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Runic and Skaldic Evidence of Palatal r in West Norse
Árni Magnússon Institute, Reykjavík.
2020 (English)In: Futhark: International Journal of Runic Studies, ISSN 1892-0950, E-ISSN 2003-296X, Vol. 9-10, p. 159-177Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Runic evidence shows that the phonemes r and palatal ʀ merged at an early date in West Norse. I argue here that skaldic poetry also comprises valid evidence of this merger and that there is no reason to believe that r and ʀ should have rhymed until the two phonemes had actually coalesced. All the poets of the Viking Age whose verse consists of at least eighty rhymed lines show examples of rhyme between r and ʀ, except Bragi Boddason, whose poetry, traditionally dated to the 800s, is the most archaic to be preserved. There are, on the other hand, five examples of r and ʀ rhyming with each other in the poem Haustlǫng by Þjóðólfr ór Hvini, traditionally dated to c. 900. These admittedly sparse data would date the merger of r and ʀ to the late 800s. This is essentially the same dating shown by the runic evidence, which is also quite meagre. The linking of runic and skaldic chronology can be shown to strengthen both.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2020. Vol. 9-10, p. 159-177
Keywords [en]
skaldic poetry, consonant rhyme, palatal r, historical phonology, West Norse
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URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-401047DOI: 10.33063/diva-401047OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-401047DiVA, id: diva2:1385974
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https://doi.org/10.33063/diva-401047

Available from: 2020-01-16 Created: 2020-01-16 Last updated: 2020-01-20

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