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About the story
What’s with this “Wren” thing?
   The oldest extant version of the fable we are presenting here appeared in 1913 in the first volume of a two-volume anthology of Low Saxon folktales (Plattdeutsche Volksmärchen “Low German Folktales”) collected by Wilhelm Wisser (1843–1935). Read more ...



A 17th-century picture of Erik the Red
(Eiríkur rauði, 950–1003) who took Old
Icelandic to Greenland. His second son,
Leif Ericson (Leif Ericsson, ca. 980–1020),
is believed to have taken it farther afield:
to Northeastern America.

Language information: Icelandic is the first language of almost all Icelanders—currently over 300,000 in Iceland, aside from small Icelandic-speaking enclaves in a few other countries, such as in Canada, the USA, the United Kingdom, Australia, Germany and the Scandinavian countries. Icelandic developed directly from the Old Norse dialects of 9th-century Norwegian pioneers in the settlement of Iceland. Generally speaking, Modern Icelandic has not departed very far from Old Norse (specifically Old Icelandic), particularly as far as its morphological structure is concerned. However, too much tends to be made of this and the claim that today’s Icelanders can read the Old Norse sagas with great ease. The language has absorbed some foreign influences (including Middle Saxon influences), mostly by way of Danish as the power language under Danish rule over Iceland(1387–1814). While it is true that Icelandic pride manifests itself in keeping alive much of the nation’s heritage and pursuing linguistic purity by avoiding foreign elements in the creation of lexical neologisms, most readers require explanatory notations in reading Old Norse, and many foreign loans exist in everyday usage as alternatives to officially created and promoted native-based words. Iceland is one of the most highly educated nations on earth, and this includes the study of foreign languages. Given this, keeping one’s own language free of foreign influences is not an easy undertaking.
      Icelandic is most closely related to Faeroese, and there is some degree of mutual comprehension between the two languages. Being extremely conservative, it is virtually incomprehensible to Scandinavians, though speakers of some of the most conservative Norwegian dialects have easier access to Icelandic. This is because the language varieties of Scandinavia, though sharing the same ancestral language with Icelandic and Faeroese, have undergone considerable changes, mostly due to foreign influences, especially due to Middle Saxon influences under the power of the medieval Hanseatic Trading League whose lingua franca it was.
      Icelandic is the vehicle of an old, proud and fairly prolific literary tradition. Some Icelandic writers used ALL languages and dialects are beautiful, precious gifts. So cherish yours and others! Share them with the world!Danish, but even some of them switched to Icelandic in the wake of the Icelandic reassertion movement. Icelandic literature is by no means limited to medieval works. Middle Icelandic literature brought forth for instance the much lauded poetic works of Hallgrímur Pétursson (1614–1674), and there is a great wealth of internationally recognized Modern Icelandic literature of various genres, including the works of writers such as Snorri Hjartarson (1906–1986), Ólafur Jóhann Sigurðsson (1918–1988), Davíð Stefánsson (1895–1964), Tómas Guðmundsson (1901–1983) and the 1955 Nobel Prize winner Halldór Laxness (1902–1998).

Genealogy: Indo-European > Germanic > Northern (Scandinavian) > Western

    Click to open the translation: [Click]Click here for different versions. >

Author: Reinhard F. Hahn

© 2011, Lowlands-L · ISSN 189-5582 · LCSN 96-4226 · All international rights reserved.
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