Use of kennings

Noting that the Use of kennings component in Germanic compound words can take the form of a genitive or a bare root, he points to behavioural similarities between genitive determinants Use of kennings the modifying element in regular Old Norse compound words, such as the fact that neither can be modified by a free-standing declined adjective.

For example, Old Norse valr means " falcon ", but Old Norse mythology mentions a horse named Valr, and thus in Old Norse poetry valr is sometimes used to mean "horse".

Sometimes a name given to one well-known member of a species, is used to mean any member of that species. Most refer to the same small set of topics, and do so using a relatively small set of Use of kennings metaphors.

While some Old Norse kennings are relatively transparent, many depend on a knowledge of specific myths or legends.

The determinant may be a noun used uninflected as the first element in a compound word, with the base-word constituting the second element of the compound word. A modern English example is " painted Jezebel " as a disapproving expression for a woman too fond of using cosmetics.

Word order and comprehension[ edit ] Word order in Old Norse was generally much freer than in Modern English because Old Norse and Old English are synthetic languageswhere added prefixes and suffixes to the root word the core noun, verb, adjective or adverb carry grammatical meanings, whereas Middle English and Modern English use word order to carry grammatical information, so-called analytic languages.

Sometimes there is a kind of redundancy whereby the referent of the whole kenning, or a kenning for it, is embedded: The unstated noun which the kenning refers to is called its referent, in this case: In Old Norse poetry, either component of a kenning base-word, determinant or both could consist of an ordinary noun or a heiti "poetic synonym".

Thus a leader or important man will be characterised as generous, according to one common convention, and called an "enemy of gold", "attacker of treasure", "destroyer of arm-rings", etc.

If the man wearing a gold ring is fighting a battle on land the mention of the sea will have no relevance to his situation at all and does not contribute to the picture of the battle being described" Faulkespp.

Snorri draws the line at mixed metaphor, which he terms nykrat "made monstrous" Snorri Sturluson: Still others name mythical entities according to certain conventions without reference to a specific story: Poets in medieval Iceland even treated Christian themes using the traditional repertoire of kennings complete with allusions to heathen myths and aristocratic epithets for saints: Modern Scots retains with slight differences between dialects tae ken "to know", kent "knew" or "known", Afrikaans ken "be acquainted with" and " to know" and kennis "knowledge".

Examples of Kenning

Descriptive epithets are a common literary device in many parts of the world, whereas kennings in this restricted sense are a distinctive feature of Old Norse and, to a lesser extent, Old English poetry.

Other Use of kennings can intervene between a base-word and its genitive determinant, and occasionally between the elements of a compound word tmesis. Another factor aiding comprehension is that Old Norse kennings tend to be highly conventional. Even if it can be found in the works of ancient poets, we no longer tolerate it.

Kennings, and even whole clauses, can be interwoven. This freedom is exploited to the full in skaldic verse and taken to extremes far beyond what would be natural in prose.

The effect here seems to depend on an interplay of more or less naturalistic imagery and jarring artifice. Semantics[ edit ] Kennings could be developed into extended, and sometimes vivid, metaphors: A modern example of this is an ad hoc usage by a helicopter ambulance pilot: Ambiguity is usually less than it would be if an English text were subjected to the same contortions, thanks to the more elaborate morphology of Old Norse.

Nevertheless, there are many instances of ambiguity in the corpus, some of which may be intentional, [8] and some evidence that, rather than merely accepting it from expediency, skalds favoured contorted word order for its own sake.

If the figure comprises more than three elements, it is said to be rekit "extended". Etymology[ edit ] The word was adopted into English in the nineteenth century [1] from medieval Icelandic treatises on poetics, in particular the Prose Edda of Snorri Sturlusonand derives ultimately from the Old Norse verb kenna "know, recognise; perceive, feel; show; teach", etc.

Complex kennings[ edit ] The skalds also employed complex kennings in which the determinant, or sometimes the base-word, is itself made up of a further kenning: Third Grammatical Treatise Alternatively the determinant may be a noun in the genitive case placed before or after the base-word, either directly or separated from the base-word by intervening words.A kenning (Old Norse kenning [cʰɛnːiŋɡ], Modern Icelandic [cʰɛnːiŋk]) is a circumlocution, an ambiguous or roundabout figure of speech, used instead of an ordinary noun in Old Norse, Old English, and later Icelandic poetry.

This list is not intended to be comprehensive. Kennings for a particular character are listed in that character's article.

Use of Kennings

The American Heritage Dictionary defines a kenning as "a figurative, usu[ally] compound expression used in place of a name or noun, esp[ecially] in Old English and Old Norse poetry." In a recent.

A kenning (Old Norse pronunciation: [cʰɛnːɪŋg], Modern Icelandic pronunciation: [cʰɛnːiŋk]) is a type of circumlocution, in the form of a compound that employs figurative language in place of a more concrete single-word ultimedescente.comgs are strongly associated with Old Norse and later Icelandic and Old English poetry.

They usually consist of two words. THE USE OF KENNINGS IN ANGLO-SAXON LITERATURE The kenning was an interesting literary technique used by ancient Anglo-Saxon poets for many centuries.

A kenning is a figurative expression that replaces a name or a noun. Often it is a compound of two words and the words are hyphenated. Kennings are usually associated with Old Norse, Icelandic, and Anglo Saxon poetry.

The Beowulf Poet’s Effective Use of Kennings As I sit here reading Seamus Heaney’s modern translation of “Beowulf”, I realize what the poet is .

Use of kennings
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