Author: : Stefan Karlsson
Publisher: Viking Society for Northern Research
Publication date: 2004
Number of pages: 85
‘Tungan’, the work translated here, first appeared as a chapter in Íslensk fijó›menning, vol. VI (Reykjavík: fijó›saga, 1989), 1–54, and has since been republished, with minor alterations and additions (including the
numbering of sections and subsections) in Stafkrókar (2000; see Bibliography),19–75. The present translation incorporates the changes made in the 2000 version, even though my work on it was mainly done in 1997–99.
Stefán Karlsson kindly gave me an offprint of ‘Tungan’ in September1995. The idea of translating it first occurred to me in the spring of 1997,and I am grateful to Örnólfur Thorsson, who was Visiting Fellow in Icelandic Studies at the University of Leeds in 1996–97, for help and advice
in the early stages of my work on the translation. I had completed about half of it (to the end of section 1, ‘The language itself’) by the summer of 1998, and translated the remainder during my year as Visiting Professor
at Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee, in 1998–99. The translation has since been read in draft by Richard Perkins, Peter Foote, Desmond Slay, Michael Barnes, Peter Orton, and finally Stefán himself, to all of
whom I am deeply grateful for their comments and suggestions. I am particularly grateful to Stefán for his acceptance and support of the idea
of publishing this work of his in English, and for the thoroughness with which he read and commented on the translation.
My thanks are also due to Andrew Wawn, whose recognition of the value of ‘Tungan’ for teaching purposes encouraged me to bring my work on it to completion, and to Anthony
Faulkes for the care with which he has prepared the translation for the press.
In its original form this work was, of course, intended for Icelandic readers, in whom knowledge of the pronunciation of Modern Icelandic could easily be assumed. With this in mind I have given in the text a
minimal amount of additional information about Icelandic pronunciation,most especially in subsection 1.2.1, where Stefán compares the vowel sounds of Old Icelandic with those of Modern Icelandic. I have slightly
reduced and reordered the information given in subsections 1.1.1–3, and have added English translations of words and phrases in languages other than English that are referred to in the text; I have also parsed Icelandic
words where it seemed to me helpful to do so. What is offered here is,however, a translation rather than an adaptation; I have not otherwise ventured to alter Stefán’s treatment of his material in any way, and only
hope, indeed, that I have represented it with reasonable accuracy. Any errors of translation are, of course, entirely my responsibility.
Leeds, April 2004