Old Norse -> Technical issues

Technical issues

If the following is incomprehensible (or simply not helpful) to you and you are having difficulties viewing the site as intended please do not hesitate to write to the mailing list with your problems (or to me personally, though I'd prefer the mailing list).
This site uses html-files compliant with the specifications of the World Wide Web Consortium for HTML 4.01 Transitional and css-files compliant with the specifications of the same organisation for CSS 2.
A few simple things are done with PHP.
Graphics have been created and treated with KIllustrator and the GIMP.
Text has been written with Vi IMproved, Notepad, Textpad, and, early on, with Microsoft Word.
Some of the files are in DOS-format; some are in UNIX-format. The difference is only whether one or two characters (CR & LF) are used to indicate a new line. Most reasonably advanced text editors are able to handle both forms without trouble (not that I expect you'll be meddling much with the source; but if you want to you are welcome) and browsers should have no problem with either.
Users of fairly standard compliant browsers such as Konqueror, Internet Explorer and Netscape 6 should be able to view the whole site without problems.
Netscape 4 is known to have some ailments; it doesn't care for png-files and doesn't quite support all the features of CSS 2, resulting in (not very serious) alignment problems.
Most of the various Lynx versions work quite well; despite some problems with the stylesheet.
The character set used is ISO-8859-1, also known as Latin 1. This is limiting in some way. The Latin 1 character set does not contain the following three letters used in standardised Old Icelandic: o with hook, o with hook and accent, oe-ligature. Be especially aware that the character set does NOT contain the oe-ligature. Common Microsoft extended versions of the set DO contain the letter but since its use is not part of the ISO-standard I have avoided it; 'oe' is used instead. For hooked o we use . The 13th century Icelandic that is the focus of the course does not require hooked o with accent and we have not defined a replacement for it.
To test whether your system is correctly configured to display all the ISO-8859-1 characters used in this course you can use the following table.
a with accent
e with accent
o with accent
u with accent
y with accent
i with accent (and without dot)
o-umlaut (o with two dots above it)
thorn (looks like a cross between b and p)
eth (curved d with a stroke)
It is common to confuse the capital () and small case () versions of thorn. This is understandable since the small case version is physically larger in almost all fonts.
If you can view the above table your system is probably configured well enough to read Old Norse. You may be interested in how you go about writing Old Norse as well. One slow brute-force method is to copy individual letters (for example from the table above) and paste them into your text. For more extensive work (for example if you want to do your answers to the lessons in computerized text) you will probably want to use the Icelandic keyboard settings.

If you're having problems you can be almost certain that someone else is having similar problems. Searching the archives of the mailing list is likely to reveal discussions relevant to you. Here, for example, are three letters from the mailing list verbatim. They address Linux, Macintosh and Windows 9x in that order.

First letter:

To: norse_course@yahoogroups.com
From: "Steven T. Hatton" <hattons@bellatlantic.net>
Date: Tue, 14 Aug 2001 15:16:36 -0400
Subject: [norse_course] KDE (Linux) keys for 
	=?iso-8859-1?q?=F0=20=E6=20=E9=20=F3=20=F6?= etc.

I received the following form Sjoerd Hiemstra on the SuSE Linux mailing list:

> Assuming you're in X, you can use the Compose key.
> In SuSE Linux, this is the right Ctrl key by default.
> Examples, assuming that the character set is ISO 8859-1:
>      = <Compose> d-    (or -d, etc.)
>         Do not keep the Compose key pressed while typing d-.
>      = <Compose> ae
>      = <Compose> e'
>      = <Compose> th
>      = <Compose> TH
>      = <Compose> a'
>      = <Compose> o"
> See   /usr/X11R6/lib/X11/locale/iso8859-1/Compose
> and   man iso-8859-1.
> To assign Compose to another key, have a look at the hints given in
> ~/.Xmodmap.

I discovered that the righthand <win> key is  the one that works as <Compose> 
on my system.  I hope this may be of help to others.  It may be useful to 
have such information available on the web site. 


And the second letter:

To: norse_course@yahoogroups.com
From: Selvarv Stigard <selvarv@ragnarokr.com>
Date: Tue, 14 Aug 2001 09:01:21 -0700
Subject: Re: [norse_course] New format for lessons

Brunnhild wrote:
 >Looks fine to me, Haukur(Netscape Communicator 4) but i didn't understand
 >why so many "?"

I think the relevant detail here is that according to your headers, you're 
using Netscape 4 for the Mac - the problem you're having isn't with 
Netscape, but with MacOS - they forgot to put Icelandic-specific characters 
in their font sets, so the eth, thorn and accent-y are missing.  A few 
months back I made a post on the two methods to fix this - maybe there 
should be something about this on the official page?

1.  This is the most complete, but also the most work - go to 
http://www.apple.is/thjonusta/skraasafn/styrikerfiis/ and download the 
slenskustuningur package for the appropriate version of MacOS.  This will 
update your OS to Icelandic-compatible settings, including correcting all 
the built-in fonts.  However, you will then need to go through all your 
control panels and change your time zone, language, keyboard layout, etc, 
etc, etc, back to US (or wherever) settings.

2.  Just download some Mac fonts which have those characters and use those 
fonts to read your email and those web pages which use Icelandic 
characters.  A good URL for such fonts is 


Selvrv Stigrd
List Administrator:  Loki, Nidhstang, NordStudie and Redheads
Server Administrator:  RagnarkR.com
	Why should I pay eight bucks to see a planet
	violently ruled by mindless apes?  I have CNN.

And the third letter:

To: "'norse_course@yahoogroups.com '" 
From: "Lewis, Raymond J." 
Date: Fri, 13 Jun 2003 22:07:22 -0400
Subject: [norse_course] Entering Old Norse Characters

Entering Old Norse Characters

If you haven't a Macintosh, here are some ways that'll allow you to enter Old Norse characters.

Alter your standard keyboard to Mimic an Icelandic keyboard

In Windows '95 (or - probably '98 etc. with some slight alteration):

 1) click Start button

 2) go to Settings

 3) click Control Panel

 4) double click the Keyboard icon (opens up the Keyboard Properties window)

 5) click the language tab

 6) click the ADD button

 7) choose Icelandic from the list of languages offered

 8) take notice of the Switch Languages information (this will - probably have Left Alt + Shift as the default option) this will allow you to switch your keyboard by pressing, simultaneously, the left-hand Alt button and Shift button to switch your keyboard configuration back and forth from English to Icelandic - wherein a little En or Is will show up in the lower right-hand corner of your screen (next to the time) depending upon which configuration is in use at any given moment.

 9) click OK - and you're done.

10) You will find that the standard keyboard is no longer as it appears - so here is the translation:

,,,,, = ' (single quotation) + a,e,i,o,u,y
,,,, = ~ (tilde) + a,e,i,o,u -or- = - (dash)
= /
= [
= ;

There are a few other oddities to be gotten used to - but these are the important ones. There is no o-slash: . For that - and many other characters - see further.

Entering ISO characters

while holding down the Alt key - punch in the number 0248 with the number pad on the right-hand side of your keyboard, release the Alt key, and you will see the character . Following the same procedure with the number 0216 yields . Here is a more complete listing:

      0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 
011   n o p q r s t u v w 
012   x y z { | } ~     
014        ' ' " "  
      0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 
      0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 
      0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 
Prefix the row number with the column number to arrive at the character of choice. For example: row number 025 + column number 2 = 0252 = .