Matteo Tarsi



Doktorsnám: Íslensk málfræði


Leiðbeinandi: Jón Axel Harðarson


Heiti doktorsverkefnis: Endogenous words vs. loanwords: a comprehensive analysis of the coexistence of and competition between loanwords and endogenous words in Old and Middle Icelandic


Um doktorsverkefnið:


t is a well-known tenet of Icelandic purism that loanwords shall be avoided in favour of endogenous word formation, this often resulting in a more or less persistent coexistence and competition of loanwords and native words in the lexicon, which, in turn, tends to come to a new internal balance either by eliminating one of the two elements of the couple or by differentiate them in some way (e.g. diaphasically). In the history of the Icelandic language, purism is believed to start just before the beginning of the seventeenth century, in particular with the formal acknowledgment by the humanist Arngrímur Jónsson that his fellow countrymen ought to use the potentiality of  Icelandic in their everyday speech and written language, instead of borrowing words from the Danes and the Germans.


However, the aforementioned phenomenon, i.e. loanwords and native words in coexistence and competition, is also often encountered in the written producton prior to the end of the sixteenth century. Hence the need of accounting for a phenomenon, which both foreruns purism and is intimately connected with it. My research in fact aims at the study of how isosemantic and quasi-isosemantic couples constituted by loanword and native word were used in a representative corpus of texts produced during the Old and Middle Icelandic period.


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