The usual meaning of folcscare in Beowulf l. 73 is “nation”, while feorum gumena refers to human lives. It seems impermissible for Hrothgar to either give away or divide his nation or to sacrifice a human life as a reward for his retinues. In the story of Herod and John the Baptist in the Gospel, the “bad” king Herod seems to promise or give what should be taboo for the “good” king Hrothgar. This story possibly resounds in l. 73.
The Legendary ‘The Lives of the Saints’ became a medieval bestseller soon after it was composed in the early 15th century. This success was due to its simple, standardised language and its theological programme aimed at promoting a collectively lived spiritality. However, different concepts of holiness or narrative elements such as exorbitantly cruel martyrdoms, the ascetic isolations or mystical excess challenged this homogeneity. The article shows that the redactor was very conscious of these elements and made an effort to even them out. In this way, the Legendary partially counteracts its sources by narrating against a self-sanctification of the human being. Thus, it corresponds to the ideas of the Dominican Observance by developing a kind of literary asceticism.
The Linköping Legendary contains amongst other texts an Old Swedish translation of the well-known medieval German legend of Gregory on the Stone. This text was translated into Swedish around 1525 in the monastery of Vadstena. In this article the Swedish translation is compared with the Middle High and Middle Low German originals. This comparison makes it highly probable that the translation was based on the 1478 Low German edition of the ‘Der Heiligen Leben’, also known as the ‘Passional’, by Lucas Brandis. Some differences between the Swedish translation and its exemplar can be explained as mistakes in understanding the Low German original.
In Modern Icelandic the form veri of the verb vera ‘to be’ is seen as a subjunctive expressing a wish. Treating Old Norse veri, earlier vesi, as an imperative of the third person simplifies the vera paradigm. A survey of the oldest attestations shows that veri not only fits qua form in the imperative paradigm, but also behaves like an imperative and expresses a command. The hypothesis that veri is an imperative can be extended to: Old Norse had an imperative of the 3rd person consisting of stem+i. What usually is called the use of the 3rd person subjunctive to fill in for the missing 3rd person imperative, would then be nothing else than a real imperative, which, however, in all verbs except vera coincides in form with the subjunctive. The form verir looks like a counter example to the hypothesis, but it is only found twice in poetry, never in prose, and can be explained as a common copying error. We cannot ask the native speakers of Old Norse, so the description of Old Norse veri as a subjunctive is a hypothesis as well. It is argued that seeing veri as an imperative is the more elegant solution.
This article examines current practices of normalization of names in Norse philology and computational linguistics that to a large extent build on deductive reasoning and external authoritative sources such as grammars, dictionaries and gazetteers. Instead, a survey of manuscript evidence and quantification of name forms at several levels of abstraction is proposed as an alternative inductive principle of normalization. A case study of name-form distributions in a dataset of 6,633 spatial attestations in East Norse literature from the Norse World resource serves as a point of departure for a discussion of the advantages and disadvantages of the approach. The comparison between attestations linked to the five most frequent place-names in Old Swedish and Old Danish shows the existence of typical spellings. However, there are still examples of norm negotiations and competitive distributions. Thus, the first inductive step of normalization can be complemented by further processing based on correspondences between phonology and spelling. Finally, stratified normalization of place-names pioneered by Norse World is seen as more versatile compared to traditional methods; the approach has a potential to facilitate both more nuanced philological and linguistic research as well as the further development of named-entity recognition tools.
As a continuation of earlier articles on the morphology of Old Dutch (2019) the weak declensions of substantives and personal names that appear in place names from the 8th to the 10th century are discussed. This also offers the opportunity for a critical view on some of the place names that are attested in this period.
This article describes onomasiological explorations of Old Frisian and Old English lexis in the semantic field of KINSHIP through a novel, digital approach. In connecting Old Frisian lexis, drawn from the Altfriesisches Handwörterbuch (AFWB), to the overarching structure of A Thesaurus of Old English (TOE), a dataset has been created that shares a semantic framework with the one existing for Old English lexis. The connected resources are shared and analysed using the web application Evoke. Statistical data provided by this tool, such as the degree of lexicalization for this field, facilitates comparative analyses of the two historical languages. As this article demonstrates, the reuse of the onomasiological macrostructure of TOE offers new insights into linguistic and cultural aspects of these two languages and their language communities.
This article provides an introduction to the web application Evoke. This application offers functionality to navigate, view, extend, and analyse thesaurus content. The thesauri that can be navigated in Evoke are expressed in Linguistic Linked Data, an interoperable data form that enables the extension of thesaurus content with custom labels and allows for the linking of thesaurus content to other digital resources. As such, Evoke is a powerful research tool that facilitates its users to perform novel cultural linguistic analyses over multiple sources. This article further demonstrates the potential of Evoke by discussing how A Thesaurus of Old English was made available in the application and how this has already been adopted in the field of Old English studies. Lastly, the author situates Evoke within a number of recent developments in the field of Digital Humanities and its applications for onomasiological research.
The use of Evoke and the Thesaurus of Old English (TOE) in the classroom at beginners’ level is not self-evident, since both are electronic tools designed to facilitate lexicological research for more advanced users. Nonetheless, there is an advantage in acquainting students with modern electronic tools allowing relevant, piecemeal investigations into the lexicon. This contribution focuses on the usage of Evoke in the classroom, suggesting the types of assignments that may be designed for this purpose and exploring further possibilities.
Ælfric of Eynsham (c.955×957–c.1010) is one of the most prominent authors of the Anglo-Saxon period. Despite this fact, there has not yet been an exhaustive study into his typical vocabulary. This article employs the Dictionary of Old English and prior scholarship in order to collect and categorise the lexis that is characteristic for his works. This vocabulary is then analysed using the web application Evoke together with A Thesaurus of Old English, which provides insights into the semantic domains that predominate in Ælfric’s vocabulary, as well as the degrees of ambiguity, synonymy and specificity of his typical lexis.