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Germanic language family videos

 Language Learning Forum : Lessons in Polyglottery Post Reply
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 Message 33 of 38
07 September 2008 at 8:09am | IP Logged 
I am looking forwards to seeing your videos about the romance languages when you have time to make them.
Thank you for those you have posted so far.
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 Message 34 of 38
30 September 2008 at 8:23pm | IP Logged 
Greetings and many apologies for my long absence from the forum. The project that kept me so occupied is now out of my hands, and so I hope to be able once again to devote regular time to answering questions about language learning here.

I have not been able to make many videos over the past months either, but I did do one for Old Swedish and then just recently I concluded the Germanic languages with a five part chronological consideration of the family tree:
Germanic Family 1/5
Germanic Family 2/5
Germanic Family 3/5
Germanic Family 4/5
Germanic Family 5/5

I plan on making some summary conclusions about language learning series next, and then on to the Romance languages. In addition, I would like to do some pure textual readings as I personally feel the translation segments of my videos are probably the most useful, and they are all too short when I am talking so much about the language as well.

Now, how shall I handle the backlog of questions that has accumulated here? My sense of fairness says that I ought to begin with those requests that I left hanging six or eight weeks ago. However, I do not know whether those who posed them are still waiting for responses or whether they have moved along. So, if you have been waiting for me to reply to your letter for some time, please bump it to the fore with a short note to that effect. I will try to get to such threads first rather than merely jumping into the most current discussions - several of which have become general in nature and which also lack the tone I request for this room, and so which I intend to the transfer to the more appropriate general discussions forum.

Alexander Arguelles
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Speaks: Danish*, French, English, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, Swedish, Esperanto, Romanian, Catalan
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 Message 35 of 38
01 October 2008 at 10:43am | IP Logged 
Welcome back. I'm right now listening to part 5 of your series about the German languages in general. However I first watched the video about Old Swedish, where I was intrigued by the page of Old Gutnish, - it looked much more 'oldfashioned' than the Old Swedish specimen.

You also mentioned that the amount of texts in Old Swedish is larger than the corresponding corpus of texts in Old Danish. The problem may be that those text from medieval Danish that have survived more often than not are in Latin, - most notably Gesta Danorum by Saxo. However there are some texts - mostly legal - written in Old Danish, and the most important of these is clearly the Jyske Lov (Jutish Law), which was written around 1240. One passage from the start of the prologue is known by almost all Danes, although in translation ("Med lov skal land bygges"):

Swa byriæs en for talæn a iutæ logh thær kunugh waldæmar gaf oc danæ tokæ withær

Mæth logh scal land byggæs, æn wildæ hwær man oruæs at sit eghæt, oc late men nutæ iafnæth. tha thurftæ men ekki logh with. æn ængi logh ær æm goth at fullughæ sum sanænd. æn hwaræ sum mæn æuær um sanænd. theræ scal logh letæ hwilt sannænd ær,

I have quoted this from this source, but you find the complete text here. Note the immense number of æ's - this letter is still in use in Danish, but I have no idea why it was so popular in the 1240s.

Another source of legal texts from medieval Denmark is named Diplomatiarium Danicum, and it is partly published on the internet here. The texts at the site constitute tomes 8-12 and cover the timeframe 1401-1412, so presumably tomes 1-7 cover the earlier texts. Of course the language here is more modern looking than that of the Jutish Law:

Thet skal alla viterlikt vara thet wor davthyngen swa star mellum fru Cristina Ericzdotter herra Thorberns Patersøns æftælevande ok mellum os Iæcob Billæ ok Bendit Billæ i swa dan matha sosum her æfter føliær

(quoted from the 3. text of tome 8). There are also texts in (Low) German and Latin in this collection, but I was somewhat surprised by the actual percentage in Danish.

I'm sure that you know these sources, but others may not have found them.

As far as I remember the oldest authentic text that I read in public school was a play written by Hieronymus Justesen Ranch: Karrig Nidding, but that's much later - probably something like 1633.

So the Swedes may have their ancestral language better documented, but Old Danish is not totally absent from the sources.

Niels J.L. Iversen

Edited by Iversen on 01 October 2008 at 10:50am

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 Message 36 of 38
06 October 2008 at 1:36pm | IP Logged 
Mr. Iversen,

Thank you ever so much for the lead to Studér Middelalder på Nettet! Although many of the text links are still under construction, nonetheless, with those that are there, this already provides me with far more medieval Danish texts that I have ever been able to locate before. Truly, many thanks indeed!

If only I had nothing else to do, I would willing immerse myself completely in these for the time being. It appears that I would particularly relish acquiring a hard copy of the Arthurian literary texts contained in manuscript K47, i.e.,
o     Ivan Løveridder
o     Hertug Frederik af Normandi
o     Dværgekongen Laurin
o     Persenober og Konstantianobis
o     Den kyske dronning
o     Flores og Blanseflor

I have many of these exact same works in Old Swedish as well, and it is fascinating to compare them:

The Old Swedish Hertig Fredrik av Normandie begins:

ETh äuintyr thet byriäs här;
wilin j höre huru thet är
tha moghin j här forstanda
hwat the haffde ther til handa
the aff kunung Artus sighiä kunno.
Wm hans dagha män thet funno
at man engin herra wiste
flere äuintyr att frijstä.

