LINGUIST List 13.1661

Tue Jun 11 2002

Books: Language Description:Old Saxon

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  1. LINCOM EUROPA, Old Saxon by James E. Cathey

Message 1: Old Saxon by James E. Cathey

Date: 11 Jun 2002 18:06 GMT
Subject: Old Saxon by James E. Cathey

Old Saxon
James E. Cathey
University of Massachusetts / Amherst

Old Saxon, spoken between approximately the 6th and 11th centuries by
an unknown number of speakers likely in the tens of thousands using
several dialects, is a member of the Western group of Germanic also
including Old Frisian and Old English that was characterized inter
alia by a unified pres. pl.marker and no High German sound shift. 
Saxon territory was bounded roughly by the sea coast in the north, 
where not occupied by Frisian speakers, and the rivers Rhein and Ysel 
in the west, Elbe and Saale in the east, and Lippe and Ruhr in the south. 

Old Saxon and Old English were close enough that Anglo-Saxon missionaries 
seem to have been able communicate easily on Saxon territory. 
The language is best attested by documents from the 9th C, most prominently 
by the so-called H�liand, a story of Christ in 5983 alliterating lines, 
and the Old Saxon Genesis in 337 lines. The H�liand, which also shows 
influence from East Franconian, is of particular interest as a proselytizing 
document which, while being theologically correct, is couched in terms 
acceptable to a pre-Christian sensibility of traditional poetics. The 
Genesis, of which only a fragment exists, was translated into an Old English 
version of some 700 surviving lines. Beyond these there are smaller at
testations, including: the so-called Heberollen, which are lists of tithes 
to churches or monasteries; blessings; a confession of faith; a renunciation 
of the devil; single words in manuscripts written in Latin; and personal 
and place names.

James E. Cathey is Professor of Germanic Languages with publications in 
topics ranging from Old Saxon, Old High German and Gothic to Old Icelandic, 
modern Faroese and Finnish.

ISBN 3 89586 514 1.
Languages of the World/ Materials 252.
60 pp. USD 34.50 / EUR 31 / � 21.10. 2nd printing.

Free copies of LINCOM's catalogue 2002 ("project line 12") are now 
available from

LINCOM electronic n.e.w.s.l.e.t.t.e.r. :New books in June 2002.

LINCOM EUROPA, Freibadstr. 3, D-81543 Muenchen, Germany
FAX +49 89 62269404
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Thursday, January 17, 2002