The few remaining samples of Norn
As I mention on the main
page dealing with Orkney Norn, although Orcadians spoke the
language for nearly 1,000 years, few, if any, wrote or could write
a word of it.
Because of this we have
very little idea as to the structure of the language. A
number of words, phrases and indeed the structure of Orcadian dialect
still contain remnants of Norn, with words like:
|Felkyo - meaning "witch"
|Speir - meaning "to ask"
However, actual written evidence is harder
to come by. A few tiny fragments exist,
such as the Norn version of the Lord's Prayer shown below:
Favor i ir i chimrie, Helleur ir i
gilla cosdum thite cumma, veya thine mota vara gort
o yurn sinna gort i chimrie,
ga vus da on da dalight brow vora
Firgive vus sinna vora sin vee Firgive sindara mutha vus,
lyv vus ye i tumtation, min delivera vus fro olt ilt, Amen.
Other snippets come to us via the writings
of early visitors to the islands.
Some time between 1529 and 1657, a mysterious
character known only as Jo Ben travelled the length and breadth
of Orkney, documenting his thoughts and discoveries in a form of
During his exploration, it is likely that
Jo Ben came across Orcadians speaking their native tongue and may
even give us a corrupted example of Norn when he states:
"...they are cunning and plain speaking, they use dialect,
as when we say Good Day, Goodman they say goanda boanda...."