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Olga Timofeeva

Abstract

The Greeks were one of those outgroups to whom the Anglo-Saxons had reasons to look up to, because of the antiquity of their culture and the sanctity of their language, along those of the Hebrews and the Romans. Yet as a language Greek was practically unknown for most of the Anglo-Saxon period and contact with its native speakers and country extremely limited. Nevertheless, references to the Greeks and their language are not uncommon in the Anglo-Saxon sources (both Latin and vernacular), as a little less than 200 occurrences in the Dictionary of Old English (s.v. grecisc) testify.

This paper uses these data, supplementing them with searches in the Dictionary of Old English Web Corpus, Brepolis Library of Latin Texts - Series A, monumenta.ch and Medieval Latin from Anglo-Saxon Sources, and analyses lexical and syntactic strategies of the Greek outgroup construction in Anglo-Saxon texts. It looks at lexemes denoting ‘Greek’ and their derivatives in Anglo-Latin and Old English, examines their collocates and gleans information on attitudes towards Greek and the Greeks, and on membership claims indexed by Latin-Greek or English-Greek code-switching, by at the same time trying to establish parallels and influences between the two high registers of the Anglo-Saxon period.

Open access

Dominika Ruszkiewicz

Abstract

The story of Troilus and Criseyde - whether in Chaucer’s or Henryson’s renditions - is not a story about a new beginning, but a story about an end: the end of love, of hope, and finally - the end of life: Troilus’s life in Chaucer’s poem and Cresseid’s life in Henryson’s. The Scottish version of the story, however, not only evokes the end of an individual life, but also the end of the world. The purpose of this paper is to situate Henryson’s poem in the context of apocalyptic fiction - fiction which is concerned with loss, decay and the finality of things. My contention that the poem belongs to the apocalyptic genre is based on a number of its features, such as the elegiac mood and imagery, the contrast between the past and the present, as well as the pattern of sin-redemption-preparation for death, which applies to Cresseid’s life, but also invites reflection on our own.

Open access

Krystyna Rybińska

Abstract

This article attempts to re-signify the already extensively discussed conception of the absurd attributed to the aesthetic phenomenon presented by the so-called theatre of the absurd by critically reconsidering its paradigmatic work Waiting for Godot in relation to philosophical hermeneutics (Heidegger, Gadamer, Ricoeur). The fact that Beckett’s artistic method invalidates the transparency of the mirror-like relation between reality and art is known, and yet the potential theoretical consequences of such a literary revolution do not seem to have been exhausted - particularly in respect to the category of the absurd. Hence, the presented inquiry aims to view the phenomenon quite against its common conceptualizations derived from existentialist philosophy in order to indicate a possible route of exploring it from a hermeneutic perspective and thereby challenging, to some extent, Simon Critchley’s (2004: 165) famous assertion that Beckett’s oeuvre seems “uniquely resistant to philosophical interpretation”.

Open access

Kevin Petit

Abstract

This article presents the results of a small-scale research conducted for a master’s thesis on the motivation to learn Irish on the part of university students and members of the Gaelic society An Cumann Gaelach. In the light of questionnaires’ results and interviews, the emphasis is placed on the links between motivation, identity, and potential key moments in learners’ lives. Using an AMTB-type questionnaire (n=45), the author puts to the test Dörnyei’s Motivational Self System theory (2005) in the context of the learning of Irish by looking at the correlation between the motivational intensity of 45 students and six variables (Ideal L2 Self, Ought to Self, Ideal L2 Community, Instrumentality, Parental encouragement, and Role of teachers). The notion of Ideal L2 Self, or the capacity to picture oneself speaking an L2 in the future, clearly appears to be strongly correlated with the respondents’ motivational intensity (r=.75 p<.01), in accordance with Dörnyei’s model. However results concerning extrinsic factors differ from previous research, putting forward distinctive features of the learning of minority languages. The second phase of the research looks at the language learning narratives of three An Cumann Gaelach’s members through the qualitative analysis of three interview transcripts. The results clearly show that time spent in Irish summer colleges are linguistic mudes (Pujolar and Puigdevall 2015), or key-moments, which triggered the interest in the language for the three students interviewed.

