The chyngin processes that distinguish Auld Norse frae its aulder form, Proto-Norse, wur maistly concludit aroond the 8t century, an anither transitional period that led up tae the modern descendants o Auld Norse (i.e., the modren North Germanic leids) stairtit in the mid- tae late 14t century, therebi endin the leid phase kent as Auld Norse. These dates, housomeivver, are no absolute. For instance, ane can still fynd written Auld Norse well intae the 15t century.
The first major dialectal distinctions in the language arose in the Old East Norse, Old West Norse, and Old Gutnish dialects. No clear geographical boundary exists between the Eastren an Wastren dialects. Old East Norse traits were found in eastern Norawa an Old West Norse traits were found in western Swaden. Most speakers of Old Norse dialects spoke the Auld East Norse dialect originating in what are present-day Denmark and Sweden. Old Gutnish, the more obscure dialectal branch, is sometimes included in the Old East Norse dialect due to geographical associations. It shares traits with both Old West Norse and Old East Norse but had also developed on its own.
The 12t century Icelandic Gray Goose Laws state that Swedes, Norses, Icelanders an Danes spoke the same leid, dǫnsk tunga. Speakers o the eastren dialect, spoken in Swaden an Denmark, woud hae said dansk tunga ("Dens tongue") or norrønt mál ("Nordic leid") tae name their leid. Gradually, Old Norse splintered intae the modren North Germanic leids: Icelandic, Faroese, Norse, Dens an Swadish; but mutual intelligibility haes no fully disappeared.
In some instances the term Auld Norse mey refer specifically tae wha is here cawed Auld Wast Norse.
- Torp, Arne, Lars S. Vikør (1993)
- Peter Tunstall. Review of The syntax of Old Norse: With a survey of the inflectional morphology and a complete bibliography. Primary source.
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