Old Norse

There are a lot of Old Norse words scattered about in the Danethrall Trilogy, so I thought I’d compile a list. This list is bound to expand, but for now I’m just including the Old Norse featured in Danethrall, the first book in the trilogy. At the end of this list, there will be a pronunciation table and a list of wonderful Old Norse dictionary websites (including a pretty awesome one that will teach you plenty of Old Norse cuss words and phrases).

In alphabetical order, the Old Norse words are on the right, and the translations are on the left. 🙂

ÆsirOne of two principal tribes of deities in Old Norse
pantheon
AfiGrandfather
Álfar Elves
AmmaGrandmother
ArgrUnmanly
BlótSacrifice
DanegeldTax raised to pay tribute to Viking raiders to stop land from being ravaged
DísirFemale spirits
DóttirDaughter
FaðirFather
Góða nóttGood night
Góðan morgin Good morning
Gott kveldGood evening
handsalSealing a deal with a handclasp
HnefataflThe King’s Table
HnefiKing
HofSacred place/temple
HofgoðiTemple priest
HolumennOrdinary crew members on warships
HrafnasueltirRaven starver, coward
HustrulinetLong white headdress worn by married women
Yes
JorvikYork
JötnarPlural of jötunn
JötunnGiant
LandvættirLand wights
Midsumarblót Midsummer sacrifice
MiklagarðrConstantinople
MóðirMother
MundrBride price
NeiNo
Now
SeiðrOld Norse sorcery, form of magic relating to fortune
telling and shaping future
SláprGood for nothing, lazy person
ÞakkaThanks/thank you
TikBitch, female dog
VættirSpirits
VanirOne of two principal tribes of deities in Old Norse
pantheon

I found this awesome alphabet pronunciation guide from a website called Ræðu Víkings. The website also provides a bunch of different phrases in Old Norse, really worth checking out. Here’s the alphabet from the site:

The difference between single letters and double letters: first off, a single L sounds just as it does in English. Double L makes a sound similar to the tl in little, but think of it more like jamming your tongue up to the back of your upper teeth and blowing out air around it. Single N sounds just as it does in English, but a double N is pronounced with a slight D, followed by the N, as in loud noise. Double Bs, Ds, Fs, Gs, Ks, Ms, Ps, Ss, and Ts are pronounced twice as long as their single counterparts.

A a as in far
Á á as in cow
B b as in pit (partway between English B and P)
D d as in take (partway between English D and T)
Ð ð as in this
E e as in let
É é as is yes
F f as in fang
G g as in gown
H h as in hide
I i as in tin
Í í as in machine
J j as in year
K k as in kiss
L l as in land
M m as in mate
N n as in now
O o as in old
Ó ó as in no
Ö ö as in fur
P p as in pit
R r as in ransom; however Rs should be heavily trilled (rolled) and tapped
S s as in size; never as a Z
T t as in take
U u as in look
Ú ú as in new
V v as in visit (partway between English V and W)
X x as in box
Y y pronounced the same as I i, but with pursed lips
Ý ý pronounced the same as Í í, but with pursed lips
Z z as in lots
Þ þ as in thing
Æ æ as in fire
Œ œ see Æ æ
Ø ø see Ö ö
Ǫ ǫ see Ö ö

Au – boy (think öj)
Ei/ey – play
Hv – kf as in thankful
Fn – pn as in nap now
Vn – bn as in crab night
Ng – as in English; always pronounce the g
Dj – pronounced as English j followed by English y
Sj – pronounced as English sh followed by English y
Tj – pronounced as English ch followed by English y
Bb/dd/ff/gg/kk/ll/mm/nn/pp/ss/tt – see above

*important tip: the first syllable is ALWAYS stressed

Here is a list of Old Norse dictionaries (click on the name and the website will open in a new tab):
Old Norse Tongue
Vikings of Bjornstad
Glosbe English – Old Norse
Ross G. Arthur at Yorku.ca
Old Norse Lessons for Beginners (Notendur)
How to Curse in Old Norse