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Alliteration in the Poetic Edda


Tadao Shimomiya

This book presents a detailed analysis of the alliteration of the whole of the Poetic Edda (or Elder Edda) of the Codex Regius, using the Germanic alliterative framework established by Andreas Heusler. The considerable regularity of the alliterative scheme is demonstrated, with only a handful of the corpus of approximately 7,300 long-lines falling outside of the rules identified, and therefore the appropriacy of Heusler’s system for understanding the structure of the Poetic Edda is confirmed.
The needs of the student of Old Icelandic poetic style have been foremost in mind in the presentation of this book. It includes an overview of sources not readily available to scholars as well as those not available in English. Copious examples are presented in Old Icelandic with English translation and supported by a select glossary of key Old Icelandic words into English. A Japanese language précis contains a select list of 100 alliterations that appear in the Poetic Edda.


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Index of Terms 187


acc.c.inf. (þik kveð ek) 18, 19, 62, 102 adverbial genitive 98, 99, 101 article (not yet developed) 10 etc. bon voyage! 20 cognate object (ráð er ráðit) 61 crossed alliteration ab/ba 2 dative of comparison (ǫllom betri ‘better than others’) 71, 73, 92 dat.-instr.34 (kasta steinum) 39 (átta nóttom) 66 (eino sinni) 79 (sverði) etc. dat.of approximation (‘like’) 98, 101 divine words and human words 44–45 enclosing alliteration ab/ba 2 epithet for a giant 22 glottal stop 1 good example of alliteration (lopt ok lǫgr) otherwise rather few 28 great hundred 26 honorable epithet (gegn konungr ‘honor- able king!) 56 impersonal construction 20, 73, 88 inchoative (-na) 64 passim initial h disregarded 2 kenning 64 etc. list of eight best things 27 list of six worths proved 17 negative a, -at (var-a) 79 (kemr-a) 79 (sékk-a) 80 (sá-at) no alliteration 3 personal pronoun repeated 64 (ek máttak) and passim preposition postposed 16, 23 etc. staves aa/aa 3 transitive use of intransitive verbs (koma, fara) 32, 62 Index of Terms Studies in Historical Linguistics Edited by Dr Graeme Davis, Faculty of Arts, The Open University, UK, Karl BernharDt, English Language Consultant with Trinity College London and for the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry International Qualification, and Dr marK Garner, school of Language and Literature, University of Aberdeen, UK. Studies in Historical Linguistics brings together work which utilises the comparative method of language study. Topics include the examination of language change over time,...

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