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What’s with this “Wren” thing?
The oldest extant version of the fable
are presenting here appeared in 1913 in the first volume of a two-volume anthology
Saxon folktales (Plattdeutsche
Volksmärchen “Low German Folktales”)
collected by Wilhelm Wisser (1843–1935). Read
17th-century picture of Erik the Red
to have taken it
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
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.
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 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
much lauded poetic works of Hallgrímur Pétursson (1614–1674),
and there is a great wealth of internationally recognized Modern Icelandic literature
genres, including the works of writers such as Snorri Hjartarson (1906–1986),
Ólafur Jóhann Sigurðsson (1918–1988), Davíð Stefánsson (1895–1964), Tómas Guðmundsson
the 1955 Nobel
Halldór Laxness (1902–1998).
Genealogy: Indo-European > Germanic > Northern (Scandinavian) > Western