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Being a thrall of the antichrist: how much lower can you get?

Pons-Sanz, Sara M. (2004) Being a thrall of the antichrist: how much lower can you get? In: 13th International Conference on English Historical Linguistics, 23 - 28 Aug 2004, Vienna. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

Being closely dateable as well as localizable, the works of Wulfstan, Archbishop of York and Bishop of Worcester, are excellent material for the study of the process of integration and accommodation of the Norse-derived vocabulary in Old English. Wulfstan's fondness for the loanword lagu instead of the native æ(w), his frequent use of OE eorl with the meaning of ON jarl, his taste for the grið word-field and his occasional use of other Norse-derived terms are features of his vocabulary which can be found in any introduction to his language and style. The appearance of these terms in the Wulfstanian canon is generally explained as the result of his contact with (and his possible origin from) East Anglia and his dealings with his deeply Scandinavianised northern see. By concentrating on the occurrences of the loanword þræl, this paper suggests other reasons, of a linguistic nature, for the archbishop's selection of Norse-derived terms instead of their native synonyms. It argues that, in the case of þræl, the 'comparative inefficiency' of the native þeow word-field would have led Wulfstan to use the loanword in those contexts where emphasis is placed on the evils derived from the servitude to the Antichrist or the contrast between thegns and slaves.

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Research Community:University of Westminster > Social Sciences, Humanities and Languages, School of
ID Code:7891
Deposited On:12 May 2010 14:54
Last Modified:12 May 2010 14:54

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