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Jawbone78
03-02-2013, 07:15 PM
Hey everybody. I'm new here, but I've played about 12 hours of Factions so far and I'm loving it. One thing in particular that I'm appreciating is that they haven't compromised at all with the spelling of the Norse names.

Since no one else seems to have posted about this (forgive me if I'm wrong :)), here's a quick overview of the particulars of the Icelandic alphabet:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Icelandic_alphabet
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Help:IPA_for_Icelandic

The short version:

"­" makes a soft "th" sound, like in "this"
"■" makes a hard "th" sound, like in "thick"
"÷" makes an "er" sound without the "r", if that makes sense.
"Š" makes a long "i" sound, like "fly"


I'll spare you the details on the rest of the particular vowel sounds. They're not exactly the way we pronounce them in English though, and they all change when accented.

Two other things to bear in mind:

Emphasis is virtually always placed on the first syllable of a word, never in the middle as is typical in Romance languages (French, Italian, Spanish -- our language is technically Germanic, but we have a lot of words with Romance origins, and so we have a habit of emphasizing middle syllables in English)
There are no "silent" consonants. Every letter is there to be pronounced - even when two of the same letter appear next to one another. There are some two-letter diphthongs - two vowels together which make a distinctive sound, like "ei".


This won't get you all the way there, but hopefully this helps some people to read the many exotic names in the game.

Have fun!

trisenk
03-02-2013, 07:35 PM
"÷" makes an "er" sound without the "r", if that makes sense.
This makes absolutely no sense to my slavic brain, but wikipedia says that it's similar to German "÷", which is probably better known.

Thanks for the super concise overview. I'm usually pretty bad at this. I've read "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo", which has a similar shortlist before the actual novel, but I've completely forgotten every single rule after like 5 pages... But I promise I'll try harder for The Banner Saga! :)

Gu­mundr
03-02-2013, 10:03 PM
Nice post! I might add that ÷ is pronounced like the e in bet, except with the lips rounded (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roundedness).

Lekkit
03-05-2013, 07:30 AM
And this is what it sounds like when the Icelandic vikings talk.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9l5N1XTTEps

hr.oskar
03-16-2013, 05:29 PM
This brief pronunciation guide is correct, though there is a lot more to say if you actually want to pronounce modern Icelandic correctly (I'm a native Icelandic speaker btw).

To be really correct though, Old Norse wasn't pronounced like modern Icelandic, and if you want to approximate how "real Vikings" sounded you could just as well pronounce the names as a Norwegian or Swede would read them. That would actually be more correct! The reason for this is that although Icelandic is the closest to the old language in terms of grammar and vocabulary, Icelandic pronunciation is in many ways more different from the old speech than Swedish or Norwegian are. Of course, that didn't stop Stoic from using Icelandic voice acting in their intro (even with an Icelandic accent on the English speech), which was fine, and quite funny for me as an Icelander.

Product Placement
07-26-2013, 05:53 AM
This brief pronunciation guide is correct, though there is a lot more to say if you actually want to pronounce modern Icelandic correctly (I'm a native Icelandic speaker btw).

To be really correct though, Old Norse wasn't pronounced like modern Icelandic, and if you want to approximate how "real Vikings" sounded you could just as well pronounce the names as a Norwegian or Swede would read them. That would actually be more correct! The reason for this is that although Icelandic is the closest to the old language in terms of grammar and vocabulary, Icelandic pronunciation is in many ways more different from the old speech than Swedish or Norwegian are. Of course, that didn't stop Stoic from using Icelandic voice acting in their intro (even with an Icelandic accent on the English speech), which was fine, and quite funny for me as an Icelander.
Yeah... That would be my fault. I was the one who introduced Stoic to Studio Sřrland (the people doing the voices).

As for Swedish/Norwegian pronunciation being the more correct one, you're just as far off with those accents as you'd be with Icelandic, if not more. Of course, we don't have recorded samples of Old Norse, so it's mostly educated guesswork, but comparing the vocabulary of Norwegian, Swedish and Icelandic to a thousand year old samples of Old Norse text, will dramatically show you how much the mainland languages have changed, compared to the island languages. Norwegian and Swedish have experienced thousand years worth of exposure to other languages, which have altered them over time. Icelandic and Faroese, on the other hand, experienced more isolation and thus those languages changed less. Also, there are certain regional dialects from the more isolated northern regions, in Norway that are very similar to Icelandic.

So in short. The most isolated regions that used to speak Old Norse are all speaking very similar languages, which differs from Modern Norwegian/Swedish. Sounds to me like we're better off picking one of them to represent the old language :■

Now Danish, on the other hand, is a lost cause (no offense Denmark). It's by far the most "corrupted" of the Scandinavian languages, demonstrating heavy influence from modern German and English and has the least amount of commonality with Old Norse, compared with the other Scandinavian languages. It made me a very sad person when Cid Meyer's Civ 5 decided to use Danish as the official language for the Viking faction.

P.S.



"÷" makes an "er" sound without the "r", if that makes sense.

When I explain "÷" to people, I like to point at the "ea" part in "Earth". I find it to be the closest English representation to that sound.

Wordplay
09-29-2013, 08:46 PM
The first two, and the fourth letter were in the English language right up until the introduction to the Italic font for moveable type, which killed them off, along with the letter yogh. Their disappearance is responsible for many of the inconsistencies in English spelling, for example, the silent 'hs' in 'night', 'the', and 'ghost'. It also explains some of the inconsistencies between English and Scottish spellings, because they regularised yogh with a 'z' character. I see that the Icelandic names for the letters are the same as the English ones; eth, thorn and ash respectively.

I was taught to pronounce eth and thorn in a similar way to listing above, but I was taught that, in Old English and Middle English ash was pronounced like the 'a' in apple...though they might have meant the way that apple was pronounced before the great vowel shift.