which the sagas and the majority of the primary sources for Scandinavian mythology are written.

The two-semester Old Norse undergrad language sequence (Scandinavian 101a and 101b) is normally offered every other year, beginning in odd-numbered years. Since Old Norse is no longer a spoken living language, instruction will focus on reading and comprehension of the language and its linguistic structure.

Scandinavian 101A presents an overview of Old Norse grammar and aims at enabling students to translate saga-style texts from Old Norse into English with the help of a dictionary.

Scandinavian 101B combines an overview of Old Norse literature with Old Norse readings in the original and in translation.

In even-numbered years the introductory Old Norse language sequence will be taught at the graduate level (Scandinavian 201A and 201B) but undergraduates may enroll by permission of the instructor.

In odd-numbered years, graduate students may enroll in 101A and 101A for graduate credit and will be expected to do additional intensive course work.

Textbooks and teaching materials depend on the instructor, but Geir T. Zoëga’s Old Icelandic Dictionary is normally used.

If you have any questions consult with Kate Heslop at heslop@berkeley.edu or Jonas Wellendorf at wellendorf@berkeley.edu.