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Bollig, S. (2022). A source within a source?: Using personal names as source material in the sagas of Icelanders. Kulturella perspektiv - Svensk etnologisk tidskrift, 31, 1-6
Open this publication in new window or tab >>A source within a source?: Using personal names as source material in the sagas of Icelanders
2022 (English)In: Kulturella perspektiv - Svensk etnologisk tidskrift, ISSN 1102-7908, Vol. 31, p. 1-6Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The sagas of Icelanders contain a great wealth of personal names both of historical and fictional nature. Personal names function both as identifiers for individuals but also evoke associations that supersede the name’s lexical or identifying meaning, for example, cultural or social associations such as age, ethnicity, and ideology. This article examines personal names as a source within a source and appraises the use of literary and socio-onomastics in the context of the Íslendingasögur using the example of the elusive difference between “Icelanders” and “Norwegians” in the sagas. The onomastic analysis is based on seven shorter tales and explores the differences in personal names in Icelandic and Norwegian individuals. Based on the onomastic data gathered, this article concludes that there are certain regional differences in name-giving visible in the sagas and that saga authors either had authentic onomastic material at hand or tried to emulate realistic personal names.

Abstract [sv]

Islänningasagorna innehåller en stor mängd personnamn av både historisk och fiktiv karaktär. Personnamn fungerar både som identifierare för individer men väcker också associationer som överskuggar namnets lexikala eller identifierande betydelse, såsom kulturella eller sociala associationer som ålder, etnicitet och ideologi. I den här artikeln behandlas personnamn som en källa inom en källa. Även användningen av litterär onomastik och socioonomastik på Islänningasagorna evalueras genom att analysera den svårfångade skillnaden mellan ”islänningar” och ”norrmän” i sagorna. Den onomastiska analysen baseras på sju tåtar och utforskar skillnaderna i personnamn hos isländska och norska individer. Utifrån den onomastiska datan som samlats in drar artikeln slutsatsen att det finns vissa regionala skillnader i namngivning som är synliga i Islänningasagorna och att sagaförfattarna antingen hade autentiskt onomastiskt material till hands eller att de försökte efterlikna autentiska personnamn.

Keywords
onomastics, Old Norse literature, Íslendingasögur, sagas of Icelanders, onomastik, fornnordisk litteratur, Íslendingasögur, islänningasagor
National Category
Specific Languages Specific Literatures
Research subject
Scandinavian Languages; Linguistics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-202050 (URN)10.54807/kp.v31.2302 (DOI)
Available from: 2022-12-30 Created: 2022-12-30 Last updated: 2023-01-02Bibliographically approved
Bollig, S. (2022). “Þorsteinn hét maðr.”: A Socio-Onomastic Analysis. In: : . Paper presented at Leeds International Medieval Congress, 4-7 July 2022, University of Leeds, UK.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>“Þorsteinn hét maðr.”: A Socio-Onomastic Analysis
2022 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation only (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

The Íslendingasögur provide a great wealth of personal names, both of historical and possibly fictional nature, which allows for an examination of historical and literary name-giving practices before and during the saga-writing age. Prosoponyms – personal names – in Old Norse sources have only been studied to a limited extent and very rarely in the context of the Íslendingasögur, which is surprising given the sheer amount of personal names mentioned in the Sagas.

Personal names do not only function as identifiers for individuals but also serve as mirrors of the society and culture using them. Personal names are reflections of the community that gives these names to individuals. As such, these personal names can express family ties and affiliations to a certain group of people, and both individual and communal identity. It is therefore worth examining the personal names in the Íslendingasögur from the perspective of socio-onomastics to explore the social, cultural and identity related implications of name-giving traditions and practices, especially in the context of Icelandic identity. 

The Íslendingasögur often denote an elusive difference in Scandinavian/Norwegian and Icelandic identity and naming traditions are not to be forgotten as a contributing factor of these differences in perceived identity. 

A socio-onomastic analysis of the personal names mentioned in the Íslendingasögur has not only the potential for further insight into the sense of community and Icelandic identity during the saga-writing age but also furthers the advancement of historical and literary socio-onomastics in the field of Old Norse Studies. 

Keywords
Socio-Onomastics, Personal Names, Icelandic Family Sagas, Icelandic Identity
National Category
Languages and Literature Specific Literatures Specific Languages
Research subject
Scandinavian Languages; Linguistics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-198789 (URN)
Conference
Leeds International Medieval Congress, 4-7 July 2022, University of Leeds, UK
Available from: 2022-08-24 Created: 2022-08-24 Last updated: 2022-09-01Bibliographically approved
Organisations
Identifiers
ORCID iD: ORCID iD iconorcid.org/0000-0002-9689-5800

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