Saturday, 19 June 2010


Warning, the following post might contain peanuts runes.
Also, you might find it extremely boring, in that case, skip it and wait a few days until a rant on something else. I plan one on underwear.

I'm working of it. Sort of. I decided that if the whole thing is going to suck, I should at least have stunning appendices.
Shortly after I started bringing this idea, which, as an idea, is rather okay, I realized the depths of my blunder.
One of the documents I'm working with is the testament of King Magnus and Queen Blanche of Sweden, given the 1st of May of 1346 in Lodöse.

Modern Swedish somewhat reminds a casual observer of modern German. In fact, the who knows one language can read the other and get the point. It was at the times of Hanseatic League that carried nearly all the trade around the Baltic Sea (and elsewhere), when the Swedes improved their vocabulary by adopting many German words (Low German, in fact, but don't ask me pretty please on the historical development of German, thankyouverymuch). Specific vocabulary related to trade but lots of others. Anything with the prefix för- is of German origin, for example. My knowledge of German is very superficial, acquired mainly while changing trains at the now torn down South Station in Vienna and those eight years of German at schools I refuse to count because my brain refused to have anything to do with the cunning forms of torture German language teachers are so fond of. But still, knowing at least some German helps indeed.
And, in 1346, German-derived words were not in fashion yet.

Obviously, it's written in language over 650 years old and considerably changed. I had a course on historical development of Swedish which I sometimes attended and didn't sleep through it and I've read about things which shows to be an advantage. So 'iorþrike' can be easily understood as jordiska riket, earthly kingdom (after all, it's a testament of a king), but what the freaking hell is 'harþlicæ plictugher'? Swedish dropped declination and conjugation so the latter would be most likely related to today's plikt, duty, but still. I'd rather be playing with jigsaw puzzles or knitting Estonian lace.

Or I could have remained stupid.


  1. You're trying to read it in original Swedish from 650 years ago?! That is certainly ambitious (and good for patience). :) I was having some serious trouble with modern day Swedish when I started to learn it at the university, I kept losing track of words when syllables went missing while our professor spoke. :D

  2. Ines, I'd rather call it mad than ambitious. And my spoken Swedish... well, it works better after a bottle of wine. And people say I have Finnish accent - I've never discovered whether it's supposed to be a good thing or not.

  3. Good luck!
    ANd I do have some Old Norse under my belt, so if you need a second reader, feel free to send it my way..

    I'm always happy for distractions from my own dissertation ;-)

  4. Bonne Vivante, I'll finish the transcription and I can send it to you with the bits I totally don't understand.