PDA

View Full Version : Difference Between Proto-Norse and Proto-Germanic?



Eberhardt
Monday, July 24th, 2006, 01:44 AM
I've been looking up the differences between these two ancient Germanic languages for a historically authentic novel I'm working on, but I'm not finding any. Possibly because I am restricted to internet sources for the immediate time period. If someone could point me in the right direction or state the differences between these two languages I'd appreciate it.

I'm thinking the variation is very subtle.

Thank you in advance.

McCauley
Monday, July 24th, 2006, 10:49 AM
http://www.utexas.edu/cola/centers/lrc/eieol/norol-TC-X.html

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Theudiskon/

http://hem.passagen.se/peter9/gram/

http://pages.towson.edu/duncan/germanic.html

http://www.personal.psu.edu/staff/e/j/ejp10/region/germanic.html

May not specifically answer your question.... but all very helpful.

Siegfried
Monday, July 24th, 2006, 02:56 PM
Norse is a branch of the Germanic language tree, like Low German and English are. Proto-Germanic is the root-language from which the various Germanic languages developed, among them the Norse tongue. Proto-Norse would be the precursor of Norse, and a descendent of proto-Germanic. That is at least how I understand it.

Spjabork
Monday, July 24th, 2006, 03:40 PM
I've been looking up the differences between these two ancient Germanic languages for a historically authentic novel I'm working on, but I'm not finding any. Possibly because I am restricted to internet sources for the immediate time period. If someone could point me in the right direction or state the differences between these two languages I'd appreciate it.

I'm thinking the variation is very subtle.You are mistaken. The time-windows in which the plot was to play would differ considerably.

Proto-Germanic (or Urgermanisch) is the "grandgreatmother" of all Germanic languages, including Old Norse. It a hypothetical language, reconstructed by comparision of the oldest written texts of their "daughter" languages which are available to us. In fact, it subsumes all forms of Germanic for which we have no hard evidence.

This Proto-Germanic emerged around the middle of the first millenium B.C. and eveloped till around 1 A.D. From then on, Germanic began to split into clearly distinguishable subgroups, the number of which is under dispute.

One of these subgroups, however, in any case must have been Proto-Norse (or Urnordisch), it encompasses the language of the so called North Germanics, from which the modern Scandinavians descend.

You might say that the relation between Proto-Germanic and the oldest "hard-proof" Germanic languages (among which are Gothic, Old English, Old High German, Old Low German, Old Friesian and Old Norse) is similar to that between Proto-Norse and the modern Scandinavian languages.

The difference between Proto-Norse and Old Norse is: the former is reconstructed-hypthetical, the latter does really exist in a number of texts written around 1000 A.D. There also exist carved inscriptions. But the farer one goes back, the fewer they become.

You can say: when Gothic was written (4th and 5th century), Proto-Norse was spoken.

Eberhardt
Monday, July 24th, 2006, 07:56 PM
Norse is a branch of the Germanic language tree, like Low German and English are. Proto-Germanic is the root-language from which the various Germanic languages developed, among them the Norse tongue. Proto-Norse would be the precursor of Norse, and a descendent of proto-Germanic. That is at least how I understand it.
I should have been more specific, but I realise all of this. I just was thinking that Proto-Norse would be very similar to Proto-Germanic since it was one of the first variations descended from the language.

The difference between Proto-Norse and Old Norse is: the former is reconstructed-hypthetical, the latter does really exist in a number of texts written around 1000 A.D. There also exist carved inscriptions. But the farer one goes back, the fewer they become.

You can say: when Gothic was written (4th and 5th century), Proto-Norse was spoken
I realise this as well, though I was looking for grammatical differences that could help me in giving a few characters in my novel names for the enscription on a Spear that I have named in Old Norse Alfgeirr (I use the correct character for the A, but it seems that it won't appear on this page) or "Elf-Spear". It might help others who would mean to help me as well if I explain the time period this novel takes place in: 836 A.D. (The period when Old Norse had just begun to be used, starting 36 years prior, before 800 A.D. was Proto-Norse and before that was Proto-Germanic).

The spear will have the enscription of the warriors who bore the weapon before the current man, Vigolfr Audolfsson "Battle-Wolf, Noble-Wolf's son", so it will go back before 800 A.D. and I'd like to use Proto-Norse names for those warriors.

I thank everyone who has helped so far.

