Pons-Sanz Sara Maria, The lexical effects of Anglo-Scandinavian linguistic contact on Old English, Turnhout, Brepols (Studies in the Early Middle Ages, vol. 1), 2013, XV-589 p. ISBN: 978-2-503-53471-8
Compte rendu par/Review by : Roberta Frank
Date : 2 May 2014
This study looks with exquisite care at the more than three hundred terms attested during the Anglo-Saxon period for which Norse derivation has been claimed. It analyzes their chronological and dialectal distribution (to the extent that this is possible), and probes the semantic and stylistic relationships between these terms and their native equivalents. Pons-Sanz’s rigorous skepticism (« is the evidence strong enough? ») means that few lexical items get through her interrogation unbattered and unbowed. Some words are rejected altogether as probably of native origin (e.g., OE cal « kale, » OE wrang « wrong, injustice »), one new word from Cnut’s laws is added. The author has a gift for clarity of presentation, from her exemplary introduction through nineteen sets of tables and four appendices (the first listing all Norse-derived terms attested in Old English texts, the second, of 67 pages, Old English texts recording Norse-derived terms). This volume is a solid contribution to the study of cultural contact between English and Norse speakers during the long Viking Age.