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Aspects of Medieval English Language and Literature

Proceedings of the Fifth International Conference of the Society of Historical English Language and Linguistics


Edited By Michiko Ogura and Hans Sauer

This volume is a collection of papers read at the International Medieval Congress at Leeds in 2017, in two sessions organized by the Institute of English Studies at the University of London and four sessions organized by the Society of Historical English Language and Linguistics. Contributions consist of poetry, prose, interlinear glosses, syntax, semantics, lexicology, and medievalism. The contributors employ a wealth of different approaches. The general theme of the IMC 2017 was ‘otherness’, and some papers fit this theme very well. Even when two researchers deal with a similar topic and arrive at different conclusions, the editors do not try to harmonize them but present them as they are for further discussion.

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8 Aldred’s combinations with efne, eft and ymb: their status (word-formation, glossing device, or both), and their treatment in dictionaries

1 Introduction: The Lindisfarne Gospels and their Old English gloss


Abstract: In the Lindisfarne Gospels, Aldred’s Old English glosses to Latin words beginning with con- (co-, com-), re- etc. pose several problems: Did Aldred want to create new Old English words (as loan-translations) or did he rather want to imitate the morphologic structure of the Latin words? Did he create Northumbrian words or just use a glossing idiolect? Should these formations be regarded as compounds or as prefix formations? Why do the earlier dictionaries of Old English (Bosworth & Toller, Clark Hall) list only a fraction of Aldred’s formations? The DOE (in progress) is much more comprehensive.

The Lindisfarne Gospels are a richly decorated gospelbook which is now kept as manuscript London, British Library, Cotton Nero D.iv. According to the colophon at the end, the Latin text was written at Lindisfarne by Eadfrið, who was bishop of Lindisfarne 698‒721, i.e. it originated around 700.1 It is important in several respects, e.g. for the text of the New Testament, for art history and for cultural history.2 For Old English (OE) scholars and historians of the English language it is important because in the second half of the 10th century (probably between 950 and 970), i.e. more than 250 years later, the priest Aldred entered a continuous interlinear Old English gloss in smaller script (probably at Chester-le-Street).3 This gloss is one of the main witnesses of the late Northumbrian dialect,4 and it also foreshadows some of the later morphological developments of ←151 | 152→ English.5 Aldred...

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