Book Series Studies in Viking and Medieval Scandinavia , vol. 4

Loanwords and Native Words in Old and Middle Icelandic

A Study in the History and Dynamics of the Icelandic Medieval Lexicon, from the Twelfth Century to 1550

Matteo Tarsi

  • Pages: 332 p.
  • Size:156 x 234 mm
  • Illustrations:1 b/w, 5 col., 36 tables b/w.
  • Language(s):English
  • Publication Year:2022

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  • ISBN: 978-2-503-59815-4
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  • ISBN: 978-2-503-59816-1
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A study that unveils the core mechanisms of lexical variation between loanwords and native words in medieval Icelandic. An inquiry into the pre-puristic foundations and laws of the lexicon.

BIO

Matteo Tarsi (Grosseto, 1988) holds a PhD in Icelandic Linguistics from the University of Iceland (2020). His research focuses on lexicology, etymology, comparative Germanic linguistics and history of linguistics.

Summary

Anyone familiar with the Modern Icelandic language will know that the country’s policy is to avoid borrowing lexemes from other languages, and instead to draw on their own vocabulary. This often results in the formation of a word pair, consisting of a loanword and its respective native equivalent, as the process of borrowing systematically eludes the tight tangles of language policy. But how did this phenomenon develop in the Middle Ages, before a purist ideology was formed?

This volume offers a unique analysis of a previously unexplored area of Old Norse linguistics by investigating the way in which loanwords and native synonyms interacted in the Middle Ages. Through a linguistic-philological investigation of texts from all medieval Icelandic prose genres, the book maps out the strategies by which the variation and interplay between loanwords and native words were manifested in medieval Iceland and suggests that it is possible to identify the same dynamics in other languages with a comparable literary tradition. In doing so, new light is shed on language development and usage in the Middle Ages, and the gap between case-study and general linguistic theory is bridged over.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

List of Figures

List of Tables

Preface

Abbreviations

Languages

Icelandic Prose Works, Skalds, and Poems

Other Abbreviated Bibliographical Sources

Abbreviated Dictionaries, Lexica, and Corpora

Other

Introduction

Aim and Scope

Review of Previous Research

Research Hypothesis

Loanwords in Old and Middle Icelandic: A Brief Sketch

Theoretical Framework and Methodology of Analysis

Corpus, Rationale, and Data Elicitation

Terminology

Structure of the Present Work

Chapter 1: Religious Texts

Introduction

The Icelandic Homily Book

The Old Norse Translation of Honorius Augustodunensis’s Elucidarius

Stjórn I

Oddur Gottskálksson’s Translation of the New Testament

Comparative Analysis and Conclusions

Chapter 2: Law Texts and diplomata

Introduction

Grágás

Jónsbók and Relative réttarboetr

Diplomata

Comparative Analysis and Conclusions

Chapter 3: Treatises

Introduction

Grammatical Treatises (1–4)

Medical Texts

Algorismus

Astronomical and Computistic Texts

Comparative Analysis and Conclusions

Chapter 4: Historiographical Texts

Introduction

Íslendingabók

Veraldar saga

Kristni saga

Comparative Analysis and Conclusions

Chapter 5: Hagiographical Texts

Introduction

Hungrvaka

Þorláks saga helga

Laurentius saga byskups

Nikuláss saga af Tólentínó

Comparative Analysis and Conclusions

Chapter 6: Sagas of the Icelanders

Introduction

Egils saga

Droplaugarsona saga

Gísla saga

Gunnlaugs saga

Grettis saga

Víglundar saga

Comparative Analysis and Conclusions

Chapter 7: Kings’ Sagas

Introduction

Sverris saga

Ólafs saga helga (Heimskr.)

Knýtlinga saga

Comparative Analysis and Conclusions

Chapter 8: Chivalric and Legendary Sagas

Introduction

Alexanders saga

Erex saga

Flóres saga ok Blankiflúr

Gibbons saga

Sigurðar saga þǫgla

Sigrgarðs saga froekna

Dínus saga drambláta

Vǫlsunga saga

Þorsteins saga Víkingssonar

Hrólfs saga kraka

Comparative Analysis and Conclusions

Conclusions

General Results

Word Pair Dynamics

Lexical Strategies through the Centuries

Word Pairs from 1550 Onwards

General Bibliography

Manuscripts

Primary Sources

Dictionaries, Lexica, and Corpora

Secondary Works

Index verborum

Media
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