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Abstract

In a previous issue of this journal, Natasha Sumner of Harvard claimed of the Four Branches of the Mabinogi that the “exact date of composition for the text is not known”; she yet quoted Professor Catherine McKenna, also of Harvard, for the tales as certainly predating the Fall of Gwynedd in 1282. A response to Professor Sumner’s comment thus has three functions. It cites publications on the question from 1897 to 2018; reveals the scholarly disagreement therein; but concludes with evidence to put the tales in the 1120s or early 1130s.

Abstract

Of the four unrounded front vowels in Primitive Cornish, /i/, /ɛ/ and /a/ remained stable when long in closed syllables, but /ɪ/ had a tendency to fall together with /ɛ/. Jackson (1953) and Williams (1995) dated this change to the twelfth century, but the present research indicates that in most words, the change took place substantially later. An analysis of spellings and of rhymes show that not all words changed at the same time. Most stressed monosyllables in historical /-ɪz/ were pronounced [-ɪːz] in Middle Cornish and [-ɛːz] in Late Cornish. Those with historical /-ɪð/ and /-ɪθ/ were dimorphic in Middle Cornish (i.e. they were spelled with both <y~i> and <e>), showing the sound-change in progress during that time. The process of change from [ɪː] to [ɛː] was one of lexical diffusion. The implications for the revived language are briefly examined.

Abstract

This paper seeks to examine the contexts in which the Old Irish law tracts were transmitted in the period following the church reforms and Anglo-Norman invasion of the twelfth century, focusing primarily on the fourteenth and sixteenth centuries. Within these time frames two major themes will be appraised: 1) the English attitudes towards the practice of Irish law, and 2) the roles of the medieval lawyers and/or their patrons in political life. The central aim of this paper is twofold; firstly to shed light on the historical and social contexts in which the legal materials were later transmitted, and secondly, based on this, to posit some theories as to the possible incentives behind the transmission of the law tracts in these periods.

The Grammaticalization of Down

The present paper discusses the grammaticalization of down, focusing on when the process began and how it developed. The ultimate origin of down, both the adverb and the preposition, should be traced back to OE dūn ‘hill, mountain’, whose frequency of occurrence in Old English is comparable to those of beorg and munt. By means of grammaticalization the noun dūn came to function as an adverb meaning ‘in a descending direction; from above, or towards that which is below; from a higher to lower place or position’ already in Late Old English. The adverbial meaning of dūn is derived from OE of dūne ‘off the hill or height’ (glossing L de monte). The expression of dūne gave rise to the adverb adūne which was aphetized to dūn (doun, down) at the beginning of the twelfth century. By analysing the textual evidence, the present investigation is an attempt at verifying this date.

Individual views and shared landscapes of folklore in Reykholtsdal, Iceland

This paper examines the different views about the cultural landscape that local people and experts have, and explores the ways in which these two perceptions could be merged. The empirical data were collected during a Nordic PhD course in Iceland. It gives a glimpse to an invisible landscape of folklore in the surroundings of the Reykholt village. The village was founded in the twelfth century. Local folklore has evolved alongside with cultural landscape, and it has a strong impact on local landscape perception. Different types of cultural heritage features, like churches and industrial buildings, are connotations of social and cultural codes through which we participate in our environment. In Reykholtsdal intangible cultural heritage is attached to the natural features in the landscape. Those features are similar codes to local people as those we are used to see in the built environment. Both local people and experts have knowledge about the cultural landscape. Local people usually have practical knowledge which is based on perceptions and experiences. Experts have scientifically validated knowledge, which can be deepened with perceptions and experiences. Both the information is significant, when cultural landscape is evaluated based on landscape definition by the European Landscape Convention. We would need new practices for inventory of perceived landscape. They would not only help us to meet aims of landscape policies set in the European Landscape Convention (Council of Europe: 2000), but also to protect the intangible cultural heritage attached to landscape as defined by UNESCO (World Heritage Convention: 1972, Convention for the safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage: 2003). New inventory methods could also help us to find shared values through which we could evaluate and manage a landscape.

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