This is page 93 of An Icelandic-English Dictionary by Cleasby/Vigfusson (1874)
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C (cé), the third letter, has all along been waning in Icel. The early
Gothic Runes (Golden horn) use RUNE for k, e.g. RUNE for ek, ego; the
later common Runes have no c. The Anglo-Saxon Runes follow the
Gothic, and use c tor k, as cén, a torch.
A. SPELLING. -- The rule given by the first Icel. grammarian,
Thorodd (A.D. 1140), is curious; he says that he will follow the Scots
in using c with all the vowels, as in Latin, and then makes c serve
instead of k; but, though in other cases he makes the small capitals
serve for double consonants, e. g. uBi, braT, meN, haLar, döG, = ubbi,
bratt, menn, etc., he admits k to mark a double c, and spells söc sake,
but sök sank; lycia to shut, but lykja a knot; vaca to wake, but vaka
vagari; þecia to thatch, but þekia to know. Thorodd gives as his reason
that other consonants have different shapes as small or capital, but c is
uniform, whereas he says that k suits well for a double c, being a Greek
letter itself, and having a shape similar to a double c, namely, RUNE; this
k or double c he calls ecc, but the single c he calls ce, Skálda 108. The
second grammarian (about the end of the 12th century) only admits c
as a final letter, ranking with ð, z, or x, which are never used as initials:
all these letters he calls 'sub-letters;' he thus writes karl, kona, kunna,
but vöc, söc, tac. Such were the grammatical rules, but in practice they
were never strictly followed. As the Anglo-Saxon, in imitation of the
Latin, used c throughout for k, so the earliest Icel. MSS., influenced by
the Anglo-Saxon or by MSS. written in Britain, made free use of it, and
k and c appear indiscriminately; k is more frequent, but c is often used
between two vowels or after a vowel, e.g. taca, lécu, vica, hoc, etc. etc.
In such cases, t and c (k) can often hardly be distinguished; and readings
can sometimes be restored by bearing this in mind, e.g. in Bjarn. S.
(all our MSS. come from a single vellum MS.) the passage 'létu heim at
landinu' should be read 'lécu (léku) honum landmunir,' 16; ' sáttvarr'
is 'sacvarr,' i.e. sakvarr, 51; cp. also such readings as bikdælir instead
of Hitdælir, Gullþ. 3; drickin = dritkinn, id. In Ad. 20 it is uncertain
whether we are to read veclinga- or vetlinga-tös, probably the former.
B. FOREIGN WORDS. -- Throughout the Middle Ages the spelling
remained unsettled, but k gained ground, and at the time of the Reformation,
when printing began, c was only kept to mark the double k,
ek (cut on one face), and in foreign proper names; but it was not
admitted in appellatives such as kirkja, klaustr, klerkr, kór, kross, kalkr
or kaleikr, church (Scot, kirk), cloister, clericus, choir, cross, calix, etc., or
in kista, kastali, kerti, keisari, kær, kærleiki, kyndill, kórona or krúna,
kurteisi, kumpan, kompás, kapítuli, cista, castellum, cern, caesar (as
appell.), carus, caritas, candela, corona, courtesy, company, compass,
chapter. All words of that kind are spelt as if they were indigenous.
The name of Christ is usually in editions of the N.T. and Vidal. spelt
Christus or Christur, but is always sounded as a native word Kristr or
Kristur, gen. Krists, dat. Kristi; in modern books it is also spelt so, and
almost always in hymns and rhymes, ancient as well as modern, e.g.
