This thesis addresses the coexistence and interplay of loanwords and their corresponding endogenous synonyms during the Old and Middle Icelandic period (12th c.–1550), i.e. in a period with no ideologically rooted nor overtly expressed language purism. The purist ideology is first apparent in Iceland in the activities and writings of Bishop Guðbrandur Þorláksson (1542–1627) and of Arngrímur Jónsson the Learned (1568–1648). This study is thus devoted to understanding the dynamics which underlie the retention of inherited lexemes and the creation of new lexical items, whether by the generation of new words (structural calques and neoformations) or by the semantic extension of lexemes through external influence (semantic calques), in contrast with the acquisition of loanwords. The analysis in the present work encompasses all the prosa genres produced during the historical period under scrutiny: religious literature, law texts and charters, treatises, historiography, saga literature (hagiography, family sagas, kings’ sagas, chivalric sagas, legendary sagas). The selection of texts for each genre is balanced with respect to period of production, length and textual transmission. The analysis was carried out according to the following lines of research: 1) With reference to texts and manuscripts a) Intertypological analysis: To investigate whether, and to what extent, different text typologies differ in showing the phenomenon under research. b) Intrastemmatic analysis: To investigate whether different witnesses of a given text differ in the use of loanwords and endogenous words in a specific locus. 2) Typological analysis a) To classify single word pairs according to their semantic field. b) To classify the native words according to their typology (semantic calque, structural calque, neoformation, inherited word), and when possible to identify the foreign source of semantic and structural calques. c) To evaluate single loanwords according to their borrowing typology (necessity vs. prestige loans). 3) Etymology/Word history a) To investigate and sometimes correct, when appropriate, older etymologies of loanwords.b) To determine whether a given endogenous word was created after the corresponding loanword had entered the lexicon, or vice versa, i.e. whether an endogenous word already existed before the acquisition of the loanword. The research upon which this dissertation is based demonstrates that the coexistence and competition of loanwords and respective native synonyms manifests itself in four ways: 1) intrastemmatically, i.e. in the same locus in different MSS; 2) as simple alternation in different loci of the same text; 3) as explicative insertions, whose simplest structure is x þat er y, where x is the loanword and y its native synonym; 4) as synonymic dittologies, where loanword and native synonym are paired by means of a coordinative or explanatory conjunction. In addition, this study establishes the fact that the distribution of word pairs (loanword–native word) in the different genres investigated shows a well-marked difference between two groups of texts, namely religious texts and treatises on one hand and all other genres on the other. This disparity is interpreted to be directly proportional to the semantic specificity of each textual typology: the higher the number of terms specific to a given textual typology, the higher the number of word pairs shown in that typology and vice versa. Another major finding of the present research is that there exists a relationship between loanwords and native words which corresponds directly to their lexical chronology. In general, except for a few specific unusual cases, necessity borrowings cannot correspond to inherited lexemes which have the same meaning and precede the borrowing in the lexicon. Conversely, inherited words commonly acquire new meanings owing to the influence exerted by a loanword (semantic calques). A prestige borrowing is less likely to have a structural or semantic calque as a native counterpart. The four lexical strategies for endogenous terms (semantic and structural calques, neoformations, inherited terms), though consistently present during the whole investigated period, appear to be distributed differently in different centuries. Notably, the scant number of neoformations found with reference to loanwords in works composed before the twelfth century may indicate that this strategy was less productive in that period. However, this result may be skewed by the paucity of early data and by the lack of variety in textual typologies within that data. Finally, with reference to the coexistence and competition of loanwords and endogenous words after 1550, the conclusions presented here align with the expected outcome, i.e. that after 1550, under the influence of linguistic purism, most of the loanwords analyzed here disappeared, supplanted by their native synonyms. In an appreciable number of cases, both words continue to exist in the lexicon, although sometimes one word expresses a narrower meaning than the other. In other cases, neither word appears to be attested in Icelandic after 1550.

Loanwords and native words in Old and Middle Icelandic (12th c.-1550) / Tarsi, Matteo. - ELETTRONICO. - (2020), pp. 1-454.

