Latest articles in this journal
Scandinavistica Vilnensis pp 241-272; https://doi.org/10.15388/scandinavisticavilnensis.2019.12
The paper presents a large-scale investigation of attitudes towards standard and dialectal speech varieties in Lithuania. It aimed at, firstly, obtaining comparable data on assessments of speech variation under two methodologically different conditions: ‘unaware condition’ (the participants being unaware of the linguistic goals of the research) and ‘aware condition’. Secondly, it aimed at testing whether the two layers of consciousness yield two different systems of social values and how the evaluations accord with changes in language usage. The theory was developed by Danish scholars whose numerous experimental studies proved the driving force role of subconscious attitudes. The investigation closely followed the Danish methodology and was carried out in 23 secondary schools in 7 regions and the capital city of Lithuania, covering almost 1.5 thousand pupils in total. The regularity of the findings, i.e. the overall tendency to overtly valorise local dialects but subconsciously to downgrade dialect accented voices, confirmed that language awareness affects assignment of values to language and must be regarded as an important explanatory factor for the scenarios of language change.
Scandinavistica Vilnensis pp 147-182; https://doi.org/10.15388/scandinavisticavilnensis.2019.8
This article brings forward a set of examples from the “Swedological” literature that had its golden era circa 1930–1980 – i.e. non-Swedish interpretations of Swedish society (or features of it), done in order to fight ideological wars on non-Swedish soil, using Sweden as a case in point. The theme of Sweden as a peaceful nation, both in its internal developments and in its role in the world, was a crucial feature of the genre from the outset. It has been possible to interpret Sweden’s neutrality policies (including heavy production and exports of arms) in different ways. This has also been the case with Swedish attempts to take responsibility in the world, showing global conscience (e.g. through criticism against international bullies or through foreign aid). The theme of peaceableness has, over the decades, been a tool in fights between “Swedophiles” and “Swedoclasts”, both sides applying a certain “logic of debunkery” in their mutual attempts to disclose the opposite camp’s depictions as myths.
Scandinavistica Vilnensis pp 183-198; https://doi.org/10.15388/scandinavisticavilnensis.2019.9
Old Icelandic literature, genetics and historical demography regarding Sámi-Scandinavian early contactsThe spreading of Sámi interference features to the North Germanic languages is confirmed not only by the Old Icelandic sagas, which show us an absolute acceptance of the Sámi in the North Germanic society and marriages between the two nations, but also by the populational genetics that show that the percentage of the “Sámish” haplogroups (Y-DNA N1c, mtDNA U5 and V) among the North Germanic people exceeds considerably the percentage of the modern Sámi population, which indicates a language shift and assimilation of a part of the Sámi (especially of the Southern Sámi). Changes in the population structure caused by two pest pandemics (in the seventh to ninth and in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries) that affected Northern and Central Scandinavia to a much lesser degree could also contribute both to the spreading of the Sámi genes in Northern and Central Scandinavia and of the Sámi interference features in the North Germanic languages.
Scandinavistica Vilnensis pp 39-60; https://doi.org/10.15388/scandinavisticavilnensis.2019.3
In this article, the Old Icelandic poem Þrymskviða, which depicts an ancient myth about the theft and retrieval of Thor’s hammer, is compared with a number of later texts describing the same story – a late medieval Icelandic rhyme Þrymlur and a number of ballads from Denmark, Norway, and Sweden, – in order to find out if it is possible to reconstruct an earlier, common Scandinavian version of this myth. While such a reconstruction appears to be plausible, none of the extant sources reflects the proto-myth in its complete form: although the oldest source Þrymskviða generally appears to be the most conservative among the different versions of this story, some of the scenes from the proto-myth have been preserved better in the later sources.
Scandinavistica Vilnensis pp 61-85; https://doi.org/10.15388/scandinavisticavilnensis.2019.4
The paper deals with the legacy of Teodoras Bieliackinas (1907–1947), a Lithuanian exile in Iceland, the first Lithuanian professional Scandinavianist and the first translator of Eddic poetry into Lithuanian. With its background of the “biographical turn” in translation studies and with the help of the concept of “differential margin” proposed by Theo Hermans, the paper focuses on Bieliackinas’s rendition of Þrymskviða into Lithuanian. The aim is to trace the translator’s own ideological agenda, which appears to have been inscribed by him into the Old Norse song. It is claimed that the song about the loss and recovery of Thor’s hammer has been invested by Bieliackinas with a new – allegorical – meaning and can be read as a message of hope that Bieliackinas was sending to his countrymen who, like himself, were scattered around the world and mourned the loss of their state.
