Dreaming in Old Norse

The Old English epic poem Beowulf is written i...

The Old English epic poem Beowulf is written in alliterative verse and paragraphs, not in lines or stanzas. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m not of Viking heritage, as far as I know.  I once rooted for the Minnesota Vikings back when their defense was known as the “Purple People Eaters”.  I remember the likes of Fran Tarkenton and Alan Page, but I’m no Viking – truth be known, I’m a Patriot, but this post is not about football, but rather language.

Did you know that English may not be of Anglo Saxon origin at all and may be a direct descendent of Old Norse, the language of the Vikings?  According to two professors, one from the Czech Republic, the other from Norway, English is of Northern Germanic origin from which Norwegian developed and is not a Western Germanic Language from Anglo Saxon also known as Old English.  This makes sense because I had a really hard time understanding Beowulf in high school.

The professor from Norway may be a little biased, but he may speak the truth.  They do point out that Scandinavians have no trouble learning English.  Sadly, the same cannot be said of English speakers, particularly those from the U.S. who don’t routinely master Norwegian, Finnish or any second language for that matter.

I may be an exception.  I do dream in a foreign language, and not Spanish, the only one I know.  It has always been a mystery to me as to the language, as if I were speaking in tongues, but now I know that this strangely familiar language  must be Old Norse.   This also explains why I was a Minnesota Viking fan as a kid and why I had this odd fascination with the state; some sort of atavistic pull related to the history of English.

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2 Responses

  1. Guess now I know why I could never wake you up, I was speaking the wrong language! Mom

  2. […] Dreaming in Old Norse (ribbie.wordpress.com) […]

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