Ptur Kntsson, University of Iceland

   Some differences between Old English and Icelandic (Old Norse) morphology

1. ON has +r in nom. masc. sg. :

Old Norse Old English
garr geard 'yard'
konungr cyning 'king'
gr gd 'good'

2. ON has +t in neuter:

Old Norse Old English
 allt flk eal folc 'all people'
eitt skip n scip 'one ship'
gott hs gd hs 'a good house'

3 ON has u-umlaut:

Old Norse Old English
dgum dagum 'days' (dative plural)
ll eal 'all' (neuter plural)
brn bearn 'children'
(traces of u-umlaut in some northern OE texts)

4 but OE often retains u which has been lost in ON: (see this slide on "-u comes and goes")

Old Norse Old English
gjf giefu 'gift'
ft fatu 'clothes'
au scip scipu 'those ships'

5 Plural "they": OE has h but ON þ;  Icelandic separate forms for 3 genders:

Old Norse Old English
h 'they'
eim heom 'them'
eirra hira 'their'

6 ON has postpositioned article:

Old Norse Old English
konungr-inn se cyning 'the king'
gjf-in seo giefu 'the gift
skip-it t scip 'the ship'


7. OE has ,-,or -t in 3rd sg. present verbs:

Old Norse Old English
dmir dm '(he) judges'
btur btt/bte '(he) bites'
kissir cyst '(he) kisses'
lofar lofa '(he) praises'

8. Present plural forms of verbs: one form for all persons in OE

Old Norse Old English
vr kissum, syngjum we cyssa, singa 'we kiss, sing'
r kyssi, syngi ge cyssa, singa 'you kiss, sing'
au kyssa, syngja h cyssa, singa - they kiss, sing

9. Past plural forms of verbs: one form for all persons in OE  

Old Norse Old English
vr kisstum, sungum we cysston, sungon 'we kissed,sang'
r kysstu, sungu ge cysston, sungon 'you kissed,sang'
au kysstu, sungu h cysston, sungon - 'they kissed,sang'

10 Prefixes lost in OE

Old Norse Old English
ek em kominn ic eom gecumen 'I have come/arrived'
systkyni gesweostru 'brother(s) and sister(s)'
sl ofslan 'slay'
koma becuman 'arrive'

11 Negatives:

Old Norse Old English
eigi ne 'not'
engin(n), ekki nn 'no, none'
aldregi nfre 'never'
Ek s eigi konuna Ic ne gesah meowle

12. Here is an overview of the differences between the way strong verbs are formed
    from their principal parts in  Old English and Icelandic (.pps file)