I was interested in this book based on this description:
Never be lost for words again…with this book of lost words. Have you ever wanted to wield the silver tongue of Loki, or to hammer home your point like a Thundergod? Old Norse is the language of legends and the stuff of sagas, the inspiration for Tolkien and Marvel, for award-winning manga and epic videogames. It is the language of cleverly crafted kennings, blood-curdling curses, and pithy retorts to Ragnarök. Old Norse for Modern Times gives you the perfect phrase for every contemporary situation […] With over 500 phrases inside (plus the chance to add your own!) it is the perfect guide for Vikings fans, whether they are re-enactors, role-players, or simply in love with Ragnar.
What this doesn’t say is that this is a humor book and not an actual, useful language guide. (Okay … so I’m not sure how useful a language guide of an ancient language would be, but I think the description offers some suggestions.)
The book is filled with pre-defined phrases and since you’re not likely to go on a trip and need to communicate with some old Norse, the given phrases are geared more for fun with friends, such as:
I don’t believe in astrology. I am a Sagittarius, and we are skeptical. (Eigi trúa ek stjǫrnufrǿði þeiri, ek em bogmaðr ok vér erom engi auðtrúa flón.)
This looks like a job for Superman. (Mun verk þetta hæfa Ofrmenninu.)
Only dead fish follow the stream. (Aðeins dauðir fiskar fylgja árstraumi.)
You are the dancing queen. (Þér eruð dansdróttningin.)
Not sure how to read or pronounce this? There’s a brief (not quite two page) Introduction which includes a simple pronunciation guide for three of the unique letter (Eth (uppercase: Ð, lowercase: ð); Thorn or þorn (Þ, þ);Æ (æ)).
I followed a link in my digital copy of the book and discovered that there’s a series of book by author Ian Stuart Sharpe (Ión Stívarður Skarpi) set in the ‘Vikingverse’ and clearly this is to serve as a sort of addendum to the other works (books and comic books) in the series. (Actually, some of those other works look more interesting to me.)
This is fine as a novelty or humor book, but it’s not particularly practical and you have to really want to say some of these phrases in your D&D or other RPG games to want to add this to your collection.
Svo segi ég, bókagagnrýnandi.
Looking for a good book? Old Norse for Modern Times by Ian Stuart Sharpe is a fun book but has some pretty limited uses.
I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
* * * * * *
Old Norse for Modern Times
author: Ian Stuart Sharpe
publisher: Outland Entertainment
hardcover, 102 pages