Stríðsmenn þá höfðu krossfest Krist | skiptu í staði fjóra fyrst, Pass. 36. I,
19.1, 3, 10.1, 14.1, 15.2, 16.1, 49.4; Postula kjöri Kristur þrjá, 41;
Stríðsmenn Krist úr kúpu færðu, 30.1; Framandi maðr mætti Kristi | hér
má fínna hvern það lystir, 30.6, 46.12. Icel. also spell Kristinn, Kristilegr,
Christian; kristna, to christen, etc. β. in the middle of syllables
k for c is also used in words of foreign origin, Páskar = Pascha, Passover;
dreki = draco; leikmenn = laici; Sikley or Sikiley = Sicilia; Grikland
or Grikkland = Greece. In modern books of the last fifty years
ck is turned into kk; and even C in proper names is rendered by K,
except where it is sounded as S; thus Icel. spell Caesar, Cicero, Cyprus;
for Sesar, Sisero, Syprus, Silisia -- although even this may be seen in
print of the last ten or twenty years -- is a strange novelty. There
is but one exception, viz. the proper name Cecilia, which, ever since
the Reformation, has been spelt and pronounced Sesselja; where,
however, the name occurs in old writers, e.g. the Sturl. i. 52 C, it is
always spelt in the Latin form. Latin and foreign words are spelt with
c in some MSS. communis-bók, f. a missal, Vm. 52. concurrentis-öld,
f. dies concurrentes, Rb. crucis-messa = kross-messa, K.Þ.K.
&hand; A digraph ch = k is at times found in MSS., as michill = mikill,
etc. C is used in nearly all MSS. to mark 100; the Arabian figures,
however, occur for the first time in the Hauks-bók and the chief MSS.
of the Njála (all of them MSS. of from the end of the 13th to the beginning
of the 14th century), but were again disused till about the time
of the Reformation, when they came into use along with print. An
inverted c (&c-reversed-long;) is sometimes in very early MSS. used as an abbreviation
for con (kon), thus &c-reversed-long;ugr = konungr, &c-reversed-long;a = kona, &c-reversed-long;or = konor = konur;
hence the curious blunder in the old Kd. of Páls. S., Bs. i. 140, viz. that
a bishop had to take charge of women and clergy instead of choir and
clergy, the word cór of the MSS. being mistaken for &c-reversed-long;or (konor). In
MSS. of the 15th century c above the line is used as an abbreviation,
e.g. t&c-super;a = taka, t&c-super;r = tekr, m&c-super;ill = mikill, etc.
D (dé) is the fourth letter of the alphabet; it is also written Ð ð (eð).
The Gothic Runes have a special sign for the d RUNE or RUNE, namely, a
double D turned together; this d is found on the Runic stone at Tune,
the Golden horn, and the Bracteats. The reason why this character was
used seems to have been that the Latin d RUNE was already employed to
mark the th sound (RUNE), which does not exist in Latin. The Anglo-
Saxon Runes follow the Gothic; again, the common Scandinavian Runes
have no d, but use the tenuis t, to mark both d and t.
A. PRONUNCIATION, etc. -- The Icel. has a double d sound, one hard
(d) and one soft (ð commonly called 'stungið (cut) dé'); the hard d is
sounded as the Engl. d in dale, day, dim, dark; the soft ð as the soft
Engl. th in father, mother, brother, but is only used as a final or medial,
though it occurs now and then in early MSS. to mark this sound at the
beginning of words, e. g. ðar, ðinn, ðegar, but very rarely.
B. SPELLING. -- In very early Icel. MSS. the soft d in the middle or
end of words was represented by þ (th); thus we read, bloþ, faþir,
moþir, guþ, orþ, eymþ, sekþ, dypþ, etc., blood... depth, etc. Even
Thorodd docs not know the form ð, which was borrowed from the
A.S. at the end of the 12th century, and was made to serve for the soft
th sound in the middle or end of words, þ being only used at the beginning
of syllables; but the old spelling with þ in the middle and at the
end of syllables long struggled against the Anglo-Saxon ð, and most old
vellum MSS. use ð and þ indiscriminately (bloþ and bloð); some use þ as
a rule, e. g. Cod. Upsal. (Ub.) of the Edda, written about A.D. 1300,
Ed. Arna-Magn. ii. 250 sqq. At the beginning of the 14th century ð
prevailed, but again lost its sway, and gave place to d, which marks
both the hard and soft d sound in all MSS. from about A.D. 1350 sqq.
Thenceforward ð was unknown in Icel. print or writing till it was
resumed in the Ed. of Njála A.D. 1772 (cp. also the introduction to the
Syntagma de Baptismo, A.D. 1770), and was finally introduced by Rask
in common Icel. writing about the beginning of this century; yet many
old people still keep on writing d throughout (fadir, modir). On the other
hand, Norse (Norwegian) MSS. (laws) never use. a middle or final þ; and
such words as oþr, goþr in a MS. are a sure mark of its Icel. origin.
