Saga of the Northlands
While having a completely authentic and correctly-pronounced name for your character is not required, to get an idea of what “real” names sounded like so you can create something similar, read on.
Old Norse is fairly easy to pronounce if you keep the following rules in mind:
Vowels and Consonants
Norse vowels are pronounced just like the vowels in Romance languages like Spanish or Italian:
|i, y||ee||we, leaf|
Regarding consonants, Old Norse has only a few differences from English.
|g||always hard (like in “go”), never soft (like in “germ”)|
|s||always unvoiced (like in “Norse”), never voiced (like in “rose”)|
|j||pronounced as y (like in “yes”)|
Additionally, Old Norse entirely lacks the letters c, q, and x, so those letters will never appear in Norse names.
The Norse letter thorn (capital Þ, lowercase þ) is a soft th, as in thing, thunder, or through.
The Norse letter eth (capital Ð, lowercase ð) is a hard th, as in there, weather, or those.
The Norse letter æsh (capital Æ, lowercase æ) is pronounced somewhere between the English long a (as in “day”) and short a (as in “apple”).
Emphasis is always placed on the first syllable of every word in Old Norse: AS-gard, YGG-dra-sil, MID-gard, JO-tun-heim, O-din, LO-ki, SI-gurd, BAR-sar-kr (not ber-SER-ker as in English), HUS-karl, and so forth.
For more on all things Old Norse, see the video series here.