Monday, January 04, 2016

lingua franca Icelandic

From the sparse research I have done, I have learned that Icelandic is an ancient language that has not changed all that much since 1100, give or take the odd hundred years. Icelanders apparently can easily read the original texts of Norse sagas dating back over a thousand years. Yikes! I guess it would be as if modern speakers of English could easily read or speak the language of Shakespeare's time, with "easily" being the italicized, boldfaced operative word. More accurately, you would have to go even farther back in time, but not quite to the time of Beowulf! (I was an English major and recall a tiny bit from my linguistic studies.) From what I understand, Icelanders share with us who speak English the Germanic grammatical structure of S-V-O, subject-verb-object, with allowances made for emphasis or poetry. Speaking of poetry, I hear over and over again that Iceland is a land of bards. I like that. As a solipsistic bard, I am humming the tune for my own personal saga; searching for the narrative, plot, and story line. Many of the characters have or are playing their parts in my saga, myself included. Other characters wait in the wings.

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