‘Old English lida and the Sailors of the North Sea’

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The essay examines the words for ‘sailor’ in the Germanic languages, with particular regard to those going under the sobriquet of North Sea Germanic languages. The research begins with the lida of Maxims I and his safe return home. As with OE lida and līðend, nomina agentis from verbs of motion turn out to be among the most frequent formations for ‘sailor’, both in OE and many other Germanic languages. The research does not yield a common stock of Germanic words, but for the cognates of OE scipmann and sǣmann, that, however, are not recorded in all the Germanic languages. As to the līðend-compounds, their occurrence in more than one language might be due to the influence of OE models on both OS and OHG poetry. On the other hand, it emerges that the same (morphologic and semantic) patterns are constantly drawn upon. This produces a number of the words for ‘sailor’, revealing a process of invention of ever new compounds that apparently moves along traditional lines.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-107
Number of pages29
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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