Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS: http://ethos.bl.uk/OrderDetails.do?uin=uk.bl.ethos.683453
Title: The legacy of Old Norse verbs in Barbour's The Brus and Gavin Douglas's The Eneados
Author: Discry, Charles-Henri
ISNI:       0000 0004 5916 5643
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2015
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Abstract:
This thesis is about the semantic and morphological legacy of the Old Norse-descended verbs in two epic poems written in Early Scots and Early Middle Scots, the West Germanic medieval language spoken in parts of what is now Scotland and descended from Old Northumbrian. The first epic is The Brus, an original composition written in 1375 by the Archdeacon of Aberdeen, John Barbour (c. 1320-1395). The second is The Eneados which is the first translation from Latin into an English variety of The Aeneid, Virgil's poem tracing the genesis and divine ancestry of the Roman people. This translation was made in 1513 by Gavin Douglas (c. 1474-1522), Bishop of Dunkeld. The two chosen texts offer good grounds for comparison. They belong to the same genre and are patriotic. They also stand for milestones in the story of the Scots language. Barbour, often quoted as the father of Scottish poetry (Eyre-Todd 1996:v), produced the first Inglis text that Scotticists would regard as mature in form and content. As for Douglas, his epic, now written in Scottis, transcends the boundaries of Scots literature. Douglas joined the greater debate of translation when he tackled the arduous task of translating The Aeneid, a text we know was hard to come to terms with as the famous example of Dryden suggests. Douglas's attempt was courageous indeed when we consider the fact that Virgil himself, not happy with the final product, wished his Aeneid to be destroyed. Thus, how was he to go about the task and deal satisfactorily with a text that even the author remained unsatisfied with? However daunting and risky the challenge, Douglas won praise by some critics and literary individuals for the quality of his 'nature poetry' (Gray 1923) and the liveliness of his picturesque descriptions (Coldwell 1964:39-77). Such comments chime with those of Pound (1951). This doctoral dissertation relies on a self-made corpus called The Aberdeen Corpus of Older Scots [ACOS]. This database contains, in addition to The Brus and The Eneados, the remainder of Douglas's poetry along with all the poems by William Dunbar (c. 1460-c. 1520). To give an idea of its size, 351,030 word tokens have been entered, which becomes 30,773 if this first number is downsized to a word type level. It stands, to this date, as the first poetic corpus in the discipline of Older Scots studies. When the two texts are brought together, we can say that this doctoral dissertation deals with 528 Norse-derived verbs scattered within 282,972 word tokens, amounting to 22,159 word types. It should be highlighted that this last number makes up a substantial part of the overall word types. The dissertation comprises 11 chapters, including the introduction and conclusion. There are also appendices which have been assembled under separate cover. The introduction (Ch. 1) presents the research questions and lays out the structure of the thesis. Then a systemic account of Older Scots follows (Ch. 2). In Ch. 3, readers will be provided with reflections on the type of language contacts that account for the presence of Old Norse-derived verbs in Older Scots. This contrasts the English and Scottish cases and contains an investigation into bilingualism. The notion and importance of the survival of a working paradigm are also stressed at the end of this chapter. Following this idea, Ch. 4 investigates the impact contact had on the maintenance of the weak and strong verb paradigms. This chapter introduces in a parallel way the two verbal systems of the related and yet different Germanic languages that were Old English and Old Norse. The hope behind this is to find if traces of mutual understanding might be perceived through the similarities present in both systems. The discussion will be continued by analysing the after-contact results in Older Scots. Ch. 5 will present the corpus thoroughly and Ch. 6 will provide structure to the etymological method. The literature for the morphological legacy is contained in Ch. 7 and is immediately followed by the morphological chapter (Ch. 8). The literature review for the semantic legacy can be found in Ch. 9 and Ch. 10 will deal with the semantic analysis of the verbs. The conclusions will be presented in Ch. 11. In total, 512 verbs have been analysed and the attempt of this thesis has been to study them from historical, morphological and semantic perspectives.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.683453  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Old Norse
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