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Revitalizing Endangered Languages

Edited by Justyna Olko & Julia Sallabank

Revitalizing Endangered Languages "This guidebook provides ideas and strategies, as well as some background, to help with the effective revitalization of endangered languages. It covers a broad scope of themes including effective planning, benefits, wellbeing, economic aspects, attitudes and ideologies."

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Academic Paper

Title: The Care for the Mother Tongue in Mediaeval Iceland and Beyond
Paper URL:
Author: Matteo Tarsi
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Institution: University of Iceland
Linguistic Field: Historical Linguistics; Ling & Literature; Sociolinguistics; Translation
Subject Language: Icelandic
Abstract: In a Festschrift article from 1998, Sverrir Tómasson deals with the care for the Icelandic language (Icel. málvöndun) in the Middle Ages. In his short survey, Sverrir pinpoints some eminent examples of what he considers to be demonstrations of the phenomenon in the Middle Ages. His analysis focuses on few works, which nevertheless are illustrative for the Icelandic literary history lato sensu, the Icelandic Homily Book, the First and Third Grammatical Treatises, the Old Norse translation of Honorius Augustodunensis’ Elucidarius, Lárentíus saga byskups. The main aim of this article is to widen the corpus of examples given by Sverrir and to subsequently try to link this phenomenon to mainland Europe’s literary tradition in the Middle Ages. In order to do so, some parallels will be offered from other, perhaps more “central”, European literatures, i.e. English, German, Danish and Romance (Italy). It will be argued that the care for the mother tongue in the Middle Ages, as Sverrir describes it for what concerns Iceland, was a quite widespread phenomenon, as it was intimately connected with the flourishing of literature in the vernacular languages. The argumentations will first focus on Iceland (§ 2), and will then sail across the Ocean towards Europe (§ 3), where it will first touch upon the Germanic literary tradition (§ 3.1) and then the Romance (§ 3.2), where the written production in Italy will be taken as an illustrative example. Finally, the conclusions will be presented in a separate paragraph (§ 4).
Type: Individual Paper
Status: Completed
Venue: Þjóðarspegillinn XVII, University of Iceland, October 28th 2016
Publication Info: Þjóðarspegillinn XVII, pp. 1-12
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