And the Old Danish Hertug Frederik af Normandi begins:

eth ewentyr tha begynes heræ
willæ i høræ hwræ thet æræ
tha ma i hæræ for standhæ
hwadh the haffdhæ ther til handhe
thy aff konningh artus seye kwnne
j hans daghe man thet fwnne
thet man jnghen herræ wistæ
meræ ewentyr ath fræstæ

The Old Swedish Herr Ivan begins:

J nampn fadhers oc sons oc thäs hälgha andha
wil iak taka mik till handa
forna saghu fram att föra
them til skemptan ther a wilä höra
aff the werdhogasta konunga twa
ther man ä hördhe sakt j fra:
Karlamagnus oc konung Artws;
til dyghdh oc äro waro the fws.
Artws war konung aff Ængland.
Han van Rom medh swerdh oc brand
ok war ther keyser medh mykle ära.

And the Old Danish Ivan Løveridder begins:

I Naffn fader oc søn oc then helligand
hvil iec meg tage here til handh
ffromme saghe fram ath fore
Them til skiemten som thet vil høre
Aff the verdugeste konger too
Ther man hawer hørd saffd fraa
koningh magnus oc koningh artus
Til dygdh oc ere vare the wijs
Artus var ien koningh aff engeland
Han wand rom met swerd oc brand
han var keyszer ther met ere

The Old Swedish Flores och Blanzeflor begins:

Som iak ij bøkir skrifuith sa
ok æwintyrith sigher ij fra,
een hedhin konung foor medh brand
hæria ok ødha sancti Iacobs land.
Han var een formæktigh man;
Fenix aff Apolis swa heet han.
Tha thera skip varo komin swa nær,
the lagdho til land ok dwaldis ther
om siæx vikur tima
sirla ok swa snima.

And the Old Danish Flores og Blanseflor begins:

Som jech i bogen skrewet saa
och ewentyr the seye fraj
en hiedne konning foor medh brand
ath øde sancte jacobs landh
thet war jen myghet mektug mand
fenix aff apples sa hiedhe hand
tha thieris skib war kommen saa næær
the lawde til land och dweldes ther
om sex vgers tyme
orlig oc sa snime

I personally find both versions to be about equally transparent, and reading them back to back, I not only enjoy comparing and contrasting and noting the differences, but I also find that most anything that is not clear becomes so upon rephrasing. Truly a wonderful experience!

As I said in the video, until now I have never been able to find a source for such Old Danish texts. On several occasions, I have located books that appeared as if they might contain them, but upon obtaining them from afar via interlibrary loan, I found them to be compilations of generally antiquarian poems rather than medieval texts proper – not that this was completely disappointing, for one book of Old Danish Ballads came with much musical accompaniment that I transposed for solo flute, obtaining some of my favorite hauntingly beautiful melodies that transcend my own ability to play them well.

Well, since you were perfectly positioned to provide this source, perhaps you might also know of something more grammatical, akin to Fornsvenska Paradigm sammanställda af Otto v. Friesen (Uppsala och Stockholm: Almquist & Wiksells), as I have never been able to locate anything of this ilk either.

Gratefully yours,

Alexander Arguelles

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 Message 37 of 38
08 October 2008 at 7:55pm | IP Logged 
If I can find time to check the catalogues of the State Library or visit the relevant institutes (which now have reverted partially to more sane conditions) I may be able to dig up something about the grammar of old Danish, but here and now I haven't heard about any formal grammar of old Danish. It is not inconceivable that our venerable older scholars have written something useful, but I'm sceptical about finding something of newer date because the Nordic Institutes of the Danish universities were among the hardest hit by the marxist wawe that followed the student revolt of the late sixties. For people who just wanted to do Marxism under any pretext the study of their native language seemed an easy target with a potentially very flat learning curve, so they basically occupied the place and redefined its purpose from studying Danish language to making abstruse marxist theories about things recently written in Danish. Some fringe activities survived, including the work on a Jutish dialect dictionary, and in Århus we also had a decent Western Nordic Institute where you could study Icelandic old and new, but even there I don't remember any activity concerning specifically the evolution of Danish from after the Old Norse periode. Like you I was pleasantly surprised to find any sites with collections of medieval Danish texts. Their existence is one of the reasons that make me assume that some amount of decency has returned to the Nordic institutes at the Danish universities.

kind regards,
Niels J.L. Iversen

Edited by Iversen on 08 October 2008 at 8:15pm

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 Message 38 of 38
26 October 2008 at 4:56pm | IP Logged 
I don't know if most of you realize, but Prof. Arguelles has started a new series of videos that are just him reading texts in a number of languages, like he mentioned at the end of the Germanic family overview.

The introduction to the series is here.

There is a list (which currently includes Persian, Afrikaans, Arabic, Danish, Faroese, Frisian, Hindi, Icelandic, Bokmal, Nynorsk, Russian and Swedish) at his website here.

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