C. CHANGES: I. assimilation: 1. ðd change into dd,
as in the feminines breidd, vídd, sídd, from breiðr, víðr, síðr; pret. beiddi,
leiddi, ræddi, hæddi, hlýddi, etc., from beiða, ræða, hlýða, etc. 2.
ðt into tt, adj. neut., gott, ótt, brátt, leitt, from góðr, óðr, bráðr,
leiðr. 3. the Goth, zd, Germ, and Engl. rd into dd in words
such as rödd = Goth. razda; oddr = Germ, ort; hodd = Engl. hoard,
Goth. huzd; gaddr = Goth. gazds, etc. Those words, however, are
few in number. II. the initial þ of a pronoun, if suffixed to the
verb, changes into ð or d, and even t, e.g. far-ðu, gör-ðu, sjá-ðu, fá-ðu,
bú-ðu, = far þú (imperat.), etc.; kalla-ðu, tala-ðu, = kalla þú, tala þú;
or kon-du, leid-du, bíd-du, sýn-du, sen-du, = kom þú, leið þú, etc.; or t,
hal-tu, vil-tu, skal-tu, ben-tu, hljót-tu, = hald þú, vilt þú, skalt þú,
bend þú, hljót þu; and even so the plur. or dual -- komi-ðið, haldi-ðið,
ætli-ðið, vilið-ið, göri-ðér, gangi-ðér, = komi þið ... gangi þér; or
following conjunctions, efað-ðú = ef að þú, síðan-ðú = síðan þú, áðren-ððí = áðr en þú. III. change of d into ð: 1. d, whether
radical or inflexive, is spelt and pronounced ð after a vowel and an r or f,
g, e.g. blóð, þjóð, biðja, leið, nauð, hæð, brúðr, bæði, borð, orð, garðr,
ferð, görð, bragð, lagði, hægð, hafði, höfðum (capitibus), etc. This is
without regard to etymology, e.g. Goth, þiuda (gens) and þjuþ (bonum)
are equally pronounced and spelt 'þjóð;' Goth. dauþs and dêds, Icel.
dauði and dáð; Goth, guþ (deus) and gôds (bonus), Icel. guð, góðr;
Goth. fadar, bruþar, Icel. faðir, bróðir, cp. Germ, vater, mutter, but
bruder; Goth, vaurd and gards, Icel. orð, garðr; Engl. burden and
birth, Icel. byrðr, burðr, etc. Again, in some parts of western Icel. rð,
gð, and fd are pronounced as rd, gd, fd, ord, Sigurd, gerdu (fac), bragd
(with a soft g, but hard d), hafdi (with a soft f and hard d); marks of
this may be found in old MSS., e.g. Cod. Reg. (Kb.) of Stem. Edda. 2.
an inflexive d is sounded and spelt ð: α. after k, p, e.g. in pret. of
verbs, steypði, gleypði, klípði, drúpði, gapði, glapði, steikði, ríkði, sekði,
hrökði, hneykði, blekði, vakði, blakði, etc., from steypa, klípa, drúpa,
gapa, glepja, steikja, ríkja, sekja, hrökkva, hneykja, blekkja, vekja, or
vaka, etc.; and feminines, sekð, eykð, dýpð, etc. β. after the liquids
l, m, n in analogous cases, valði, dulði, hulði, deilði, and dæmði, sæmði,
dreymði, geymði, samði, framði, and vanði, brenði, etc., from dylja, deila,
dreyma, semja, venja, brenna, etc.; feminines or nouns, sæmð, fremð,
vanði (use), ynði (delight), anði (breath), synð (sin): these forms are
used constantly in very old MSS. (12th century, and into the 13th); but
then they changed -- lð, mð, nð into ld, md, nd, and kð, pð into kt, pt,
etc. γ. after s (only on Runic stones; even the earliest Icel. MSS.
spell st), e.g. raisþi = reisti from reisa. In MSS. of the middle of that century,
such as the Ó.H., Cod. Reg. of the Eddas and Grágás, the old forms
are still the rule, but the modern occur now and then; the Grágás in
nineteen cases out of twenty spells sekð (culpa), but at times also 'sekt;'