Archives de catégorie : Langues et onomastique / Language and onomastics

Petrulevich Alexandra, Ortnamnsanpassning som process: En undersökning av vendiska ortnamn och ortnamnsvarianter i Knýtlinga saga

Petrulevich Alexandra, Ortnamnsanpassning som process: En undersökning av vendiska ortnamn och ortnamnsvarianter i Knýtlinga saga, Thèse de doctorat soutenue en 2016 (Uppsala universitet)

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Reading and interpreting runic inscriptions: the theory and method of runology

Responsables du projet/Project leaders :

James E. Knirk (

Établissements principaux/Main institutions :

Kulturhistorisk museum, Oslo University

Projet en cours/Project in progress

Description :

Runology concerns fundamentally the analysis of runes as writing symbols, the examination of runic objects and reading of runic inscriptions, particularly new finds, and the interpretation of runic texts. It is a field of study experiencing growth and development. Unfortunately, the field suffers from the lack of a clearly formulated theoretical platform and methodological approach. The research project will concern itself with the formulation of the theoretical and methodological foundation of runic research.

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Svensson Ola, Nämnda ting men glömda. Ortnamn, landskap och rättsutövning

Svensson Ola, Nämnda ting men glömda. Ortnamn, landskap och rättsutövning  [Named but forgotten things: Place-names, landscape and justice], Thèse de doctorat soutenue en 2015, (dir. G. Byrman, S. Nyström, Linnéuniversitetet)

Résumé/abstract :

The dissertation describes the names related to justice and places in the landscape where justice was administered, applying an interdisciplinary perspective with place names as the chief source material. One aim is to collect and describe place names in Skåne designating or indirectly associated with meeting places and districts of the court, and to study the named places. The study covers many different periods, but especially the Middle Ages and the transition from the Late Iron Age to the Middle Ages. The analysis raises questions such as: Was there continuity in judicial sites between prehistoric and historic times? How old are the hundreds (härader)? Is there a spatial link between judicial sites and other central functions such as cult, markets, or rulers’ estates? The work is permeated by material-based onomastic research in combination with current perspectives in text research, historical geography, and archaeology. Nine case studies are conducted to describe the interaction between place, linguistic expression, and meaning. The study demonstrates the existence of a large corpus of names reflecting the early administration of justice. Most of the many field names which contain ting ‘court’ and galge ‘gallows’ can be related to the actual administration of justice. The medieval sites where courts assembled and people were executed stand out in particular, but in many cases these have prehistoric roots. Both unbroken continuity and the reuse of earlier places of assembly may be assumed. Close to sites with names indicating the administration of justice there are also landscape features with names that grant epic and mythical status to the locale. The special quality of these places was handed down, incorporated in larger narratives, based on changing ideas and circumstances in different periods. The landscape of the hundred courts (häradsting) is archaic, magnificent and mythical, and shared, qualities that contributed to the maintenance and legitimation of judicial practice. A division into a general, public judicial sphere and a more limited and exclusive sphere can be seen. In the medieval exercise of justice this division is manifested in two different judicial districts – härad and birk – but the phenomenon can be traced back to the Late Iron Age. The study also problematizes a traditional image of the names of the hundreds.

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Des « Varègues » sur écorce de bouleau ?

Alexander Musin, Institut pour l’Histoire de la Culture Matérielle, Académie des Sciences de Russie, Saint-Pétersbourg

La campagne de fouilles réalisée à Novgorod la Grande (Russie) en 2015 a apporté quatre documents sur écorce de bouleau des XIIIe-XIVe siècles dont l’un mentionne le mot « varègue ». Le Récit des Temps Passés, la première Chronique russe, identifie généralement sous ce terme, des Scandinaves et, surtout pour les XIe-XIIe siècles, des Suédois. Le document trouvé dans les couches du XIIIe siècle a reçu le numéro 1064 dans la collection de cette série documentaire issue des fouilles de Novgorod, qui comptait, à la fin de la campagne de 2015, 1067 documents sur écorce de bouleau. Il a été rédigé en vieux slavon comme tous les textes de ce genre. À la suite d’une liste de dettes mal conservée figure une liste de sept noms avec parfois des surnoms à l’accusatif, parmi lesquels OSIPE VAREGE, c’est-à-dire « Joseph Varègue ».

