Sunday, 1 July 2012

Adventures in Norn (Nornia?)

                     The Lord's Prayer in Norn

Favor i ir i chimrie, Helleur ir i nam thite,  gilla cosdum thite cumma, veya thine mota vara gort o yurn sinna gort i chimrie, ga vus da on da dalight brow vora. Firgive vus sinna vora sin vee Firgive sindara mutha vus, lyv vus ye i tumtation, min delivera vus fro olt ilt. Amen.


 Pic: St Magnus Cathedral, Kirkvall, Orkney (12th C.), courtesy Sigurd Townie @ Orkneyjar. The bishop of Kirkwall exercised ecclesial oversight over the Norn-speaking people of Orkney, the Shetlands and Caithness, originally under the authority of the Archbishop of York but then under the Archbishop of  Throndheim in Norway from 1152. 

Here are some brief notes on Norn, the original language of my  ancestors in the Norwegian-Scottish Henderson line: 
Norn is an extinct language that was spoken for several centuries by Vikings and their descendants in the Orkney and Shetland Isles off the north coast of mainland Scotland and in Caithness in the far north of the Scottish mainland.  Norn is an Indo-European language belonging to the North Germanic branch of the Germanic languages. Together with Faroese, Icelandic and Norwegian it belongs to the West Scandinavian group, separating it from the East Scandinavian group which consists of Swedish, Danish and Gutnish. Norn is considered to have been fairly similar to the still spoken Faroese, probably sharing many phonological and grammatical traits with this language, and the two languages were highly likely to have been mutually intelligible. The last Norn speaker in Scotland reportedly died in 1850 although remnants of the language survive in place names and other nouns to this day (of course, Scandinavian languages have had a significant impact upon the development of English and also Scots). Some present day enthusiasts are trying to revive Norn. 

Map of Britain and Ireland highlighting areas of concentrated Scandinavian settlement, including the Norn-speaking Shetlands, Orkneys and Caithness at the northern tip of mainland Scotland, along with the Hebrides and western Scotland, the area around Dublin and, of course, northern and eastern England and East Anglia (constituting The Danelaw). 

Click here to read Scandinavian Britain, a standard history by W.G. Collingwood.




ELP said...

Fascinating!! Thanks for sharing this piece of history with us...

Mark Henderson said...

Merci bien!

Lvka said...

Well, look at it this way: at least the language of your ancestors still exists, even if not spoken... this is more than I can say about mine. :-|

Mark Henderson said...

Ah, the Dacians: "the noblest and also the most just of all the Thracian tribes" (Herodotus).
Noble ancestors, Lucian. You would also have Roman blood, yes?

Lvka said...

Yes. And some Slavic one as well.