Runic Swedish

I visited during the summer holidays the perhaps best known runestone in Sweden. The stone is called “Rök runestone” and has both an impressive size and a lot of Runic Swedish in its inscription. Runic Swedish was the predecessor of today’s Swedish and it was spoken 1000 years ago.

Rök Runestone still standing the time in 2017

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New Words in Swedish in 2015

Happy new year 2016! And time to see the verbs that got official in the Swedish language year 2015. Click any of the new verbs to conjugate them in Swedish. As you will see, all new verbs are totally regular.

  • Avinvestera To disinvest, normally by selling shares in companies involved in industries viewed as unsustainable or unethical .
  • Dumpstra To dumpster dive, or retrieve useable food and other objects from what others throw away.
  • Haffa Rough, to hit someone.
  • Klittra Mastrurbate (like a woman).
  • Rattsurfa From ‘ratt’ steering wheel and ‘surfa’ to surf. Means to use cell phone or similar when driving, decreasing the concentration on driving the car.
  • Svajpa From English ‘Swype’, to steer a computer or phone by sliding a finger or stylus on the screen.
  • Svischa To transfer money to a friend or shop using the Swedish phone payment system Swish.
  • Vejpa To ‘vape’ or smoke an e-cig.

Julotta or to Awake Early in the Morning

In Swedish language there is the specific work for the Church worship held early in the Christmas day’s morning. The word is julotta.

The word julotta consists etymologically of two words:

  • jul Christmas
  • otta archaic word for the earliest time of the day, the hours before dawn that are related to activities such as work or other. More generally it refers to early morning.

So the word otta has nothing to do with number 8 ‘åtta’, but because the meaning of the word otta is not known commonly, people have thought that julotta is the Christmas Day’s worship at 8 o’clock. And yes, the word is commonly misspelled julåtta.

On the contrary the etymology of otta goes back to the ancient Sanskrit word aktú, which means darkness or ray.

And finally some Swedish speaking finns have adopted the word as a verb meaning ‘to wake up early in the Christmas day’s morning  (to clean up the living room)’.

Links:

  • Conjugate the Swedish verb julotta.
  • Wikipedia article about julotta.
  • Swedish (Finland) definition of julotta, including the verb julotta as used in Åboland, Finland.

 

Ancient Alphabets Made Easy

I was developing years ago verb conjugation for Ancient Scandinavian, Runic Swedish, and Gothic languages.

All these ancient — now extinct — languages were written in a an ancient script more that a thousand years ago. Although the grammar books transliterated the texts to modern alphabet, I wanted to also write the verbs forms in the original script.

The Gothic alphabet as it appears in the Gothic Bible of Wulfila
Runic inscriptions on a stone

Years ago that was hard. Either there was no font that supported Runic or Gothic scripts. Or there was no standard for encoding them.

Fortunately things have changed, and modern webbrowsers make use of such standards as webfonts and Unicode. Thanks to that I get the Runic and Gothic texts written as they should.

Read mode:

Nordic Languages

My son yesterday brought a leaflet about Nordic languages, “Nordens språk”.

When reading this paper I just recalled how close to each other the Nordic languages are. We have been travelling in Sweden, Norway and Denmark. And in all those countries I have had no problem in making myself understood in Swedish variant that is spoken in Finland.

Old map with the Nordic countries
Old map with the Nordic countries

Norwegian, Danish, Swedish (in Sweden) — no problem in communicating with the people in Swedish there.

In the leaflet, I checked the verb ‘to forget’:

  • Swedish: glömma
  • Danish: glemme
  • Faroese: gloyma
  • Norwegian: glemme
  • Icelandic: gleyma
  • Finnish: unohtaa
  • Greenlandic: puigorpaa

Yes, the Finnish and Greenlandic differ from the other Nordic languages. They don’t belong to the Germanic language family.

 

 

Quite Old Swedish

The Swedish verb ‘hvila’ is nowadays not written that way anymore. Instead it is written ‘vila’, with the same meaning ‘to rest’. Regardless these minor changes in otrtography the language is modern Swedish for both.

To study possible changes in modern Swedish language, there is an interesting website called SAOLhist under construction.

Links:

 

 

Geographical Names in Two Languages

Finland is a country with two official languages: Finnish and Swedish. Swedish is spoken mostly on the coastal areas, including the capital Helsinki (Finnish) / Helsingfors (Swedish).

Kulosaari Drumsö
Mistake in placenames: Kulosaari (Finnish) is not the same place as Drumsö (Swedish)

Because Helsinki/Helsingfors is a bilingual town, all the placenames are shown in two languages. Sometimes there are mistakes, however, that can mislead people.

The picture at right was taken in Kronohagen, Helsinfors. Kulosaari as shown on the shield is Brändö in Swedish. So either Finnish or Swedish speaking cyclists will find themselves in wrong place 😉

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