Old Norse: umfir fua fik fir valhalla

Catullus91

Member
English - United States
This is from the trailer to the video game "God of War" (PS4).

Allegedly it means "YOU WILL NOT CROSS INTO VALHALLA."

I'd really appreciate it if someone would parse (i.e. break down word by word) this brief sentence.

Thanks a lot!


< Unapproved video link removed. Cagey, moderator >
 
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  • Segorian

    Senior Member
    Icelandic & Swedish
    “Umfir fua fik fir valhalla” is pure gibberish (unless it’s an invented language). It looks like someone made a bad guess at both the transcription and the “translation”.

    We’re not dealing with a softspoken ogre, but to me it sounds like it’s saying “[Name] fær þig fyrir Valhalla”.

    Commentary:
    • [Name] could be one of the many names of Odin, possibly Ófnir, the pronunciation of which in modern Icelandic can sound roughly like obb-nir to American ears. What sounds like “Umfir” could be a corruption of that. It could also be another name, chosen or invented for the game.
    • I’m not sure about the second word, but fær fits the likely meaning of what the ogre is saying.
    • The pronunciation of the last three words fits what I’ve written like a glove, assuming that the voice is that of an American VA.
    • Valhalla is the incorrect form of the name if we’re talking Old Norse or Icelandic here. It should be Valhǫll (or Valhöll or Valholl).
    • Based on the above, the ogre is saying, “[Name] gets you for Valhalla”. (Warriors who died in battle went directly to Odin’s abode, Valhalla.)
     

    Catullus91

    Member
    English - United States
    That's disappointing. I guessed that it was gibberish when I googled "umfir" and couldn't find anything.
     

    Segorian

    Senior Member
    Icelandic & Swedish
    Finding the link was easy, so its removal from your original post didn’t make any difference. I listened to the both this clip and the gameplay trailer itself.

    There is no doubt that the transcription is wrong. The main problem is that the words are shouted, the recording is deliberately distorted, and the battle noise masks some of the words.

    I’m not sure what it is that you find disappointing. Is it simply the fact that not all the words are absolutely clear?
     

    klandri

    Member
    Icelandic
    Him saying Valhalla should be your first clue that it's not good Old Norse as it's an Anglicization of the Old Norse Valhǫll. Adding the Latin -a suffix to feminine Old Norse words is common practice in English but completely nonsensical in Old Norse.

    But I agree with Segorian, it's likely some distorted version of "[Name] fáir/fær þik fyrir Valhalla" which is a grammatically dubious sentence at best but is probably supposed to mean "[name] takes/sends you to Valhalla".
     

    Segorian

    Senior Member
    Icelandic & Swedish
    I still can’t make out the first word, and I still think it’s a name, but I now think the last four words are …prófar þig fyrir Valhalla, “…is testing you for Valhalla”. (Try listening at half speed to confirm this.)
     

    klandri

    Member
    Icelandic
    Well if it's prófa that's even worse as that's a Latin loan into Icelandic and not Old Norse at all. Native Old Norse words don't start with p-. It's definitely "... þik fyrir Valhalla" though.

    The name could be some giant (Jötunn) from Norse Mythology or another like Hrungnir maybe.
     

    Catullus91

    Member
    English - United States
    Finding the link was easy, so its removal from your original post didn’t make any difference. I listened to the both this clip and the gameplay trailer itself.

    There is no doubt that the transcription is wrong. The main problem is that the words are shouted, the recording is deliberately distorted, and the battle noise masks some of the words.

    I’m not sure what it is that you find disappointing. Is it simply the fact that not all the words are absolutely clear?
    I'm disappointed that the game didn't include actual (good-quality) Old Norse. I like it when films, or video games, incorporate actual languages in situations like this (e.g. "Frozen", where they had an actual Old Norse specialist as a consultant).
     

    Segorian

    Senior Member
    Icelandic & Swedish
    I'm disappointed that the game didn't include actual (good-quality) Old Norse.
    I understand; I had no such expectations myself.

    I like it when films, or video games, incorporate actual languages in situations like this (e.g. "Frozen", where they had an actual Old Norse specialist as a consultant).
    Agreed. In this case, however, it would have been necessary to use Proto-Norse (or even Proto-Germanic) rather than Old Norse, given that the events are supposed to take place in a period predating the Viking Age, and possibly as early as the time of the Greek gods (considering that Kratos appears to have travelled directly from Greece to Scandinavia).
     

    Segorian

    Senior Member
    Icelandic & Swedish
    Well if it's prófa that's even worse as that's a Latin loan into Icelandic and not Old Norse at all. Native Old Norse words don't start with p-.
    My guess is that the sentence was written in English and translated into Icelandic – as a stand-in for Old Norse (or an even older Germanic language) – either using Google Translate or with the help of someone with rudimentary knowledge of the language.

    The name could be some giant (Jötunn) from Norse Mythology or another like Hrungnir maybe.
    Nice suggestion! What we have then is Hrungnir prófar þig fyrir Valhalla.
     
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