Edit: And I appologize for originally placing this thread in the Northern Germanic section, was in a bit of a hurry.

SubGnostic
Monday, July 24th, 2006, 10:41 PM
By definition, Proto-Germanic is the stage of the language constituting the most recent common ancestor (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Most_recent_common_ancestor) of the attested Germanic languages, dated to the latter half of the first millennium BC. The post-PIE (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proto-Indo-European_language) dialects spoken throughout the Nordic Bronze Age, roughly 2500–500 BC, even though they have no attested descendants other than the Germanic languages, are referred to as pre-Proto-Germanic. That about a third of the vocabulary of Proto-Germanic has no unambiguous Indo-European etymology is not out of the ordinary for a language of ca. 500 BC, other branches showing a similar picture.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proto-Germanic

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/theudiskon/

Welcome to the Theudiskon project. The purpose of the project, of which this group is a part, is to research and re-construct Proto-Germanic, the common ancestor of the Germanic languages.


Proto-Norse, Primitive Norse, Proto-Nordic, Ancient Nordic, Old Scandinavian or Proto-North Germanic was an Indo-European (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indo-European_languages) language spoken in Scandinavia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scandinavia) that is thought to have evolved from Proto-Germanic (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proto-Germanic_language) over the first centuries AD. It is the earliest stage of a characteristically North Germanic (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_Germanic_languages) language, and the language of the oldest Scandinavian Elder Futhark (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elder_Futhark) inscriptions, spoken ca. from the 3rd to 7th centuries (corresponding to the later Roman Iron Age (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_Iron_Age) and the earlier Germanic Iron Age (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Germanic_Iron_Age)). It evolved into the dialects of the Old Norse language (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_Norse_language) at the beginning of the Viking Age (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viking_Age).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proto-norse

I hope this helps.

symmakhos
Monday, July 24th, 2006, 11:10 PM
I they would be of any help, I posted some links to on-line dictionaries earlier, including Old Norse and Old (proto-)Germanic:

http://forums.skadi.net/showthread.php?t=57247

Dr. Solar Wolff
Tuesday, July 25th, 2006, 07:51 AM
What is "Proto-Germanic"? As far as I know, Germanic language came upon the world out of Sweden almost overnight. Please, someone, list one Proto-Germanic word for me. The only Proto-Germanic I can think of might be Illyrian but I am not a linguist and we have great linguists here at Skadi.

symmakhos
Tuesday, July 25th, 2006, 01:41 PM
As I understand it, proto-Germanic = Urgermanisch. It is a reconstructed language, just as Proto-Indoeurpean. See Gerard Köbler's Germanisches Wörterbuch (http://homepage.uibk.ac.at/~c30310/germwbhinw.html).

According to which,

murţra- = murder (n.)
murţjan or murţrjan = murder (v.)

Theudanaz
Tuesday, July 25th, 2006, 04:10 PM
This might be a good question to ask on Theudiskon since it involves Proto-Norse, though arguably in the context you present, a date for this language would move it closer to Old Norse. The language did not make a complete shift in 800 AD on January 1st. It was of course gradual. Assuming the proto-norse is 7th or 8th century, it will hardly be different from Old Norse, and might even use the younger futhark. If the names were found on a spear that dated to say 400 or 500 AD then maybe one could make a case for a conservative Proto-Norse closer to Proto-Germanic. This would affect certain vowel lengths, whether or not umlaut is present and the thematic vowels in the nominative sg (=a= being the first lost).



836 A.D. (The period when Old Norse had just begun to be used, starting 36 years prior, before 800 A.D. was Proto-Norse and before that was Proto-Germanic).

The spear will have the enscription of the warriors who bore the weapon before the current man, Vigolfr Audolfsson "Battle-Wolf, Noble-Wolf's son", so it will go back before 800 A.D. and I'd like to use Proto-Norse names for those warriors.

I thank everyone who has helped so far.

Edit: And I appologize for originally placing this thread in the Northern Germanic section, was in a bit of a hurry.

Eberhardt
Tuesday, July 25th, 2006, 04:50 PM
What is "Proto-Germanic"? As far as I know, Germanic language came upon the world out of Sweden almost overnight. Please, someone, list one Proto-Germanic word for me. The only Proto-Germanic I can think of might be Illyrian but I am not a linguist and we have great linguists here at Skadi.
Well, Kuningaz is "leader" or chieftain. Wulfaz is "wolf", Beraz is "bear", Haukoz is "Hawk", most of the words are close to what they are now in our modern Germanic languages.

