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Thread: Hfrnska (High Icelandic): An Ultra Pure Version of the Icelandic Language

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    Lightbulb Hfrnska (High Icelandic): An Ultra Pure Version of the Icelandic Language

    Hfrnska or High Icelandic is a work in progress to create an ultra-pure version of the icelandic language. Modern icelandic has only 16% foreign words (the lowest in the world, I think) but High Icelandic has 0% foreign words and is thus a 100% pure icelandic language.

    http://users.telenet.be/Hafronska/
    http://d8486.u24.triplus.be/online/index.php

    The High Icelandic Language movement has its origin in the Icelandic hyperpuristic circles of the nineties. Its members were inspired by the puristic extremities of the nineteenth-century Fjlnismen and the fanatic translation of Goethes Faust by Bjarni Jnsson fr Vogi. Towards the end of the millennium the movement was nothing more than a few individuals who were unsatisfied with the in their opinion moderately puristic endeavours of the Icelandic word-commissions. These men went further where the Fjlnismen had stopped. Lists of purely Icelandic geographical names, Icelandicized proper names and names of chemicals were collected. All these efforts culminated in the foundation of the Language Laundry (Nyrasmija Mlvottahs), which brought hyperpurism into the spotlight. The notion that word-building has to be regarded as an art and that those who practise it should be regarded as scalds (nyraskld), inspired a lot of people and a fanatic circle of enthusiasts emerged. Nevertheless, the hyperpuristic attitude aroused a lot of destructive criticism from the side of the more moderate purists and the radical anti-puristic militants. The discussions were often heated and not particularily friendly. Hyperpurists were presented as a bunch of clowns who had lost all touch with the situation of the language within the framework of the Icelandic society. Some of the criticism went to the nerves of some wordscalds and some of them lost their temper. This, unfortunately, had a negative impact on the popularity of the movement and some members refused to cooperate any further. A year of silence followed and it was reflected upon what kind of strategy should be adopted in the future. The fear that none of their neologisms would ever gain acceptance by the general public combined with the constant rejection of the concept of linguistic purism forced the movement into adopting a different strategy: linguistic separartism. Criticizing puristic endeavours in an artificial tongue is meaningless since theres no imposition on the population and every man has the right to create an artificial language and choose its vocabulary. Inspired by the very conservative variant of New Norwegian (Nynorsk), High Norwegian (Hgnorsk), the hyperpurists started the construction of the loan-word-lacking, metaphor-dense Hypericelandic language (Hfrnska).

    The bulk of High Icelandic vocabulary is identical with that of present-day Icelandic. When word-frequency is taken into account, both languages differ only a 3%. It has exactly the same grammar, pronounciation, and spelling. The only difference lies in the fact that as much loan-words as possible are replaced by neologisms based upon the Icelandic vocabulary: graffi (gnfingi), pskar (vorjl), etc.. Concepts like mlvndun are unexistent in High Icelandic. The language is already as clean as possible from the start. The well-known generalization of the dative at the expense of accusative, the so-called dative-sickness is also inexistent in High Icelandic. If one doesnt master the cases, one simply cant speak High Icelandic. Yet another characteristic is the strong tendency to replace words by metaphoric or kenning-like neologisms: e.g. meitilskld (myndhggvari), eldblm (skoteldur), mlferjumaur (tlkur), stlhkarl (kafbtur), mlmrn (orrustuflugvl), blkustorkur (flugela).

    It goes without saying that the achievements by the word-commitees during the last decades spares us from a lot of work. We can fully concentrate on the part of the Icelandic vocabulary that has been left unpurified: geographical names, proper names, names of chemicals, minerals, ect.

    Languages free of foreignisms dont exist. From a linguistic point of view, there is no such thing as a pure language. All languages (even High Icelandic) have borrowings. But there is a difference between purity and originality. A word like sinkbrir for cadmium contains a loan-word, but the compound as a whole is unique in the world. In a way, this kind of genuineness could be interpreted as a form of purity. Still the High Icelandics aim at reducing as much as possible the foreign words in Icelandic that were borrowed after the first written texts. The exclusion of many words wont necessarily lead to language impoverishment. In order to avoid that, a large part of obsolete Old Norse vocabulary will be resurrected. The result will be a hyperpure variant of modern Icelandic.

    It goes without saying that the achievements by the word-commitees during the last decades spares us from a lot of work. We can fully concentrate on the part of the Icelandic vocabulary that has been left unpurified: geographical names, proper names, names of chemicals, minerals, ect.

    Languages free of foreignisms dont exist. From a linguistic point of view, there is no such thing as a pure language. All languages (even High Icelandic) have borrowings. But there is a difference between purity and originality. A word like sinkbrir for cadmium contains a loan-word, but the compound as a whole is unique in the world. In a way, this kind of genuineness could be interpreted as a form of purity. Still the High Icelandics aim at reducing as much as possible the foreign words in Icelandic that were borrowed after the first written texts. The exclusion of many words wont necessarily lead to language impoverishment. In order to avoid that, a large part of obsolete Old Norse vocabulary will be resurrected. The result will be a hyperpure variant of modern Icelandic.

    The similarity between Icelandic and its extreme twin-sister is reflected in the design of their flags. Both are characterized by a sky-blue background-colour with in the middle a fiery-red symbol outlined in snow-white. Since speakers of High Icelandic lay special emphasis on language archaization, the representive symbol dates from the prechristian era. The thunderhammer, widely accepted as th symbol of the Old Norse culture, was an obvious choice. The symbol is stylized in the same way as the cross in the existing flag. Every vexillologist should immediately recognize the Icelandic nature of the flag.

