The question of the date of Beowulf, considered to be the oldest surviving example of a heroic epic written in Old English, remains unresolved after almost two centuries of debate. Scholars have applied various methods of analysis to the only extant text, involving different disciplines, such as historiography, archaeology, linguistics, metrical and stylistic studies, etc.. The linguistic method has mainly been concerned with the internal evidence of the text, seeking elements which can fit the extremely hypothetical time scale of Anglo-Saxon language history. But our knowledge of Old English as a whole is based on the extant manuscripts written in this language and the great majority of them, including the Beowulf manuscript, date from the later Anglo-Saxon period (X-XI century). Thus, in applying this method of analysis, there is a risk of coming full circle. This short paper, by means of diachronic linguistics, aims to demonstrate how the study of personal names can help us out of the circle. If, as an example, we take from Beowulf the name of the character Onela and compare it with its Scandinavian cognate Áli, it is at least possible to establish an ante quem date for the coming to England of a great deal of the legendary material which has given form to the Beowulf poem.

Il caso Onela/Áli e la questione della datazione del Beowulf, 2006.

Il caso Onela/Áli e la questione della datazione del Beowulf

Panieri, Luca
2006

Abstract

The question of the date of Beowulf, considered to be the oldest surviving example of a heroic epic written in Old English, remains unresolved after almost two centuries of debate. Scholars have applied various methods of analysis to the only extant text, involving different disciplines, such as historiography, archaeology, linguistics, metrical and stylistic studies, etc.. The linguistic method has mainly been concerned with the internal evidence of the text, seeking elements which can fit the extremely hypothetical time scale of Anglo-Saxon language history. But our knowledge of Old English as a whole is based on the extant manuscripts written in this language and the great majority of them, including the Beowulf manuscript, date from the later Anglo-Saxon period (X-XI century). Thus, in applying this method of analysis, there is a risk of coming full circle. This short paper, by means of diachronic linguistics, aims to demonstrate how the study of personal names can help us out of the circle. If, as an example, we take from Beowulf the name of the character Onela and compare it with its Scandinavian cognate Áli, it is at least possible to establish an ante quem date for the coming to England of a great deal of the legendary material which has given form to the Beowulf poem.
Italiano
Congresso Internazionale di Scienze Onomastiche
22.
Pisa
2005
internazionale
su invito
Atti del 22. Congresso internazionale di scienze onomastiche : Pisa, 28 agosto-4 settembre 2005
Arcamone, Maria Giovanna; Bremer, Donatella; De Camilli, Davide; Porcelli, Bruno
559
565
7
978-88-467-2847-0
Italy
Pisa
comitato scientifico
A stampa
Settore L-FIL-LET/15 - Filologia Germanica
1
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/10808/2730
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