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5906Re: Hrafnkell 504-524/Alan's Translation

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  • llama_nom
    Feb 1, 2006

      > Ríðr hann þá austr Lyngdalsheiði  [because this is dative, does it thus have the sense of across rather than to?]

      > He rides then east across Lyngdalsheið

      I would take it as accusative.  Gwyn  Jones does have "to", but I think you're right about it being "across" or "over" the heath.  Or possibly, together with svá, "by way of".  Some similar examples offered by Álvarez (Antiguo Islandés), from Gylfaginning and Völuspá respectively:

      er þeir ríða Bifröst "when they ride across Bifröst"

      troða halir helveg "men [will] tread the road to hell"

      He groups these in a category "with certain verbs that are sometimes intransitive", along with grétu dauða hans "wept (i.e. mourned) his death".  Or see Gordon 156 "accus. ... to express extent of time or space: alla nótt 'all night'", or direction: hamhleypa fór annan veg "the skin-changer went off in another direction."  And Stefán Einarsson "Icelandic", Syntax I 2.2.3 :

      þeir fóru þessa leið, veginn til þingvalla, Hellisheiði "they went this way (took this road), the way to Þ., over H."

      > En Sámr var á þingi ok gekk mjök uppstertr.

      > But Sám was (still) at (the) Thing and went (about) very elated.

      Not just "elated" but full of himself, strutting and swaggering.  Zoega "strutting, ganga u. to walk haughtily"; Fritzner "rank (proud), kneisende (strutting)".  Jones "strutting about with his tail up".  This is the literal meaning, cf. stertr "short tail, dock".  The Old English cognate steort survives in the name of the bird redstart.  Other obsolete meanings for English start "spur, projection, outgrown (of stag´s horn); stem; handle (plough-start, also called the plough-tail)".  English upstart, what Groucho Marx is called in Duck Soup, is from the verb to start up in the old sense of "jump up, spring up", according to the OED.  Seems a good coincidence, although stranger things have happened in etymology.  Then again the OED isn't infallible.  Even if it is pure coincidence though, could there still be some ancient connection between this verb (related to German stürzen) and the word for tail?

      > Þakkar hann þeim broeðrum sína liðveizlu, en Þorgeirr spurði [surely this pronoun must refer to Sám, but the construction appears odd to me]

      > He gives thanks to those brother for (coming to) his aid,

      Aha, I think I might have an answer to this one!  Contrary to certain textbooks, there are occasions where the reflexive can refer to something other than the subject, see Eiríkur Rögnvaldsson `Old Icelandic: A Non-Configurational Language?' NOWELE 26:3-29 [ http://www.hi.is/%7Eeirikur/ ], section 3.5.  In examples such as this, I reckon the reason is that the noun modified by the reflexive possessive expresses some sort of action, thus "thanked them for their help" is equivalent to "thanked them for helping" or "thanked them for the fact that they helped", in which case the object of the main clause would become the subject of a subordinate clause and so entitled to that reflexive.  A couple more examples:

      ok mun enn sem fyrr eptir framaverk, at þér munuð laun hyggja vinum yðrum fyrir sitt starf `and, as always after glorious accomplishments, I expect you'll think to reward your friends for their work.' (Ásmundar saga kappabana 3).

      enn hvat vilir þér nú bióða Haraldi kononge firir sitt starf? `but what will you offer King Harald for his trouble' (Fagrskinna, The Battle of Stamford Bridge).


      > Þorgeirr mælti: 'Þykkisk þú nú nökkuru nær en áðr?'

      > Thorgeir spoke: ´Do you think yourself now in any way closer than before?´

      Jones: "any better off now than before" (a bit of understatement, I reckon!).


      > er lengi mun uppi vera

      "which will be long remembered"


      ok er þetta við mikla

      > will be up (last) a long time, this his disgrace, and this is equal to much
      > 520 fémuni.'
      > valuables.´

      i.e. it's worth a lot to us; we'll get a lot out of this.

      > Þat skal vera fjórtán nóttum [does this mean after 14 nights or within fourteen nights?]

      > That shall (must) be (within) fourteen nights
      > eptir vápnatak."
      > after Weapon-taking.´

      I would think "14 nights after", and that's what Jones has.  This would tie in with 545-546 ok var þetta þann morgin at féránsdóm átti at heyja, Jones: "and it was the very morning they had to hold the court of excecution".

      > En þat heitir vápnatak er alþýða ríðr af þingi.

      > But that is called Weapon-taking when all-people ride from (the) Thing.

      I don't think en can really be translated "but" here, since the English word implies a contradiction.  In other contexts you can often translate it "and" or "while" or "on the other hand", but none of those work here either.  Jones has no conjunction at all, which is probably the most natural way of doing it.  All it's really doing is marking the sentence off as a parenthetical detail, or maybe just used because there's been  a change of subject since the previous sentence.

      Llama Nom

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