The Skald Starts an M.A.

So, what’s the cause of the very long break since my last post? Nothing less than a move to Iceland for the start of an M.A. program in Viking and Medieval Norse Studies at the University of Iceland. Joining this program has been a goal of mine ever since I learned of its existence back in May 2012. It’s an international, two year program that has its first year in Iceland and in which the third semester is taken at one of three other partner universities in Norway or Denmark, with the fourth semester for writing a thesis either in Norway or back in Iceland. I’m looking at spending the entire second year in Norway at the University of Oslo. But for now, I’m enjoying the start to my time in Iceland. I’ve been here for eleven days so far, and both life and studies have been great. Reykjavík is a beautiful city. 🙂
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Learning Icelandic and Old Norse

The advanced Asatru alliterative poet should also have some knowledge of the older languages, as the best exemplars of the form are in the old languages. Most important are Old Norse and Old English, although some alliterative material also exists in a few other old dialects. Today’s post, however, focuses on Old Norse and Modern Icelandic. The two are so similar (at least in the way they are written) that knowledge of one is almost the same thing as knowledge of the other. The vocabulary of the modern language is, of course, larger. The differences are relatively minor, and in comparing texts of the two, my brain doesn’t even register them as separate languages.

To really ramp up my learning of Modern Icelandic, I’m taking a trip to Reykjavík, Iceland for a four-week summer course in Modern Icelandic at the Árni Magnússon Institute. <http://arnastofnun.is/page/althjodlegt_islenskunamskeid_en>. While I’m there, my internet access will be limited, and this blog will be taking a four-week hiatus — the next post will not occur until July 31. So those who post comments may have to wait a while before they are approved.

Here’s a list of helpful resources for the poet who wants to study Modern Icelandic and/or Old Norse.

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Toasts to Heroes and Ancestors

Since all of last week’s toasts were to the gods, this week I present toasts to ancestors and heroes. There are three of them, and each toast is two stanzas of ljóðaháttr.

A Toast to the Ancestors

Hail the ancestors
of elder times,
those famous folk and heroes.
They laid for our lives
the layers in the well —
the might and main of ørlög!

Today we do
our duty to them:
remembering well their works.
A fimbul full-horn
to those folk we raise.
Hail to our honorable ancestors!

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