grammar for the lesson, then (2) comes the vocabulary, all of which you should memorise, andthen (3) exercises to help you get a hands on feeling for the subject. In the last chapter (4) we lookat real texts or sentences from the literature. Do not get discouraged if this is difficult at times, youdon't have to memorise everything there, just read through it.
0.2 On learning languages in general
The process of learning languages is often somewhat misperceived, especially in cultures withlittle tradition or need for it. Language learning is gradual, piece-by-piece, sometimes fast,sometimes slow, often rewarding, often frustrating. There is no black and white in languagelearning, no set stage where one "speaks the language", before which one understood and spokenothing, after which one understands and speaks everything. It's an open-ended process, fromwhich one can enter and exit at will, always benefitting from every minute effort. How this relatesto our course, is to make you understand that you will not exit from it completely fluent in OldNorse, having "finished" that language, because there is no finish line; but neither will you havewasted your time, because time invested in language study is never "lost". You are to emerge fromthe course having achieved a certain point, a certain skill level, from which you can benefit, evenif it cannot be considered fluency. Most importantly, the end results should be gratifying and theprocess fun, though unavoidably hard at times.
0.3 On learning arcane languages
The study of arcane languages such as Old Norse has certain marked differences to the study of modern languages; the most important factor is, naturally, that one can never hear anybody speakthe language. That can be a significant psychological obstacle in memorizing words and readingtext. Coming from an experienced language learner, the problem with learning arcane languages isthat one has no access to the "sound of the language", its very soul. This makes it more difficult toget a feel for its structure, to become comfortable with it, even to develop feelings for it, all factorsnot to be taken lightly.In studying arcane languages, one must deal with this by "reliving" and "realizing" the language,by familiarizing oneself with the culture of the language's former speakers and imagining the lifebehind it. One must understand that it was once the native language of a whole nation of people of all kinds, to whom it was as dear and natural as your first language is to you. Understand thatthose people thought in this language, expressed their needs in it, their love, their anger and hate,their first and last words; parent to child, friend to friend, husband to wife, foe to foe, any personto any other person. It was as living once as any given language of today, complete with slang,neologisms, swearing and nonsense, just as well as the more commonly known poetry andliterature. Once one genuinely and truly understands this, one has gained an importantpsychological advantage in the learning process of an arcane language.
0.4 Old Norse? Which Old Norse?
The term Old Norse refers to the language spoken in Scandinavia and Scandinavian settlementsfrom about 800 to about 1350. It should be obvious that it was not exactly the same language overa vast area and 550 years. It is usually split into two groups, which are then split into two dialects.West NorseEast Norse