Loanwords and native words in Old and Middle Icelandic (12th c.-1550)

Tarsi, Matteo
2020

Abstract

This thesis addresses the coexistence and interplay of loanwords and their corresponding endogenous synonyms during the Old and Middle Icelandic period (12th c.–1550), i.e. in a period with no ideologically rooted nor overtly expressed language purism. The purist ideology is first apparent in Iceland in the activities and writings of Bishop Guðbrandur Þorláksson (1542–1627) and of Arngrímur Jónsson the Learned (1568–1648). This study is thus devoted to understanding the dynamics which underlie the retention of inherited lexemes and the creation of new lexical items, whether by the generation of new words (structural calques and neoformations) or by the semantic extension of lexemes through external influence (semantic calques), in contrast with the acquisition of loanwords. The analysis in the present work encompasses all the prosa genres produced during the historical period under scrutiny: religious literature, law texts and charters, treatises, historiography, saga literature (hagiography, family sagas, kings’ sagas, chivalric sagas, legendary sagas). The selection of texts for each genre is balanced with respect to period of production, length and textual transmission. The analysis was carried out according to the following lines of research: 1) With reference to texts and manuscripts a) Intertypological analysis: To investigate whether, and to what extent, different text typologies differ in showing the phenomenon under research. b) Intrastemmatic analysis: To investigate whether different witnesses of a given text differ in the use of loanwords and endogenous words in a specific locus. 2) Typological analysis a) To classify single word pairs according to their semantic field. b) To classify the native words according to their typology (semantic calque, structural calque, neoformation, inherited word), and when possible to identify the foreign source of semantic and structural calques. c) To evaluate single loanwords according to their borrowing typology (necessity vs. prestige loans). 3) Etymology/Word history a) To investigate and sometimes correct, when appropriate, older etymologies of loanwords.b) To determine whether a given endogenous word was created after the corresponding loanword had entered the lexicon, or vice versa, i.e. whether an endogenous word already existed before the acquisition of the loanword. The research upon which this dissertation is based demonstrates that the coexistence and competition of loanwords and respective native synonyms manifests itself in four ways: 1) intrastemmatically, i.e. in the same locus in different MSS; 2) as simple alternation in different loci of the same text; 3) as explicative insertions, whose simplest structure is x þat er y, where x is the loanword and y its native synonym; 4) as synonymic dittologies, where loanword and native synonym are paired by means of a coordinative or explanatory conjunction. In addition, this study establishes the fact that the distribution of word pairs (loanword–native word) in the different genres investigated shows a well-marked difference between two groups of texts, namely religious texts and treatises on one hand and all other genres on the other. This disparity is interpreted to be directly proportional to the semantic specificity of each textual typology: the higher the number of terms specific to a given textual typology, the higher the number of word pairs shown in that typology and vice versa. Another major finding of the present research is that there exists a relationship between loanwords and native words which corresponds directly to their lexical chronology. In general, except for a few specific unusual cases, necessity borrowings cannot correspond to inherited lexemes which have the same meaning and precede the borrowing in the lexicon. Conversely, inherited words commonly acquire new meanings owing to the influence exerted by a loanword (semantic calques). A prestige borrowing is less likely to have a structural or semantic calque as a native counterpart. The four lexical strategies for endogenous terms (semantic and structural calques, neoformations, inherited terms), though consistently present during the whole investigated period, appear to be distributed differently in different centuries. Notably, the scant number of neoformations found with reference to loanwords in works composed before the twelfth century may indicate that this strategy was less productive in that period. However, this result may be skewed by the paucity of early data and by the lack of variety in textual typologies within that data. Finally, with reference to the coexistence and competition of loanwords and endogenous words after 1550, the conclusions presented here align with the expected outcome, i.e. that after 1550, under the influence of linguistic purism, most of the loanwords analyzed here disappeared, supplanted by their native synonyms. In an appreciable number of cases, both words continue to exist in the lexicon, although sometimes one word expresses a narrower meaning than the other. In other cases, neither word appears to be attested in Icelandic after 1550.
REYKJAVÍK
HÁSKÓLI ÍSLANDS/UNIVERSITY OF ICELAND
978-9935-9245-3-7
Tarsi, Matteo
Loanwords and native words in Old and Middle Icelandic (12th c.-1550) / Tarsi, Matteo. - ELETTRONICO. - (2020), pp. 1-454.
File in questo prodotto:
Non ci sono file associati a questo prodotto.

I documenti in IRIS sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11572/297263
 Attenzione

Attenzione! I dati visualizzati non sono stati sottoposti a validazione da parte dell'ateneo

Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? ND
  • Scopus ND
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? ND
social impact