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Treharne Elaine, Living through conquest: the politics of early English, 1020-1220

Treharne Elaine, Living through conquest: the politics of early English, 1020-1220, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2012, X-218 p. ISBN: 978-0-19-958526-7

Compte rendu par/Review by : Christopher A. Jones

The Medieval Review

Date : 6 Feb 2014

The fortunes of English between the later eleventh and early thirteenth centuries have enjoyed increased attention in recent decades, and no one has done more to energize this important area of research than Elaine Treharne. Many scholars of Old and earlier Middle English will be aware of her and others’ pioneering work on the topic, but its rewards and future promise still remain too little appreciated. The reason, in part, is that studies of English through the long twelfth century have often been highly specialized, with emphasis on linguistic and codicological detail. But other barriers, Treharne asserts, are institutional. The record of « late » and « transitional » Old English consists largely (but by no means exclusively) of anonymous adaptations of earlier homiletic prose by the likes of Aelfric and Archbishop Wulfstan, and these materials, usually perceived as derivative, tend to fall through the cracks of modern scholarship and curricula. Literary histories have therefore often dismissed as unoriginal and backward-looking a substantial body of English vernacular writing extant from the Norman Conquest down to the reigns of Henry II and his sons.

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Pons-Sanz Sara Maria, The lexical effects of Anglo-Scandinavian linguistic contact on Old English

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

The Medieval Review

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.

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Gregory Rebecca, The minor and field-names of Thurgarton Wapentake, Nottinghamshire

Gregory Rebecca, The minor and field-names of Thurgarton Wapentake, Nottinghamshire, (dir. P. Cavill, J. Baker, University of Nottingham)

En cours depuis 2013/In preparation since 2013

Résumé/abstract :

My project involves collection and anaysis of minor names in Thurgarton Wapentake. I hope to be able to analyse these names in order to glean information about a number of different areas of interest including: the dialect of Nottinghamshire and naming elements specific to the region; the languages spoken in the area, with an emphasis on Scandinavian-infuenced vocabulary and pronunciation; land-use; and the process of enclosure and its effect on naming. My initial sources of data have been the Tithe and Enclosure Awards from the late 18th and early 19th centuries. However, I will also be making use of maps and documents from both earlier and later periods.

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Rye Eleanor, Dialect in the Viking-Age Scandinavian diaspora

Rye Eleanor, Dialect in the Viking-Age Scandinavian diaspora: the evidence of medieval minor names, Thèse de doctorat soutenue en 2016 (University of Nottingham)

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Van Renterghem Aya, Runica Manuscripta

Van Renterghem Aya, Runica Manuscripta, (dir. J. Jesch, University of Nottingham)

En cours depuis 2014/In preparation since 2014

Résumé/abstract :

My research investigates the perception of runes and the runic alphabet by medieval scribes by examining their use of the script in manuscripts and the practice of copying manuscript runes between the ninth and the twelfth century. I include both Old Norse and Anglo-Saxon runes, analysing their appearance and possible connections in insular and continental manuscripts. I am interested in the runes within and outwith their respective traditions. I will therefore take a detailed look at the transition from epigraphical to manuscript runes, the spread of the runica manuscripta tradition, and the significance of finding both types of runes in the same manuscripts. With this study I hope to determine how runic material was perceived, why the medieval scribe or scholar felt the need to use a relatively uncommon or even archaic alphabet, and how this affects the idea of runic literacy.

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Ramandi Maria Teresa, Latin and Norse in medieval Icelandic culture

Ramandi Maria Teresa, Latin and Norse in medieval Icelandic culture: a comparative analysis of some translated saints’ lives, (dir. E. Rowe, University of Cambridge)

En cours depuis ?/In preparation since ?

