At 19:41 2000-04-01 -0600, you wrote:
The two names are (almost) certainly identical in origin. The Old Germanic
form would be *Skadhin-aujo where the later part is the Old Germanic for
island (as found today in eng is-land, Swedish ö, Icelandic ey etc.). This
would yield Old Norse *Skadhney > (Runic) Norse Skanu, Icelandic Skáney,
Swedish Skåne etc.
Scandinavia has come by way of Latin where the Old Germanic word is found
in several sources in slightly different forms: Scadinavia, Scandinavia,
As for the first part of the name, the meaning of this has been very much
disputed. I think the most popular theory is that it comes from *skadhan-
"to hurt, damage" (modern Swedish skada). In that case it would originally
have applied to the southwestern tip of Skåne, Skanör peninsula. This is
continued by a sandy reef which was for long a notorious ship's graveyard
(the first lighthouse in Northern Europe was at Skanör, back in the Middle
Skanör is analysed as Skan-ör where "Skan-" is the same element as in
Skåne, Scandinavia and -ör comes from Norse aur "sand, gravel" also used as
a noun for sandy reefs (e. g. Mellby ör on Öland).
There are several other theories, one links the name to the hunting/skiing
goddess Skadhi, another suggestion is a link to the english fish-name shad
(the waters around Skanör were long renowned for the herring fisheries,
unfortunately it can't be proven that the name has really been used for
herring, and as far as I know it is not attested in North Germanic). A
further suggestion is Old Germanic *skadh- "shadow" (Goth skadus, German
Schatte, Sw (dial.) skadda). Actually the name of the Goddess Skadhi may be
derived from this root!
I hope this helps.
> Here's a question I've never found an answer to. Can anybody give the
>exact etymological link between Skåne, the province of southern Sweden and
>Scandinavia I know it goes through Latin -- and that's all the
>dictionaries tell me. Is this via ancient Latin, or is it mediaeval Latin?
>And -- oh, is it possible -- can a meaning be pulled out of the word?
>Skåne is the Swedish part of the Germanic homeland. It could, in fact, be
>the Germanic homeland, with Jutland the intervening islands being
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