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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Lessons in Old Icelandic (ii)

Since things have been COMPLETELY insane what with the Easter holiday*, I thought it might be fun** to offer another edition of Lessons in Old Icelandic from my fabulous Concise Dictionary of Old Icelandic by Geir T. Zoega.

Today, I would like to offer you the word brjá: to sparkle, flicker, gleam.

In today's world of Twi-hards, I figured it might come in handy.

Putting this word in a sentence of modern or old Icelandic poses some difficulties for me, because um -- to my greatest shame I still haven't figured out verb conjugations outside of "to be." Sooo.

How about if I just offer you a second word instead? In keeping with the love of all things Thor, brúsi: a buck or he-goat.

In a modern Icelandic sentence: Tanngrisnir og Tanngnjostr eru brúsa.*** (Tanngrisnir and Tanngnjostr are bucks.)
This sentence in Old Icelandic/Old Norse: ... just replace og with ok, and you're good to go.

So there you have it! Your second lesson in Old Icelandic! Or um. Something.

*el husband and I hosted with one of my sisters and I have never in my life hosted any kind of big holiday so it was kind of scary and there was a lot of cleaning to be done leading up to it, in order to get my still-unpacked-boxes out of the way for the big day.

**Read: I haven't been doing my homework and my research has lapsed a bit, but in my defense, I am WRITING a novella involving some Norse deities. Trust me when I say this counts as research, even if it is not as focused as one might wish.

*** Honestly, I am not 100% sure I got the plural form right. BUT I am reasonably confident. Um. There is just one problem -- brúsi is in fact Old Norse for he-goat, but brúsi in modern Icelandic means "can" or "bottle" soo. Yeah. Context counts?


  1. How would brja be pronounced? Slurred together or two syllables?

    1. I can really only speculate based on modern Icelandic, but the rs are rolled and the "já" sounds like yow. So bryow -- and I'd guess one syllable, rather than two, since Icelandic, to my ear, slurs more than not. When I hear it spoken, I feel like I'm completely missing at least a whole syllable in every other word.

  2. No matter how you pronounce it, it's a fun word.


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