Aucun résumé retrouvé/No abstract available

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Boulton David, Differing patterns of Viking migration and settlement in Suffolk

Boulton David, Differing patterns of Viking migration and settlement in Suffolk: an analysis of Scandinavian place names in their landscape context, (University of East Anglia)

En cours depuis 2013/In preparation since 2013

Aucun résumé retrouvé/No abstract available

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Anglo Norman Dictionary Project

Anglo Norman Dictionary Project

Responsable du projet/Project leader :

D.A. Trotter (

Établissement principal/Main institution :

Aberystwyth University

Projet en cours/Project in progress

Description :

Anglo-Norman, the form of French used in medieval Britain from 1066 until the mid-fifteenth century, is a major component of English. It is crucial to historians of English; as an important dialect of medieval French (in which the earliest French literary texts were written), it forms a key element in any account of the history of French vocabulary. The language of a major European power in the Middle Ages, Anglo-Norman was the medium for a vast array of historical, administrative, and legal documentation.

The Anglo-Norman Dictionary (1977-1992) is the only guide to this difficult vocabulary. The first half of this Dictionary is nothing like as comprehensive as the second half (from P onwards); the project’s ultimate aim is a complete revision, which will probably produce a dictionary two to three times the size of the first edition. The first part (A-E) was published and put online in 2005; with AHRC support, the project team has been progressively revising (for an online-only edition) from F onwards, with funding already secured as far as M.

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Baranauskienė Rasa, Keltų ir skandinavų kalbų ir kultūriniai kontaktai vikingų laikotarpiu

Baranauskienė Rasa, Keltų ir skandinavų kalbų ir kultūriniai kontaktai vikingų laikotarpiu [Celtic and Scandinavian Language and Cultural Contacts during the Viking Age], Thèse de doctorat soutenue en 2012, (dir. J. K. Kusmenko, Université de Vilnius)

Résumé/abstract :
This dissertation deals with Viking Age Celtic and Scandinavian language and cultural contacts which resulted in profound changes in both societies. Viking Age rune-stones found in the Isle of Man contain some exceptional features and in many ways diverge from the rest of the Scandinavian runic corpus. Presence of the Ogam tradition in the Isle of Man might have been one of the factors why rune-stones were so well accepted and flourished in the isle during the Viking Age. One of the most unique features is the presence of bilingual runic-Ogam inscriptions which were carved at the same time as runic inscriptions and not earlier. Linguistic research of the Manx rune-inscriptions revealed the influence of Celtic upon Scandinavian language. First of all, rune-inscriptions contain a lot of Celtic personal names. Besides, there are many cases of inflectional confusion that is likely to arise in a bilingual society. The second part of the dissertation discusses Celtic elements in the only surviving ballad in Norn language Hildinavisen, which seems to have been created in continually changing linguistic, social and cultural conditions. The marine societies of Shetland and Orkney Islands generated various stories, where motifs and elements traveled from various directions. Hildinavisen is certainly of West Scandinavian origin, but it contains or rather is adorned with Celtic motifs. The analysis of the text of Hildinavisen seems to indicate that in the level of the story Hildinavisen…

Šioje disertacijoje tyrinėjami keltų ir skandinavų kalbų ir kultūriniai kontaktai Vikingų laikotarpiu, atnešę esminių permainų abiems kultūroms. Vikingų epochos Meno salos runų įrašai savo forma, turiniu bei kalbos ypatybėmis skiriasi nuo skandinaviškų runų korpuso. Šios salos runų įrašams įtakos turėjo Ogamo įrašų tradicija, dėl kurios runų tradicija suklestėjo Meno saloje Vikingų laikotarpiu. Vienas iš unikaliausių bruožų yra taip vadinamieji dvikalbiai runakmeniai, kur greta runų įrašo yra Ogamo įrašas, išraižytas ant akmens tuo pat metu kaip ir runos. Svarbus Meno salos runų įrašų skiriamasis bruožas – jų kalbiniai ypatumai. Viena vertus, runose gausu keltiškų vardų, antra vertus, galima pastebėti, jog senosios skandinavų kalbos gramatika gerokai pakitusi. Ištyrus runų įrašus matyti, kaip skandinavų kalbos gramatika keičiasi dvikalbėje visuomenėje. Antroje disertacijos dalyje aptariami keltiški elementai vienintelėje išlikusioje norn kalba užrašytoje „Baladėje apie Hildiną“, kuri buvo sukurta nuolat besikeičiančioje kalbinėje, socialinėje ir kultūrinėje aplinkoje. Jūrinės Šetlando ir Orknio salų visuomenės generavo įvairius pasakojimus, kurių motyvai ir elementai atkeliaudavo iš įvairių kraštų. „Baladė apie Hildiną“ yra neabejotinai vakarų skandinavų kilmės, tačiau joje aptinkama keltiškų motyvų. Baladės teksto analizė rodo, jog pasakojimo lygmenyje ji yra nemažai pasiskolinusi iš keltų pasakojamosios tradicijos. Ypač ryški „karaliaus ir deivės tema“. Tačiau jei ir būta…