Open access

Marta Klonowska

Abstract

The majority of translations from Polish into Welsh published so far are the works of John Elwyn Jones (1921-2008), who learned Polish in a German prisoner-of-war camp during World War II. His translations include Storiâu Byr o’r Bwyleg, a collection of short stories by two of the classic authors of the Polish Positivist period, Bolesław Prus and Henryk Sienkiewicz. This paper analyses two stories from the collection, Ianco’r Cerddor “Janko Muzykant” and Y Wasgod “Kamizelka”, within a comparative functional model of translation criticism. The texts are analysed in the light of lexical-semantic, cultural and aesthetic codes. A great number of modifications to the source texts introduced in the Welsh translation places them on the border between free translations and adaptations. While some of the alterations are tokens of a specific translation strategy, others can be regarded as translation errors. Although the Welsh version retains the primary message of the original stories, much of their culture-specific dimension, historical context and artistic value is not conveyed in the translation.

Open access

Deborah Hayden

Open access

Paweł Wróbel

Abstract

This papers looks at the societal and cultural impact of the post-2004 Polish migration to Wales. The history of Polish migration to the UK is introduced together with the relevant statistics and their rationale behind choosing cosmopolitan Wales as their new country of residence. Even though the focus of the paper is rather on the UK as a whole, it is Wales that is central to the investigation. Wales was particularly neglected in the study of migration in the aftermath of the 2004 European Union (EU) enlargement and surprisingly little attention was given to it. Focusing on Polish diaspora is important as it is the most numerous external migration wave to Wales (ONS 2011). The case study of Aberystwyth is introduced as a good example of a semi-urban area to which Poles migrated after 2004. Moreover, the paper elaborates on the characteristics of the Polish newcomers by analysing their distinctive features, migration patterns as well as adaptation processes. Mutual relations between post-1945 and post-2004 immigration waves are investigated, together with Poles’ own image and perception. This paper gives a deeper understanding and provides an insight into the nature of the Polish migrants’ impact on the cultural and societal life of Wales.

Open access

Karolina Rosiak and Michael Hornsby

Abstract

For some years now, Welsh has been taught as a foreign language outside Wales, most especially in other Celtic countries, central Europe – and Poland. The first courses were established in the Catholic University of Lublin in the 1980s, and this provision has expanded over the years to include a Celtic language specialisation within the Faculty of English at Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań. Relying at first on teachers from Wales to provide instruction in Welsh, the Centre for Celtic Studies is increasingly producing new, competent speakers/users of Welsh among the Poles. An obvious question to be asked concerns motivational issues – why, on the eastern edges of the European Union, are there people willing to put the effort into learning a language from the far west of Europe, when they have, in some cases, little contact with regular users of Welsh? Through the use of focus group interviews, the present study attempts to discover what motivates Polish students to study Welsh in a context of limited direct contact with the speakers of the language and limited, indirect access to Welsh language and culture.

Open access

Natasha Sumner

Abstract

This article examines the character of Efnisien in the Second Branch of the medieval Welsh collection of stories known as the Mabinogi. From the mid-nineteenth century until the present day, Efnisien has proved a troubling character for critical analysis. A preliminary examination shows that typologically, due to his antagonistic irrationality, he shares traits with both trickster and psychopathic figures. After highlighting these aspects of his characterisation, the article moves on to an analysis of Efnisien’s function in the text. It is observed that Efnisien’s irrationality is incongruous with the contingency and social relevance of the other characters’ actions. He is shown to be the erratic, motivational force within catastrophe, and as such, to personify the inexplicable nature of such life-altering events and lend meaning to uncertain circumstances. From a Žižekian analytic perspective, he functions as a repository figure of ideological excess enabling the rationalization of incomprehensible trauma and securing the fictive narrative in which meaning is produced. Efnisien – trickster, psychopath, figure of excess – is thus shown to be vital to the production of meaning in the Second Branch of the Mabinogi.

Open access

Andrew Breeze

Abstract

A recent discussion of Arthur and Wales prompts a reply, using up-to-date research. It offers these surprising conclusions. Arthur really existed: he is not a myth or a legend, but historical. He will not have been Welsh, but a North Briton, and perhaps a Strathclyder. His battles, fought against other Britons and not the English, can all be located in southern Scotland and the Borders. Camlan, where Arthur fell, can be securely dated to 537 (after the Welsh annals) and situated north of Carlisle on Hadrian’s Wall (as proposed in 1935 by O. S. G. Crawford). The battle of Mount Badon in 493 will, however, have nothing to do with Arthur or North Britain. It was a British victory over the English, fought near Swindon and perhaps at the hillfort of Ringsbury overlooking Braydon Forest. Proponents of a Northern Arthur, like Rachel Bromwich (1915-2010) and Charles Thomas (1928-2016) can thus be vindicated against those rejecting a Northern Arthur, like Professor Kenneth Jackson (1909-91) of Edinburgh.