- Series: Viking Language Series
- Paperback: 384 pages
- Publisher: Jules William Press; 2 edition (2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1480216445
- ISBN-13: 978-1480216440
- Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.8 x 10 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 56 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #55,471 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Viking Language 1: Learn Old Norse, Runes, and Icelandic Sagas (Viking Language Series) 2nd Edition
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Even the many academics who have done their best to learn Old Norse old-style, and then to teach it, will benefit from working through the course. As for students coming to the language without prior experience, they have it all: a very thorough grammar, but carefully spaced-out, explained without short cuts, and reinforced by exercises graded from absolute no-knowledge upward; well-selected and well-varied texts, with considerable use not only of the sagas but also of runestone-inscriptions, eddic poems and even notoriously difficult skaldic poems; and cultural background which takes in strange reports like that of the Arab traveller Ibn Fadlan (which gave rise to the movie The Thirteenth Warrior), maps, explanations and reconstructions...There is no-one better-qualified than Professor Byock to link up sagas with archaeology. (Tom Shippey)
About the Author
Jesse Byock is Distinguished Professor of Old Norse and Medieval Scandinavian Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles, and professor at UCLA’s Cotsen Institute of Archaeology. He directs the Mosfell Archaeological Project in Iceland. He received his Ph.D. from Harvard University. Prof. Byock teaches Old Norse, the Icelandic sagas, Viking history and archaeology and directs the Mosfell Archaeological Project (MAP) in Iceland. Jesse Byock is the author of Viking Age Iceland, and Feud in the Icelandic Saga. His translations from Old Norse The Prose Edda, The Saga of the Volsungs, The Saga of King Hrolf Kraki, and Grettir´s Saga. See www.vikingnorse.com and oldnorse.com and vikinglanguage.com
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edited to add: I found the answer key on their website, vikinglanguage.com, its free, and its helped me figure out a lot of my mistakes through the readings/exercises! YAY! Totallllllly worth the purchase now, I have no doubts I will be able to use this for my medieval re-enactment stuff!
Grammar explanations cover not only ON grammar, but also explain grammar for those unfamiliar with English structure. That being said, I think the explanations still might be a little bit difficult to follow for someone with absolutely no prior knowledge of the vocabulary used to talk about grammar (for example, what declensions are and what the role of each case is). I've had a lot of experience with Latin, so it's hard for me to be totally objective on the difficulty. I would say that if you have had prior language experience, the pace might be a little leisurely, but personally I only have a little bit of time to study ON everyday, so it hasn't been an issue at all.
The dictionary in the back of the book is only ON to English, so if you want to look up words that haven't been presented yet in a lesson, you'll have a tough time.
I do wonder at how thoroughly edited the book is. I've found multiple (though not frequent) typos so far, including one incorrect answer in the answer key posted online. I've found one instance of a word mentioned in a lesson not being included in the dictionary in the back. There are also occasional formatting issues. For example, many exercises are formatted into columns, and occasionally you'll find an instance where you have exercise 1 and 6 at the bottom of the page, and you have to flip to see 2-5 and 7-10. I've seen a reading similarly formatted, requiring you to flip to the next page in the middle of the text. Sometimes the word glosses for readings are also split and pushed onto the next page. None of these have been deal breakers for me, but it is certainly annoying to have to flip back and forth.
Overall, as someone with a lot of language experience and not a ton of time for going through exercises everyday, this book has been great.
I have been reading Professor Byock's work on the Vikings since college, so needless to say, I was delighted to see this course made available, in my case for self study. I am now two chapters into the book, and I think it incorporates a wonderful strategy and method and has tremendous potential. However, I have two criticisms that prevent this from being a 5 star purchase: the first is that the answer key really needs to be made available *now.* I understand that perhaps the book is intended for college courses and oftentimes the answer key is presented in a "teacher's only" reader, but for those of us doing self-study, it is absolutely crippling and seriously hampers the ability to use the book effectively. It's boggling to my mind that they would release this book at all without making the key available as a download on the website. I believe the intention is to have the key in Viking Reader 2, which I would be happy to buy, but it is not available and may not be for quite some time. The two books should have been published simultaneously. My advice if your are considering purchasing this book is to wait until the Viking Language 2 book comes out. My second criticism of this course is that the audio accompaniment, which you will have to pay for separately, is very fast and not terribly user friendly. It is not read in such a way that it is useful for a student unfamiliar with Icelandic and very difficult to emulate or to parse in accompaniment with the reading. All in all, this is still however the best option on the market for learning Old Norse!