Eilersgaard Christensen Lisbeth, Stednavne som kilde til yngre jernalders centralpladser

Eilersgaard Christensen Lisbeth, Stednavne som kilde til yngre jernalders centralpladser, Thèse de doctorat soutenue en 2010, (dir. B. Holmberg, Université de Copenhague)

Résumés :

Characteristic place-names with possible relevance for religion, social status, defence etc. often occur together, forming a relatively uniform pattern in certain parts of Sweden. These uniform patterns, so- called onomastic environments, occur most frequently in the central Swedish region and they have been interpreted as an expression of the social organisation in the areas in question. Onomastic environments are presumed to provide circumstantial linguistic evidence for the structures that have been designated by archaeologists as central-place complexes. The characteristic onomastic environments do not seem to appear in Southern Scandinavia, in spite of the fact that archaeological central-place complexes do occur here. A Swedish place-name scholar has put forward the hypothesis that changes in settlement structure disturbed the old place-name structures in Southern Scandinavia but that traces of onomastic environments can still be found, if both settlement names and field-names are taken into consideration in the analyses. The aim of the dissertation is to test this hypothesis by means of an analysis of the place-name material within selected regions in Denmark. As a basis for the study a catalogue of keywords has been compiled which consists of both Swedish and Danish name-elements in which interest in the structure of society and centrality is foremost in publications devoted to the theory of onomastic environments and other selected literature. The catalogue contains 84 keywords with varying relevance for central-places. The name material has been analysed in eight areas which have been selected on the basis of six sal-names, one tune-name and a name of the type Odinsvi. In each area the names with keywords or other relevance for central-places have been selected for detailed interpretation. The value of the testimony of this material for centrality in the Late Iron Age is then assessed. The archaeological material from the Late Iron Age is also described briefly so that the collected relevance of the testimony for centrality for each area can be assessed on the basis of both types of source. The analyses show that in the selected areas no evidence can be demonstrated that can be interpreted as the existence of such onomastic environments. In the majority of the areas, however, there is one name, in addition to the name which led to the selection of the area, that can be accorded relevance for centrality. At a few places there are more such names. Regional peculiarities in respect to naming may be a partial cause of the differing dissemination of repeated patterns in the onomastic material between (Central) Sweden and Denmark respectively. The theoretical approach to the onomastic material is also of great significance for the result of the analyses. There is a considerable body of onomastic material with relevance for the structure of society and centrality in Denmark but the value of its testimony for the organisational structure of its central-place complexes would not seem to be confirmed.

