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  • 1.
    Bollig, Solveig
    Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Department of language studies.
    A source within a source?: Using personal names as source material in the sagas of Icelanders2022In: Kulturella perspektiv - Svensk etnologisk tidskrift, ISSN 1102-7908, Vol. 31, p. 1-6Article in journal (Refereed)
    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.

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  • 2.
    Bollig, Solveig
    Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Department of language studies.
    “Þorsteinn hét maðr.”: A Socio-Onomastic Analysis2022Conference paper (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. 

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