Veturliði Óskarsson: Middelnedertyske låneord i islandsk diplomsprog frem til år 1500.

Bibliotheca Arnamagnæana, vol. XLIII.

Redactors: Finn Hansen and Jonna Louis-Jensen.

2003. 432 pp.

This book investigates one aspect of the massive Middle Low German influence on the Nordic languages in the later middle ages, viz. the MLG vocabulary in Icelandic public documents of the period 1200-1500, principally charters but also inventories from churches, monasteries, etc. MLG influenced Icelandic in a different way from the mainland Scandinavian languages in so far as the influence was almost exclusively mediated by another language (Norwegian and, after the Kalmar Union, Danish). MLG words borrowed via Norwegian begin to appear in documents of the late thirteenth century and have become quite numerous a hundred years later; their number increases significantly in the fifteenth century. The text corpus investigated contains a total of some 600 words borrowed from MLG or formed (in Icelandic, or sometimes in Norwegian or Danish) on the basis of MLG. The lack of research in this field has led to an underestimation of the MLG influence on Icelandic and to the assumption that it occurred later than is now demonstrated. In a work from 1946 (Bibliotheca Arnamagnæana Vol. VI) Chr. Westergård-Nielsen dealt with the loanwords in Icelandic printed books of the sixteenth century, showing that the majority of them were indeed from MLG. However, the interpretation of his results has been hampered by the lack of a study of the earlier period. The present volume fills part of this gap, though an investigation of the imaginative literature of the period remains to be carried out.

The book is in two parts. The first describes the sources excerpted and provides a historical survey of the period with special reference to contact between Iceland and other countries. There is also a discussion of foreign influence on the vocabulary and of theoretical contributions to this problem, and a further three chapters deal with the material investigated, the age, characteristics, and origin of the words, and word-formation and affixes.

The second part is a dictionary providing a philological and etymological account of the words of MLG provenance that have been found in the text corpus. There is an appendix in which the words are grouped in thematic categories, another appendix with a survey of the literature consulted, and indexes of personal names and words discussed.

About the author: Veturliði Óskarsson (b. 1958) graduated in Nordic Philology from the University of Copenhagen in 1992 and took his doctorate in Nordic Languages at the University of Uppsala in 2001. He taught Modern Icelandic in Uppsala from 1997 to 2001, after which he was a docent in Uppsala until being appointed docent at Kennaraháskóli Íslands, where he now is professor of Icelandic. His research has focused on loanwords, Icelandic lexicography, the history of the Nordic languages, and Icelandic language policy.