Karakteristiske stednavne med mulig relevans for samfundsforhold som religion, status, forsvar osv. optræder i flere tilfælde sammen efter et relativt ensartet mønster i nogle dele af Sverige. Disse ensartede mønstrer, såkaldte navnemiljøer, optræder hyppigst i det mellemsvenske område, og de tolkes som udtryk for samfundsorganisationen i de pågældende områder. Navnemiljøerne formodes at være sproglige indicier på strukturer, der i arkæologien betegnes som centralpladskomplekser. De karakteristiske navnemiljøer forekommer tilsyneladende ikke i det sydskandinaviske område, til trods for at arkæologiske centralpladskomplekser optræder her. En svensk navneforsker har fremsat den hypotese, at bebyggelsesmæssige omstruktureringer har forstyrret de gamle stednavnestrukturer i Sydskandinavien, men at der kan findes reminiscenser af navnemiljøer, såfremt både bebyggelses- og marknavne inddrages i analyserne. Afhandlingens formål er at afprøve denne hypotese gennem analyser af stednavnematerialet inden for udvalgte undersøgelsesområder i Danmark. Som basis for analyserne er der udarbejdet et katalog af søgeord, der består af både svenske og danske navneled, som i navnemiljøteoretiske publikationer eller anden udvalgt litteratur tillægges interesse for samfundsstruktur og centralitet. Kataloget rummer 84 søgeord med varierende centralpladsrelevans. Navnematerialet er analyseret i otte udvalgte områder, som er udpeget på basis af seks sal-navne, et tune-navn og et navn af typen Odinsvi. I hvert område er navne med søgeord eller centralpladsrelevans i øvrigt udvalgt og tolket. Materialets udsagnsværdi for centralitet i yngre jernalder er herefter vurderet. Det arkæologiske materiale fra yngre jernalder er desuden skitseret, således at det samlede centralpladsrelaterede udtryk for hvert område kan vurderes ud fra begge kildetyper. Analyserne viser, at der i de udvalgte områder ikke kan påvises mønstre, der kan tolkes som navnemiljøer. I hovedparten af områderne er der dog ét navn, udover navnet som området er udpeget efter, der kan tillægges centralpladsrelevans. Enkelte steder er der flere. Navne med relevans for religion og forsvar er hyppigst forekommende, men udsagnsværdien er i nogle tilfælde vanskelig at fastlægge. Regionale særtræk i forbindelse med navngivning kan være en delvis årsag til forskellig udbredelse af gentagne mønstre i hhv. det (mellem)svenske og det danske navnemateriale, og den teoretiske tilgang ved tolkningen af materialet er også af væsentlig betydning for det analyserede resultat. Der er et stort navnemateriale med relevans for samfundsstruktur og centralitet i Danmark, men dets udsagnsværdi for centralpladskompleksernes organisatoriske struktur synes ikke bekræftet.

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Zori Davide Marco, From Viking chiefdoms to medieval state in Iceland

Zori Davide Marco, From Viking chiefdoms to medieval state in Iceland: The evolution of social power structures in the Mosfell Valley, Thèse de doctorat soutenue en 2010, (dir. J. Byock, University of California, Los Angeles)

Résumé/abstract :

This dissertation presents the results of an interdisciplinary regional study of medieval Icelandic society, beginning with the 9th century settlement of the island and concluding when independent sociopolitical development halted in AD 1262. The nature of the power of medieval Icelandic chieftains has attracted scholarly attention from both historians and anthropologists, who have been drawn to the unusually rich corpus of information in the Icelandic sagas. These chieftains maintained power for several centuries without institutionalized taxation or the development of territorial polities. My research contributes to the understanding of this chiefly power by analyzing separate sources of social power and charting temporal change in the power structures with an interdisciplinary micro-regional study of the Mosfell Valley in southwest Iceland.

Methodologically, I employ multiple lines of evidence, including medieval texts, place names, oral traditions, and archaeological data from regional surveys and excavations. Previous scholarly investigation has relied on textual sources to investigate Icelandic social structure and chiefly power. This is therefore the first regional study of long-term change at the local scale that integrates archaeological and textual sources, providing a detailed and nuanced understanding of the micro-processes in a specific medieval community.

Structured in part by a network of kinship alliances, the settlement of the Mosfell Valley progressed rapidly, with at least three farms established in the first generation. By the early 11th century, the Mosfell chieftains reached their apex of power through the articulation of economic, ideological, military, and political sources of power. The chieftains employed diverse strategies to advance their positions, including mobilization of the subsistence economy for investment in the chiefly political economy, control of a local port and access to prestige goods, and the use of materialized pagan and Christian ideologies to centralize wealth and authority. Although the Mosfell chieftains shifted their strategies with the increasing stratification of Icelandic society, the region became marginalized as neighboring chieftains consolidated territorial power. Nevertheless, and in contrast power interpretations of 13th century conditions, the agency of local leaders caused power in the Mosfell region to remain tired to personal authority and less dominated by territoriality than in neighboring regions.

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