Old Norse Language

Undergraduate course

Course description

Objectives and Content

The aim of this course is that students should be able to read and understand simple Old Norse prose texts, with emphasis on the grammatical and lexical aspects.

The course will give the students an elementary introduction to Old Norse language, by studying grammar and reading normalized Old Norse prose texts.

Learning Outcomes


After successfully completing this course, students will have:

- Good knowledge of the Old Norse language in prose texts with normalized orthography.

- A clear understanding of the structure of the Old Norse language, including phonology, morphology and syntax.


- The ability to read Old Norse prose texts in normalized orthography with the help of a dictionary and a grammar book.

- The ability to analyse morphological and syntactical characteristics in Old Norse prose texts.

- The ability to translate Old Norse prose texts to a modern language.

General Competence

- The ability to understand the grammatical structure of a new language.

- The ability to work with texts in a different language by using dictionaries, grammar books and commentaries and the like.

Level of Study


Semester of Instruction


Place of Instruction

Required Previous Knowledge
Students must have a good knowledge of the Norwegian language.
Recommended Previous Knowledge
Credit Reduction due to Course Overlap
15 credits overlap with NOFI201
Access to the Course
The course is open to all students with the right to study at UiB.
Teaching and learning methods

Lectures and/or seminars

It is expected that the students participate during the lectures. Both oral and written assignments will be given.

If less than five students are registered to a course, the department might reduce the teaching, please see the department's guidelines regarding this on Mitt UiB. Regarding a course where this is a possibility, the students will get information about this at the beginning of the semester, and before the deadline regarding semester registration 1st February/1st September.

Compulsory Assignments and Attendance

1) Obligatory attendance at at least 75% of the scheduled lectures.

2) The students must give a short presentation (10-15 minutes) on a topic related to the course. The topic will be agreed with the lecturer, who also will approve the presentation.

3) If the student, in consultation with the lecturer, sets up an alternative syllabus to the standard one, the student must hand in and have the syllabus list approved within the advertised deadline.

The compulsory requirements are valid for the given semester.

Forms of Assessment

Written examination of 6 hours.

It is permitted to write in Norwegian, Danish, Swedish, English or German.

The examination may consist of both seen texts (from the syllabus) and unseen texts (not from the syllabus).

Grading Scale
Grade scale A-F.
Assessment Semester
Reading List


A. Primary Texts

A selection of Old Norse prose texts (approx. 30 pages) spanning different genres.

B. Secondary Texts

A larger Old Norse grammar, e.g. Odd Einar Haugen's Grunnbok i norrønt språk, Oslo: Gyldendal Akademisk (1993 and later editions) or Ragnvald Iversen, Norrøn grammatikk, Oslo: Tano (1973 and later editions).

There is the opportunity to change parts of the literature on the syllabus in consultation with the lecturer. In this case, the candidate must contact the course lecturer as soon as possible, and hand in and have the syllabus list approved within the advertised deadline.

Course Evaluation
Evaluation will be conducted in accordance with the University of Bergen's quality assurance system.
Examination Support Material

Examination support material is permitted. Permitted support material is an Old Norse dictionary and an Old Norse grammar. The student is responsible for bringing his or her own support material.

International students may in addition use a dictionary from their own language to modern Norwegian, and from modern Norwegian to their own language.