Matthew Leigh Embleton

Musician, Composer, Producer, Language and History Enthusiast, and Author

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The Saga of the Gotlanders (Gutasaga): Old Gutnish Text, Translation, and Word List

The meaning of the word 'saga' (plural: 'sǫgur' or 'sögur') translates as 'that which is said', or more widely: a 'saying', 'statement', 'story', 'tale', or 'narrative'.

The Saga of the Gotlanders gives an account of how Gotland was discovered and populated, their peace treaty with the King of Sweden and annual tribute, and Olaf II of Norway's visit to Gotland, and its conversion to the Christian faith.

What is particularly interesting about the Gutasaga is that it preserves a variety of Old Norse known as Old Gutnish. This variety of Old Norse is believed to have evolved in the 7th century along with Old East Norse and Old West Norse, with Old Gutnish showing enough differences for it to be considered a separate branch of the North Germanic languages all on its own. It also has some similarities with the Gothic language on the East Germanic branch which became extinct around the 8th century.

The Gutasaga is believed to have been written in the 13th century, and makes up most of what we know about Old Gutnish. It survives in a single remaining manuscript, the Codex Holm. B 64, which has been dated to around 1350, and is kept in the National Library of Sweden in Stockholm.

This book is designed to be of use to anyone studying or with a keen interest in Old Gutnish or Old Norse, clearly showing how these languages work, and the influence of these languages on English. This edition is laid out in three columns, the original text, a literal word-for-word translation, and a modern translation. Also included is a word list with over 1,000 definitions.

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