I wrote:
>>sources for Norse language use than the sagas, with runic inscriptions
>>being sources of urnordisch (Proto-Norse) rather than Old Norse

Keth replied:
>There are also runic inscriptions in the younger futhark.
>In that sense runic inscriptions also provide information
>about Old Norse.

good point - it would just be the elder futhork inscriptions which are

>>you agree with oral-formulaic theory (I certainly do), it's possible to
>>consider eddic poetry as a significantly older use of language than the

>I don't know. "oral-formulaic" sounds a bit "high brow" to me.
>There has been too much back and forth discussion about that.
>Eysteinn, for example, claims with great intensity that there
>is no question that all eddic poems were composed in Iceland
>by Icelanders -- and must hence be assigned a late date.

um, Keth, we debated this one on Asatru-L - have you had a chance to look
at _The Singer of Tales_ by Alfred Lord, or the works by the numerous
scholars who have applied the theories described there to eddic poetry,
such as Lars Lönnroth, Robert Kellogg, Paul Taylor, Robert Scholes and
Einar Sveinsson? I had a chance to look over _The Dating of Eddic Poetry_
by Fidjestøl, but didn't have it long enough to read in the depth I wanted
- it's mostly a survey of the various theories regarding the dating, rather
than proposing a direct answer.

>I am not sure if there is a unified concept lying behind
>"niðing" as some have claimed, almost elevating it
>to a sort of mythic key. To me it seems more
>like an ordinary mundane word that can take on several
>meanings depending on the context.

I simply am of the opinion that "níðing" is the product of "níð" and
"-ing(r)", being "someone with níð qualities" - a "níð" was a very specific
kind of insult, and I've yet to find an example of a níð for any reason
other than pointing out cowardice, although the níð itself often used an
image of perversity to illustrate the cowardice. I'm not applying mythic
qualities to the concept, just the most basic principles of philology
(looking at usage and considering extended forms as likely developments).

>In other contexts, such as "niðingsverk", it does however
>seem to indicate a work of destruction. i.e. someone who
>destroys things that all normal people agree are good and

I suggest that "níðingsverk" is a further development on "níðing", once it
had developed its meaning further.

>If you look in the sister languages of Old Norse, you will
>see that niid/neid is always related to some of the classical
>negative emotions, that is, greed, avarice, jealousy, anger
>and hate. And I suppose that is also the "basic" meaning of
>the word. (e.g. "nijdig als een spin" -- angry like a spider)

interesting - do you have information on which languages in particular used
it for a particular meaning, and when?

>>As an example of the difference, I would personally say Grettir Ásmundarson
>>spent much of his adult life as a varg, but was never a níðing - and IIRC,
>>the narrative voice calls him a varg while his enemies call him a níðing,
>>so the author of Grettis saga *might* be showing a similar attitude. (I
>>wouldn't go out on a limb defending that one, though.)

>How about it if he worked evil ? (níðingsverk)
>Would that make him a "níðing" ?

well, I *think* that it's Grettir's enemies who say he did níðingsverk,
which would make a big difference in whether the author considers him a
níðing or not.

>Yes, you are right, the roman prositutes were called "lupa".
>I thought it was funny that the Anglo-Saxon she-wolf was called
>"weargyn" - because it almost sounds like "virgin" :)

further humour on that being that the Latin "virgo" simply meant "maiden" -
the modern meaning of "virgin" not being implied at all unless written
"virgo intactus" - so a Roman prostitute (lupa) who was young enough would
be a "virgo", which gives no contradiction to the meaning of that
Anglo-Saxon - although I somehow doubt that the Germano-Balto-Slavic word
Longgren quoted from Mallory is related to "virgo"... ;->


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