Old Norse -> Solutions -> Lesson 1

Solutions to Lesson One

by Haukur Þorgeirsson 2001

3.1 Mark the pronouns' cases (optional)

I nominative subject
he nominative complement
thy genitive (ignore for now)
whom accusative object
thou nominative subject
him accusative object
she nominative subject
them accusative object
him accusative prepositional
he nominative subject
her accusative prepositional
her accusative prepositional
me accusative prepositional
my genitive (ignore for now)
him accusative object
thou nominativesubject
he nominativecomplement
thy genitive (ignore for now)
In particular note the use 'I am he'. It may be more normal English to say 'I am him' but we feel it is important to familiarise you with the idea of a complement in the nominative case.

3.2 Translate the phrases into English.

a) Dvergrinn á baug.
b) Hjálm á Haukr.
c) Álfrinn sér draug.
d) Hann er konungrinn.
e) Hann sér dverginn.
a) Dvergrinn á baug.
The dwarf owns/has a ring.
The verb 'á' is often used where English would use 'owns'. In general, Norse uses 'á' to indicate possession and 'hefir' to indicate that something is being held or carried.

b) Hjálm á Haukr.
Haukr owns/has a helmet.
Same case here. If it had been 'Hjálm hefir Haukr.' we would assume not only that Haukr had a helmet but that he was wearing it right now.

c) Álfrinn sér draug.
The elf sees a ghost.
The norse mythological creature 'álfr' is perhaps not completely accurately translated by 'elf' but the word is of the same root and is usually translated like this. The meaning of 'draugr' is captured by 'ghost' fairly accurately.

d) Hann er konungrinn.
He is the king.
Notice that since the verb 'er' takes a complement there is a word in nominative on both sides.

e) Hann sér dverginn.
He sees the dwarf.
Once more 'dwarf' may mistranslate 'dvergr' but only slightly.

3.3 Translate the phrases into Old Norse

a) The ghost kills the king.
Draugrinn vegr konunginn.
Vegr draugrinn konunginn.
Konunginn vegr draugrinn.
Since the subject is the ghost and the object is the king the ghost gets the nominative ending but the king doesn't. Word order is irrelevant. The three above are all equally possible.

b) The elf kills a wolf.
Álfrinn vegr úlf.
Vegr álfrinn úlf.
Úlf vegr álfrinn.
This case is analogous to the one above, the only difference is that now the object has not got the definite article.

c) The king sees a hawk.
Konungrinn sér hauk.
Sér konungrinn hauk.
Hauk sér konungrinn.
More of the same.

d) Óláfr is a king.
Óláfr er konungr.
Er Óláfr konungr.
Konungr er Óláfr.
The verb 'er' doesn't behave like 'sér' and 'vegr' above. Instead of taking an object it takes a complement. Complements belong in the nominative case - so does the subject which means that both words are in nominative.

e) A king is named Óláfr.
Óláfr heitir konungr.
Konungr heitir Óláfr.
Heitir konungr Óláfr.
The verb 'heitir' works like 'er' above. Those verbs work like an equals sign.

3.4 Translate the text into English

Óláfr heitir konungr. Hann á brand. Heitir brandrinn Tyrfingr. Úlf sér Óláfr ok segir: "Hér er úlfr!". Óláfr tekr brandinn ok vegr úlfinn. En hér er ok ormr. Óláfr sér hann eigi. Óláf vegr ormrinn.
A king is named Óláfr. He has a sword. The sword is called Tyrfingr. Óláfr sees a wolf and says: "Here is a wolf!". Ólafr takes the sword and slays the wolf. But here is also a worm. Óláfr doesn't see it. The worm kills Óláfr.

3.5 Translate the text into Norse

A king is called Sigurðr. He owns a sword but not a horse. Óláfr is also a king. He owns a horse. Sigurðr kills Óláfr and takes the horse.
Heitir konungr Sigurðr. Á hann brand en hest eigi. Óláfr heitir ok konungr. Hest á hann. Sigurðr vegr Óláf ok tekr hestinn.