on 29 April 2013
The content of this book is more or less impeccable and I would recommend it to anyone -whether they Are students or not. It is complete and well structured, including a set of exercises and cultural notes that make it extremely more valuable than any other plain grammar book.
However, typos are quite frequent, the layout is sometimes messy, particularly when the writing is next to a picture, and two words get streched to cover an entire line. Sometimes it's hard to avoid but not impossible, and the frequency of this problem gave me the impression that the publishing was a bit rushed.
Apart from this: you couldn't find anything better, do not esitate.
on 24 January 2015
IMMERSE YOURSELF IN THE WORLD OF THE VIKINGS, BUT BUY THE NEW 'VIKING LANGUAGE 2 - THE OLD NORSE READER' AS WELL! IT'S CHOC FULL OF EXTRACTS FROM THE OLD NORSE SAGAS, EDDAS, SKALDIC POETRY AND RUNIC INSCRIPTIONS - READY FOR YOU TO READ AND TRANSLATE. - VIKING HEAVEN!
If you are fascinated by the Vikings and hanker after reading the sagas in the original Old Norse, but don't have any knowledge of Scandinavian languages, don't panic, because you have English as a starting point, and Professor Jesse L. Byock of the UCLA and the Mosfell Project, Iceland, who will teach you from scratch.
I have a degree in Scandinavian languages, and was taught Old Icelandic, but because I didn't have Latin and German, which gives you quite a few clues, and a head start with the grammar, and also because I had to use rather dry text-books, I was never able to answer any grammar questions correctly in class. But nearly 30 years later, thanks to Professor Byock's stupendous 'Viking Language 1 - Learn Old Norse, Runes, And Icelandic Sagas,' the scales have literally fallen from my eyes!
In his two fabulous books, Professor Byock really brings the Viking language and literature to life, and puts the Vikings into world context.
In 'Viking Language 1,' as well as learning the grammar and vocabulary, you will learn runes, and be able to decipher runic inscriptions, be able to read and translate extracts from Old Norse sagas, and learn about Viking history, archaeology, mythology and culture, right across the Viking "empire".
'Viking Language 2 -The Old Norse Reader,' concentrates on Old Norse literary texts, and can be used alongside 'Viking Language 1,' or as a stand-alone - particularly useful if you already know Old Norse, but would like a flavour of sagas, runes, eddas and skaldic poetry, which will help you decide the direction of your future studies. I'm particularly thrilled to see that 'Njal's Saga' and 'The Tale of Audun from the West Fjords' ('Audun and the Bear') are included. There is a fantastic variety of texts to gorge on. This book has just come out, but I strongly suggest that you snap it up now, as it's bound to be a hit with students of Old Norse!
Both books have useful quick grammar references, there are plenty of exercises/translation practice to increase your knowledge and many illustrations and maps.
I'm excited to get the opportunity to learn about Professor Byock's excavations in Iceland. And how amazing and fascinating to be able to read 'Egil's Saga,' when Professor Byock and his team have been excavating the very homestead of the Mosfell chieftains!
Don't hesitate! Amaze your friends! Amaze yourself! Go for it! And step back in time with 21st century scholarship and teaching..."Skål!" as they say in Sweden.
REVIEW BY JC PENRITH (JULIE'S KINDLE/JULIE'S HDX KINDLE) THE NAME "DEGG"S ALSO APPEARS ON THIS REVIEW, AS MY KINDLES WERE GIFTS FROM DEGGS - LUCKY ME!
on 3 January 2016
Previous attempts to learn Old Norse ended in abject failure lost in impenetrable grammars with pages of exceptions to the rules - classic examples of not being able to see the wood for the trees. Even an attempt to get in via modern Icelandic failed. At long last though, thanks to this book, I am actually making progress.
Professor Byock makes the language come alive. He uses original texts right from the beginning and puts them into their cultural context with historical explanations. The necessary grammar is introduced gradually and always explained in a way that elucidates rather then confuses. Spelling changes due to i and u umlauts? Got them! And, at the same time understanding of some of the variations in noun declensions and changes in spelling of some verbs,
I am only just under half way through the first book but it is so encouraging to read sagas and already be able to pick out and translate (some) names as well as looking at runic inscriptions and being able to read and partially understand them - even if it is only the odd word here and there.
A great book, well written and worth every penny if you are interested in th language and/or the history and would like to read the primary sources. Very much look forward to getting onto book two but there is no hurry because book one is a pleasure.
on 19 August 2015
This is a really accessible course for learning Old Norse on one's own. In 15 lessons it gives a comprehensive grammar with exercises and readings from Old Norse sources as well as providing an insight into Viking history and cultural matters. It also teaches how to read the runic script, with transcriptions and translations of many Scandinavian runestones. It includes a grammar summary, pronunciation guide, vocabulary and a list of the 246 most frequent words in the sagas.