Scandinavistica Vilnensis pp 201-213; https://doi.org/10.15388/scandinavisticavilnensis.2019.10
There is a rare slangy British English phrase to lie doggo “to lie hid”. The earliest known example is dated in the OED to 1882. Doggo looks like dog + o (with -o, as in weirdo, typo, and so forth), but a formation consisting of an animal name followed by the suffix -o would have no analogs. Some light on the origin of lie doggo may fall from the Modern Icelandic idiom sitja upp við dogg ‘to sit or half-lie, supporting oneself with elbows’. Doggur, known from texts since the eighteenth century, occurs with several other verbs. Also, sitja eins og doggur ‘sit motionless, look distraught’ and vera eins og doggur ‘to be motionless’ exist. Doggur has nothing to do with dogs, because the Scandinavian word for “dog” is hund-. The origin of the English noun dog is obscure, but, contrary to the almost universal opinion, the word is not totally isolated. In some German dialects, the diminutive forms dodel, döggel, and the similar-sounding tiggel ~ teckel occur. Perhaps dog and its continental look-alikes were originally baby words. The same sound complexes as above sometimes mean ‘a cylindrical object’ (such are Icelandic doggur and Middle High German tocke). Two of the basic meanings of those words were probably ‘round stick; doll’. Although the evidence is late, we can risk suggesting that lie doggo also contains the name of some device that was current not too long ago in the European itinerant handymen’s lingua franca. The overall image looks nearly the same as in the phrase dead as a doornail. In English, folk etymology connected doggo with the animal name and misled even professional lexicographers and etymologists. Finally, of some relevance is the English idiom it rains cats and dogs, whose forgotten earliest form was it rains cats and dogs and pitchforks with their points downwards. Apparently, the original idea was that a downpour of sharp objects fell to the ground.
Scandinavistica Vilnensis pp 113-135; https://doi.org/10.15388/scandinavisticavilnensis.2019.6
George Mackay Brown (1921–1996), an Orcadian poet, author and dramatist, was undoubtedly one of the finest Scottish creative voices of the twentieth century. He was greatly influenced by Old Norse literature, and this is reflected in his writings in many ways. The present article aims to trace and discuss Old Norse themes and motifs in Brown’s poetry. His rune poems, translations of the twelfthcentury skaldic verse, experimentation with skaldic kennings, as well as choosing saga personalities, such as Saint Magnus, Earl Rognvald of Orkney and others, as protagonists of the poems show the poet’s in-depth interest in the historical and literary legacy of his native Orkney and Old Norse culture in general.
Scandinavistica Vilnensis pp 87-110; https://doi.org/10.15388/scandinavisticavilnensis.2019.5
In this article, I argue that the portrayals of Sigurðr Fáfnisbani as a hero that emerge from the narratives about the slaying of the dragon in the Prose Edda and in the Saga of the Volsungs are rather different. A hero’s essence is not only about what actions the hero performs or what physical qualities the hero possesses, but also about what choices he makes and what values he adheres to. Therefore, one has to investigate why Sigurðr chose to agree to slay Fáfnir in order to be able to judge how heroic this deed was – or was not. A comparative analysis of the two source texts shows that while the main motivating factor for Sigurðr in the Prose Edda version of the narrative is the prospect of gaining Fáfnir’s treasure, the version contained in the Saga of the Volsungs gives a completely different picture. Here, the main motivation arises from Sigurðr’s own desire to avenge those who had killed his father, Sigmundr. In order to be able to wreak his vengeance, Sigurðr needs a suitable weapon, a sword without equal. Since Reginn is extraordinarily zealous in inciting Sigurðr to slay Fáfnir, Sigurðr promises to do so in exchange for a sword that Reginn – who is a smith with supernatural, dwarf-like competences – has to fashion using all his skill and effort. Additionally, avenging the injustice suffered by Reginn seems morally right, and is compatible with Sigurðr’s plans. The prospect of acquiring a hoard of gold may have contributed to his resolution, but in the Saga of the Volsungs it is not the main motivating factor for Sigurðr.
Scandinavistica Vilnensis pp 136-146; https://doi.org/10.15388/scandinavisticavilnensis.2019.7
Cultural-historical and literary gestalt in the Latvian short story “Saint Birgitta” (“Heliga Birgitta”) by Jānis EzeriņšThe Latvian author Jānis Ezeriņš’s (1891–1924) literary heritage includes, among other texts, the collection of short stories Fantastiska novele un citas (Fantastic short story and others, 1923). The collection contains the short story “Svētā Briģita” (“Saint Birgitta”), in which the author has used the image of a saint, which is very well known in the history of culture, literature and religion. The image can be related both to Celtic mythology and the historical Swedish personality, who had been the founder of Vadstena monastery and a literary author herself (approx. 1303–1373). The aim of the article is to explore the function of the image in the prose text by the Latvian author Ezeriņš and its connections with the cultural and historical personality of St. Birgitta. It is not typical of Ezeriņš’s writings to make such an explicit and direct association with this kind of legendary phenomena, therefore the inclusion of the text in the collection may suggest a connection between St. Birgitta’s individual destiny and enduring human values. This writer’s choice can also be seen as his own claim to international recognition.
Scandinavistica Vilnensis pp 7-13; https://doi.org/10.15388/scandinavisticavilnensis.2019.1