LINGUIST List 6.714

Tue 23 May 1995

Books: Icelandic

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Additional information on the following books, as well as a short backlist of the publisher's titles, may be available from the Listserv. Instructions for retrieving publishers' backlists appear at the end of this issue.


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Volume IV:
Svavarsdottir, A$sta: The Inflectional Morphology of Nouns in Modrn
Icelandic, 156 pp. Written in Icelandic. Price: USD 18.
This book describes the inflectional patterns of nouns in modern Icelandic.
In addition to an introduction and a conclusion, it is divided into four main
chapters. In these chapters the author first defines and discusses key
concepts in morphology: the morpheme, grammatical categories, markedness, and
naturalness. Next various descriptions of the inflectional patterns of nouns
in Icelandic are discussed and a new categorization proposed. Also,
the results of a study on the frequency and size of noun classes in modern
Icelandic are discussed, and finally, there is a discussion of markedness.
This work is the first modern analysis of noun morphology in Icelandic and
required reading for anyone interested in the inflection of nouns in modern
Volume VI:
Hjartardottir, Thora Bjork: Filling the gaps: On Null-Subjects and Null-
Objects in Older Icelandic, 130 pp. Written in Icelandic. Price: USD 17.
This book presents the results of a study on the occurrance of null-subjects
and null-objects in 26 Icelandic narrative texts written in the period from
1250 to 1900. The null-subject / null-object examples found are analyzed and
the author discusses their use and syntactic distribution. In this context,
the author discusses Chomsky's (1982a, 1982b), Rizzi's (1982), and Huang's
(1984) analyses of null categories and concludes that they are all unable to
account satisfactorily for the data. The author then proposes her own
functional analysis of the data. The most important result of the study is
that up to the eigtheenth century null-subjects and null-objects were much
more common in Icelandic than they are now, a consequence of the fact, the
author argues, that they were then governed by a different rule.
Volume VII:
Sigurdsson, Halldor A$rmann: On Narrative Inversion and Basic Word Order i
Old Icelandic with some Comparison to Modern Icelandic, 179 pp. Written in
Icelandic. Price: USD 18.
This book discusses narrative inversion and basic word order in Old Icelandic.
In addition to an introduction and a conclusion, the book is divided into five
main chapters. The first chapter is a review of the literature on narrative
inversion in the old language; furthermore the relationship between narrative
inversion and basic word order is discussed. In the second and third chapters
the author discusses previous studies on the frequency and distribution of
narrative inversion in Old Icelandic and reports the results of an independent
study of 7 Old Icelandic narrative texts. The fourth chapter discusses the
most common discourse conditions under which narrative inversion occurs, and
the possible function of this type of inversion in Old Icelandic. Finally,
the fifth chapter presents a comparison between narrative inversion in Old and
modern Icelandic.
Volume VIII:
Gunnlaugsson, Gudvardur Mar: On the delabialization of /y, y', ey/ in
Icelandic, 137 pp. Written in Icelandic. Price: USD 17.
This book discusses the merger of /y, y', ey/, on the one hand, and /i, i', ei/,
on the other hand, in Old Icelandic. The author discusses the theories and
ideas of previous researchers working on this subject, but the main part of
the book reports the results of a study on evidence for this sound change in
Old Icelandic letters (Islenskt fornbrefasafn). In his study the author went
through all letters written in the period of 1450 - 1570, looking for evidence
for the delabialization of /y, y', ey/, and he also checked whether the
publishers of manuscripts written during the 15th and 16th century had noticed
evidence for these vowel mergers. This book also discusses younger sources
which claim that a labial pronounciation of /y, y', ey/ existed in some places
up to the 19th century. The author reaches the conclusion that the merger
started in front of palatal sounds in Northwestern Iceland during the 14th
century but gained ground slowly. Thus, the delabialization of /y, y', ey/
had not become common until around the last decades of the 16th century.
The sources also indicate that traces of the labial pronounciation may have
survived in isolated rural parts of the Western fjords and in the eastern part
of the country until the 17th and 19th centuries, respectively.
Volume IX:
Indridason, Thorsteinn G.: On Rule Productivity in the Lexicon and the Syntax:
The Lexical Phonology of Icelandic, 179 pp. Written in Icelandic. Price:
USD 18.
This book discusses the interrelationship between phonology, on the one hand,
and morphology and syntax, on the other, as it is presented within the theory
of lexical phonology. Within this theoretical framework, the grammar of all
languages is divided into lexicon and syntax. The lexicon is modular in
character and within each module phonological and morphological rules interact
in specific ways according to principles. In this book, the author first
discusses this theory and compares it to Older theories in phonology. Then he
tests the theory of lexical phonology on Icelandic. He studies, for example,
the phonological relationship between suffixes and word roots, inflexional
endings and stems, nouns and the definite article, as well as between the first
and last parts of a compound. Based on this research, the author proposes a
modular lexicon for Icelandic. Moreover, the author presents a very detailed
study on the productivity of phonological rules in Icelandic and discusses the
interdependencies between phonology and syntax.
Gislason, Jon and Sigridur D. Thorvaldsdottir: Landsteinar: Textbook in
Icelandic for foreigners, 74 pp. Written in Icelandic. Price: USD 14.
This is a textbook in Icelandic, specifically intended for foreigners who
study Icelandic at the University of Iceland. In particular, the book is
aimed at those students who have studied Icelandic for at least one term and
have acquired some knowledge of Icelandic. The book contains recent texts of
various types, such as newspaper articles, poems, and parts of novels, but
there are also some Older texts, for example, texts written in Old Icelandic,
folklore narratives, etc., as well as texts that the authors' composed
themselves. Generally speaking, the book contains texts which should enhance
the students' knowledge of Iceland and Icelandic culture. The book is divided
into six chapters, each of which bears the name of a district in Iceland, and
contain texts that relate in some way to that part of the country. In
addition to the texts, the book contains a rather detailed discussion of
Icelandic word formation.
All these books can be ordered through e-mail og surface mail at:
Institute of Linguistics
 University of Iceland
 Arnagardi v/Sudurgotu
 101 Reykjavik
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