    It is, however, unfortunate that present-day use use of ancient pagan symbols is immediately linked up with the fascistic world of thought. In this respect, the Old Norse hammer-symbol would excellently fit Scandinavian neo-nazism, which is regrettably already an afterstatement. The maculation of beautiful ancient symbols by totalitarian regimes is a disgrace and people should continue to appreciate this cultural inheritance for what it really signified before it was abused. A healthy form of nationalism that does NOT require contempt of other cultures DOES exist and theres no reason why these symbols couldnt be part of it.

    We emphasize that we are completely neutral as regards politics and religion. We have not in the least anything against the christian faith or whatever religious faith or political ideology. The High Icelandic language movement is merely a linguistic one and devoted to the creation of a puristic stronghold within the Icelandic speaking community.

    The future speakers of hypericelandic wont necessarily be Icelandic. Every speaker of a Scandinavian language and last but not least every human being on this planet who is interested in Old Scandinavian culture is a potential student of Hfrnska. Geographical dispersion is no obstacle anymore in this era of mass media. It is uncertain whether we will equal the popularity of Nynorsk, but the phenomenon will be noticed.

    Although many Icelandic scholars doubt the future success of High Icelandic, their will be a small community of speakers well before the end of this decade. A famous software engineer stated that 99 percent of the Icelanders would be uninterested. If we have to take his words literally, they sound very encouraging. It means that 2750 people would be willing to make the effort to learn Hypericelandic. If you compare this number with those of some endangered linguistic communities, the situation of High Icelandic isnt that lamentable. We would be a considerable minority. More numerous than the Icelandic satr.

    For now, we are still but a handful of enthusiastic icelanders who are working hard to give shape to our new language. We call upon every compatriot who is interested to join us and to help us in our neologistic endeavours. Search your dictionaries and target every unicelandic word you find. Many times you will be disappointed and unable to find a good native replacement. However, if you dont succeed at first, try again later. Search the web for information about the term you want to translate. You will find many interesting links on this web-site that will spare you a lot of time. If anyone has original ideas or can provide us with interesting links, please dont hesitate to inform us. Every neologism will be listed along with the name of the author, if she or he asks for it.

    To end up with, we want to thank all those people who have made this possible who morally supported us.
    Nyraskldin
    "I have reached these lands but newly
    From an ultimate dim Thule
    From a wild weird clime, that lieth, sublime,
    Out of SPACE out of TIME
    ."
    Edgar Allan Poe


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    Smile Re: Hfrnska - High Icelandic

    Hi. He calls himself Timbur-Helgi (carpenter-saint) Hermansson. He is a very interesting person.

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    Last edited by Oskorei; Sunday, September 18th, 2005 at 10:53 PM.

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    Post Re: Hfrnska - High Icelandic

    Nice initiative. I think a similar attempt in Sweden would be futile (the number of loan-words is already too big), but with Icelands unique situation it should hopefully have a greater chance of success.

    Nice pictures also.

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    Post Re : Hfrnska - High Icelandic

    Interesting. But it means they'll have to invent new words to name "things" that your Icelandic forefathers didn't know? Afterall that's the reason why all languages have foreign words in their vocabulary. So will the resurrection of Old Norse vocabulary sufficient?
    Last edited by Weg; Monday, September 19th, 2005 at 12:01 AM.
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    Smile Re: Re : Hfrnska - High Icelandic

    Quote Originally Posted by Weg
    Interesting. But it means they'll have to invent new words to name "things" that your Icelandic forefathers didn't know? Afterall that's the reason why all languages have foreign words in their vocabulary. So will the resurrection of Old Norse vocabulary sufficient?
    You are correct, they have to invent new words to name "things" that my Icelandic forefathers didn't know. That is the way to keep the language pure. That's why those guys call themselves nyraskld (new word creators).

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    Post Re : Hfrnska - High Icelandic

    Should we call you þjóðherji or nýþjóðherji?
    Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscripti catapultas habebunt.

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    Post Re: Re : Hfrnska - High Icelandic

    Quote Originally Posted by Weg
    Should we call you jherji or njherji?
    Yeah, sure! It's a good word for a good cause!
    Blverji (blood guardian) is also good.

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    Post Re: Re : Hfrnska - High Icelandic

    An interesting proposition, and one I support wholeheartedly, it's a shame so many Scandinavian languages are riddled with loan-words from other cultures from outside our geographical region, because pure versions of each would be a grand thing indeed.


    Also, on a side note, I approve of the new username and such
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    Post Re: Re : Hfrnska - High Icelandic

    Quote Originally Posted by Weg
    Interesting. But it means they'll have to invent new words to name "things" that your Icelandic forefathers didn't know? Afterall that's the reason why all languages have foreign words in their vocabulary. So will the resurrection of Old Norse vocabulary sufficient?




    We already have a Government branch whose sole duty is to fabricate, new, purely Icelandic words for new inventions etc (in fact we are the only country in the world with such an organisation) slensk mlstefna is becoming ever more popular and rightly so

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    Post Re : Re: Re : Hfrnska - High Icelandic

    Quote Originally Posted by Lundi
    We already have a Government branch whose sole duty is to fabricate, new, purely Icelandic words for new inventions etc (in fact we are the only country in the world with such an organisation) slensk mlstefna is becoming ever more popular and rightly so
    And yourself, are you learning slensk mlstefna?
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