This might be a good question to ask on Theudiskon since it involves Proto-Norse, though arguably in the context you present, a date for this language would move it closer to Old Norse. The language did not make a complete shift in 800 AD on January 1st. It was of course gradual. Assuming the proto-norse is 7th or 8th century, it will hardly be different from Old Norse, and might even use the younger futhark. If the names were found on a spear that dated to say 400 or 500 AD then maybe one could make a case for a conservative Proto-Norse closer to Proto-Germanic. This would affect certain vowel lengths, whether or not umlaut is present and the thematic vowels in the nominative sg (=a= being the first lost).
Yes, I was thinking that Old Norse would be used in such an enscription, because the spearhead could have been re-forged each time a new warrior inherited the spear to put in their name. So at the current period the names could all be translated into their common language of Old Norse.

Theudiskon sounds interesting as well, maybe for future preferences I should get this sorted out there. Plus I've grown quite an interest now for the conversion of the Germanic language tree.

Thanks again everyone, made me double-think certain things and helped get me back on the right track. :thumbup

Hauke Haien
Thursday, February 4th, 2010, 09:41 AM
The differences between attested Proto-Norse and unattested Proto-Germanic are small. The difference in name is mostly a matter of convention. Inscriptions found in Scandinavia are considered to be in P-N; inscriptions found elsewhere that are old enough are considered to be Proto-Germanic. For example, the name inscribed on the Negau helmet is Proto-Germanic though it would be the same in Proto-Norse. One distinctive difference between the two is the P-N lowering of P-G ē to ā; this is easiest seen in the pair mēna (Gothic) and máni (Old Norse) (English moon). When the phoneme /z/, a voiced apico-alveolaric fricative, represented in runic writing by the *Algiz-rune, changed to /R/ an apico-post-alveolaric approximant, is debated.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proto-norse#Proto-Germanic_to_Proto-Norse

A good example is the "Proto-Norse" inscription on the Golden Horns of Gallehus, discussed by Hans Friede Nielsen in his contribution to the Reallexikon der germanischen Altertumskunde, titled "The dialectal provenance of the Gallehus inscription":


But despite such minor chronological differences I firmly believe that Antonsen is right in regarding the early runic language as the predecessor of both North Germanic and some or all of the West Germanic languages, even though some of the specifically West Germanic or Ingveonic innovations are likely to have taken place at a time when the early runic language of Scandinavia was still more or less intact. Specifically North Germanic (Norse) developments occurred only after 500.

We are back where we started: with Prenzl, Antonsen, Kuhn and the North-West Germanic theory. Or would it be better to render it in print as the Northwest Germanic theory, seeing that we have (once more) come out in favour of Antonsen's version of this hypothesis?


Northwest Germanic is a proposed grouping of the Germanic dialects, representing the current consensus among Germanic historical linguists. It does not challenge the late 19th-century tri-partite division of the Germanic dialects into North Germanic, West Germanic and East Germanic, but proposes additionally that North and West Germanic remained as a subgroup after the southward migration of the East Germanic tribes, only splitting into North and West Germanic later. Whether this subgroup constituted a unified proto-language, or simply represents a group of dialects that remained in contact and close geographical proximity, is a matter of debate. The date by which such a grouping must have dissolved - in that innovations ceased to be shared - is also contentious, though it seems unlikely to have persisted after 500 AD, by which time the Anglo-Saxons had migrated to England and the Elbe Germanic tribes had settled in Southern Germany.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northwest_Germanic

Rodskarl Dubhgall
Tuesday, June 26th, 2018, 06:30 AM
A good example is the "Proto-Norse" inscription on the Golden Horns of Gallehus, discussed by Hans Friede Nielsen in his contribution to the Reallexikon der germanischen Altertumskunde, titled "The dialectal provenance of the Gallehus inscription":

Whilst I want to agree with Hauke Haien, the East Germanic tribes seem to have more of an original relationship with North Germanic tribes, whatever the later historical alignment became of that. The Goths and Burgundians actually came from Scandinavia, whereas the West Germanic tribes came from Jutland. I'm in favor of dropping the artificial, anachronistic divisions and just calling West Germanic Athanasian, East Germanic Arian and North Germanic Heathen. I value the Reformation confessional groupings on the same level, otherwise consider these to be artificial divisions