Scandinavian Philology

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Scandinavian Philology


a group of scholarly disciplines devoted primarily to the study of the Scandinavian languages and Old Norse writing.

In the 16th and 17th centuries, the first collections of Scandinavian manuscripts were begun and the first codices of Old Norse runic inscriptions were compiled. The emergence of the comparative historical method in the early 19th century laid the groundwork for scholarly work in Scandinavian philology. A particularly important role was played by R. Rask, who drew attention to the study of Old Icelandic.

The comparative historical study of the Scandinavian languages attained great successes in the second half of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th, with noteworthy grammars compiled by A. Noreen, E. Wessen, and P. Skautrup. During this period, runology became a special discipline within Scandinavian philology as a result of the scholarly efforts of L. Wimmer, C. Marstrander, S. Bugge, O. von Friesen, and others. The most complete dictionaries of Old Icelandic were published at this time, among them the Icelandic-English dictionary of G. Vigfusson and the Icelandic-Danish dictionary of J. Fritzner, and numerous editions of Old Norse texts were issued. The study of the modern Scandinavian languages was closely linked to the language movement in the Scandinavian countries, which resulted in the creation of a written form of Faeroese by V. U. Hammershaimb in the mid- 19th century and led to the struggle for a standard literary language in Norway.

Scandinavian philology has been studied by many Soviet Germanists, including S. D. Katsnel’son, E. A. Makaev, and A. I. Smirnitskii. A great contribution to the development of Scandinavian philology in the USSR was made by M. I. Steblin-Kamenskii, who founded a chair of Scandinavian philology at Leningrad State University in 1958.


Wessen, E. Skandinavskie iazyki. Moscow, 1949. (Translaled from Swedish.)
Steblin-Kamenskii, M. I. Drevneislandskiiiazyk. Moscow, 1955.
Noreen, A. Geschichte der Nordischen Sprachen, besonders in altnordischer Zeit, 3rd ed. Strasbourg, 1913.
Gordon, E. V. An Introduction to Old Norse, 2nd ed. Oxford, 1957.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
of Helsinki) looks at the precursors and foundations in the 18th and 19th centuries, the rise of Scandinavian philology as a new academic discipline, and the dawn of the modern era.

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