American Old Norse (if it existed)

dihydrogen monoxide

Senior Member
Slovene, Serbo-Croat
If the Vikings managed to make a colony in Northern America, what do you think the features of Old Norse would be. We would have American Old Norse and European Old Norse. What do you think would be the main differences, I would imagine Cree would have influences on American Old Norse and some archaic phonetic features would be preserved or even some grammatical features that would be lost in European Old Norse, but would remain in American Old Norse.
 
  • Awwal12

    Senior Member
    Russian
    I would imagine Cree would have influences on American Old Norse
    Do Finnish or Saami have any noticeable influence on Swedish or Norwegian?
    Non-zero influence would be only expected in the case of loaning adaptive strategies and intermarriages, but overall the Norse had precious little to loan, and apparently were quite xenophobic (the nickname they gave to the local tribes should be already quite telling). After all, they stood on a considerably higher level of technological, economical and social development.
     

    LeifGoodwin

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Do Finnish or Saami have any noticeable influence on Swedish or Norwegian?
    Non-zero influence would be only expected in the case of loaning adaptive strategies and intermarriages, but overall the Norse had precious little to loan, and apparently were quite xenophobic (the nickname they gave to the local tribes should be already quite telling). After all, they stood on a considerably higher level of technological, economical and social development.
    Finland has both Swedish and Finnish speaker, and many if not most Swedish speakers do not speak Finnish. My late brother lived in Finland, spoke fluent Swedish, but only knew a few words and phrases in Finnish. I suspect that most Finns do not speak Swedish, and most Swedes in Sweden do not speak Finnish simply because the languages are from two different language families ie very different.

    My late brother’s wife was Saami, and spoke Swedish. My understanding is that few Finns, Swedes or Norwegians speak Saami as it is a low status language, therefore there is little influence.

    However, Vikings in Ireland learnt Irish, those in France learnt French and those in England apparently learnt a form of old english. Presumably due to intermarriage and trade.

    Have indigenous languages had any influence on North American English? Precious little.
     

    Hulalessar

    Senior Member
    English - England
    If the speakers of New World Norse had no contact with speakers of Old World Norse (which of course has diverged into the modern North Germanic languages) for a thousand years there would be bound to be differences. All the external influences on the modern continental North Germanic languages over the last thousand years would be missing for a start. It is impossible to say (a) in what proportions New World Norse would display innovations and conservative features, (b) how the phonology would have developed and (c) the degree of mutual intelligibility with modern North Germanic languages.

    Icelandic may give us a bit of a clue as it has not changed as much as other North Germanic languages and, although its phonology has changed so that words are pronounced differently, today Icelanders do not have too much trouble reading the sagas written 800 years ago. It is not mutually intelligible with any other North Germanic language, including spoken Faroese, its nearest relative. There is though no saying what would have happened in another isolated community.

    As to the influence of Native American languages, languages meet and mix in all sorts of different ways. How they do so depends on social and other factors. As a minimum one would expect the adoption of words for things not found in Europe.
     

    Penyafort

    Senior Member
    Catalan (Catalonia), Spanish (Spain)
    That'd probably depend much on whether the colony was a continuous settlement or rather a trading one. In the latter case, I'd rather imagine something similar to the Basque-Algonquian pidgin of the 16th/17th centuries, who by the way had contact with the same people the Norse had had centuries before, apparently.
     

    pimlicodude

    Senior Member
    British English
    Finland has both Swedish and Finnish speaker, and many if not most Swedish speakers do not speak Finnish. My late brother lived in Finland, spoke fluent Swedish, but only knew a few words and phrases in Finnish. I suspect that most Finns do not speak Swedish, and most Swedes in Sweden do not speak Finnish simply because the languages are from two different language families ie very different.

    My late brother’s wife was Saami, and spoke Swedish. My understanding is that few Finns, Swedes or Norwegians speak Saami as it is a low status language, therefore there is little influence.

    However, Vikings in Ireland learnt Irish, those in France learnt French and those in England apparently learnt a form of old english. Presumably due to intermarriage and trade.

    Have indigenous languages had any influence on North American English? Precious little.
    All Finns have to study Swedish at school. Even in areas far from where the Swedish speakers are. A lot of Finns grumble about this.
     

    LeifGoodwin

    Senior Member
    English - England
    All Finns have to study Swedish at school. Even in areas far from where the Swedish speakers are. A lot of Finns grumble about this.
    All Irish citizens have to learn Irish, most can’t speak it, and the language is dying. I think the Welsh have to learn Welsh at school, most can’t unless it is their first language. Those I have met, excluding native Welsh speakers, mock the language. I had to learn French at school, I hated it, and dropped it as soon as I could which was when I was 16. I now love French, but that’s nothing to do with school. Among my friends at university in England, only one could speak French (and Spanish) and his mother was French.

    I suspect Finns are more adept at English than Swedish, and most Swedes, Danes and Norwegians speak good English.
     

    pimlicodude

    Senior Member
    British English
    I suspect Finns are more adept at English than Swedish, and most Swedes, Danes and Norwegians speak good English.
    I wonder if the Swedish and the English reinforce each other in Finland, given the fact that Swedish and English are related languages?
     

    Awwal12

    Senior Member
    Russian
    All Finns have to study Swedish at school. Even in areas far from where the Swedish speakers are.
    And all Russians have to study a foreign language (typically English). :)
    In modern Finland everything greatly depends on the region, and it's basically Åland (relatively strong ethnic identity, many are monolingual speakers of the local Swedish dialect) vs. everywhere else (mostly just bilingual Finns with Swedish as their first language). But anyway, we digressed.
    If the speakers of New World Norse had no contact with speakers of Old World Norse (which of course has diverged into the modern North Germanic languages) for a thousand years there would be bound to be differences.
    That scenario doesn't seem likely. The colonies would be relatively dependent on many goods from Europe for a really long time (likely supplying furs in exchange). On the other hand, the contact would have been limited, much like in the case of Iceland.
    However, Vikings in Ireland learnt Irish, those in France learnt French and those in England apparently learnt a form of old english. Presumably due to intermarriage and trade.
    Due to the fact those were the languages of high culture and/or of the more numerous and politically relevant local population. (In England, in fact, Norse rather just fused with Old English.)
     

    Hulalessar

    Senior Member
    English - England
    That scenario doesn't seem likely. The colonies would be relatively dependent on many goods from Europe for a really long time (likely supplying furs in exchange). On the other hand, the contact would have been limited, much like in the case of Iceland.
    I did says "if...".

    Iceland can perhaps give us a clue. There was continuous contact with continental Europe, but eventually mutual intelligibility was lost.
     
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