Old Norse, Norwegian, and Icelandic


Finder of things, Doer of stuff
Anyone here from Norway or Iceland?

I ask because it seems that a peculiar choice in outlander seems to be affecting some peoples opinions of the film. I've come across a couple of online comments from people in Iceland, norway, and even one from the netherlands (not sure why from there) about "linguistic errors" and such.

The comments are particularly odd if they are indeed refering to the language Caviezel's alien speaks at the outset of the film. Old norse is supposedly a dead language that only a few proffessors at universities know how to pronounce etc. Proto-Norse (similar to proto-germanic) was pretty much spoken between 200 to around 600 A.D. after which there was a gradual shift towards what is called Old-norse, with old norse pretty much being the norm by 800 A.D. and running it's course until around 1300 A.D. I assume the filmmakers used old norse and not proto-norse. Essentially old-norse is the language of the viking age. Outlander takes place in 709 A.D. which places it at or just before the start of the actual Viking age.

But it's also my understanding that Icelandic is one of the closest modern languages to old norse but mostly in how it's written and not how it's spoken. Norwegian is also a decendant language. So would the pronounciation of the ancient language in your opinion be close enough to the modern languages be enough to annoy filmgoers from that region when some words are pronounced differently and some words are simply different?


Finder of things, Doer of stuff
Ok, I think I need to clarify a few points, plus I have a few more bits to add. First, I don't think the actual language will be an issue. Most of the complaints were from people who haven't seen the film and didn't like what happened in other films that used bad versions of living languages for the vikings.

However, what seems to be an issue for some - and I've seen this come up more than once - is not the language but rather the transition from Old norse to english. Maybe the tecnique in the film is somewhat of a cheat but I fail to see how Kainan using some kind of star-trek-like universal translator is any less realistic than aliens in a viking movie. If you are not willing to go along with the movie's premise is this really a valid critism (example: futuristic techology "X" is unrealistic because "X" is too futuristic)? Granted I haven't seen the film and maybe that scene is filmed humorlesly (perhaps unintentionally) but how is this any different than aliens and humans speaking together flawlessly in Star Trek or Neo learning Kung-fu in "The Matrix"?

From what I understand, the scene in question involves Kainan taking out some kind of device / data pad that tells him what the ancient language is, and somehow the device or part of it is inserted in his ear and then allows him to communicate with the Vikings which for the Audiences sake are talking english.

Also, how is a movie derivative if reviewer "x" says it's just like these dozen other movies? If it takes that many different titles to describe what it's like than I don't imagine it's much like any of them in any significant way. I think the term becomes "referential" as opposed to "rip off."