Wednesday, February 28, 2007

ILfDT: Norn

Congratulations! You're reading the first entry in the weekly series I Live for Dead Tongues where I take a look at the languages that have long since shuffled off this mortal coil. Today we're looking at Norn which is not only dead but one of my favorite words...Norn. Norn!

Language family: Indo-European, Germanic, North Germanic, West Scandinavian
Where it was spoken: Shetland, Orkney, Caithness

When did it die: by the 18th c. (possibly early 19th c.)
What did it in: "Norn is an extinct North Germanic language that was spoken on Shetland and Orkney, off the north coast of mainland Scotland, and in Caithness. After the islands were returned to Scotland by Norway in the 15th century, its use was discouraged by the Scottish government and the Church of Scotland (the national church), and it was gradually replaced by Scots over time."

Living linguistic relatives: "Norn is generally considered to have been fairly similar to Faroese, sharing many phonological and grammatical traits with this language, and might even have been mutually intelligible with it."
Influence on English: "Fragments of the language and loan-words adopted into the local Lowland Scots and Scottish English survived the death of the main language and remain to this day."

Old Norse Language Map [Wikipedia]

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:: posted by David, 8:01 AM


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