As defined by the Cleasby & Vigfusson Old Norse to English dictionary:
- adj., Danir, pl. Danes; Dan-mörk, f. Denmark, i. e. the mark, march, or border of the Danes; Dana-veldi, n. the Danish empire; Dana-virki, n. the Danish wall, and many compds, vide Fms. xi. This adj. requires special notice, because of the phrase Dönsk tunga (the Danish tongue), the earliest recorded name of the common Scandinavian tongue. It must be borne in mind that the ‘Danish’ of the old Saga times applies not to the nation, but to the empire. According to the researches of the late historian P.A. Munch, the ancient Danish empire, at least at times, extended over almost all the countries bordering on the Skagerac (Vík); hence a Dane became in Engl. synonymous with a Scandinavian; the language spoken by the Scandinavians was called Danish; and ‘Dönsk tunga’ is even used to denote Scandinavian extraction in the widest extent, vide Sighvat in Fms. iv. 73, Eg. ch. 51, Grág. ii. 71, 72. During the 11th and 12th centuries the name was much in use, but as the Danish hegemony in Scandinavia grew weaker, the name became obsolete, and Icel. writers of the 13th and 14th centuries began to use the name ‘Norræna,’ Norse tongue, from Norway their own mother country, and the nearest akin to Icel. in customs and idiom. ‘Swedish’ never occurs, because Icel. had little intercourse with that country, although the Scandinavian tongue was spoken there perhaps in a more antique form than in the sister countries. In the 15th century, when almost all connection with Scandinavia was broken off for nearly a century, the Norræna in its turn became an obsolete word, and was replaced by the present word ‘Icelandic,’ which kept its ground, because the language in the mean time underwent great changes on the Scandinavian continent. The Reformation, the translation of the Old and New Testaments into Icelandic (Oddr Gotskalksson, called the Wise, translated and published the n. T. in 1540, and bishop Gudbrand the whole Bible in 1584), a fresh growth of religious literature, hymns, sermons, and poetry (Hallgrímr Pétrsson, Jón Vídalín), the regeneration of the old literature in the 17th and 18th centuries (Brynjólfr Sveinsson, Arni Magnússon, Þormóðr Torfason),—all this put an end to the phrases Dönsk tunga and Norræna; and the last phrase is only used to denote obsolete grammatical forms or phrases, as opposed to the forms and phrases of the living language. The translators of the Bible often say ‘vort Íslenzkt mál,’ our Icelandic tongue, or ‘vort móður mál,’ our mother tongue; móður-málið mitt, Pass. 35. 9. The phrase ‘Dönsk tunga’ has given rise to a great many polemical antiquarian essays: the last and the best, by which this question may be regarded as settled, is that by Jon Sigurdsson in the preface to Lex. Poët.; cp. also that of Pál Vídalín in Skýr. s. v., also published in Latin at the end of the old Ed. of Gunnl. Saga, 1775.
Possible runic inscription in Younger Futhark:ᛏᛅᚾᛋᚴᚱ
Younger Futhark runes were used from 8th to 12th centuries in Scandinavia and their overseas settlements
- Iceland, Icelander, Icelanders, Icelandic.
- i. e.
- id est.
- s. v.
- sub voce.
Works & Authors cited:
- Egils Saga. (D. II.)
- Fornmanna Sögur. (E. I.)
- Grágás. (B. I.)
- Lex. Poët.
- Lexicon Poëticum by Sveinbjörn Egilsson, 1860.
- N. T.
- New Testament.
Also available in related dictionaries:
This headword also appears in dictionaries of other languages descending from Old Norse.