General talk on Orkney & Shetland Norn
Sat Jan 05, 2013 2:59 am
I am in the process of writing a research paper on historical English and Scots terms cognate with German Österreich. One of the words I examine is the Scots word for "Austria", Austrick which I have been told by a staff member of the Scots Language Centre has a predecessor(s) in the 17th and 18th century Scots words Austrik (and a palatalized variant Austrich). The most parsimonious explanation for the origin of Austrick (and its older form Austrik) is that this word is a composite of the Latin/English word Austria and the German word Österreich whereby the second element in Österreich, -reich was rightly recognized as cognate with the second element in Scots kinrick (< OE cynerīce), "kingdom".
Another, admittedly less likely, possibility is that Austrik was borrowed from some pre-modern North Germanic language, either Old Norse (Austrríki) or one of its descendants, either an insular or continental Scandinavian language. The geographical proximity of historical Scots to Norn makes it tempting to consider this a potential loanword from Norn. But after having reviewed the phonology of Orkney and Shetland Norn provided on your homepage, I can see that ON "au" can take several routes in both Orkney and Shetland Norn. Based on your understanding of Norn phonology, especially that of Norn proper, prior to its death as a distinct language, can Scots Austrik conceivably be derived from Norn? I see that in Orkney Norn ON words with similar vowel-consonant combinations to that of ON aust, "east" can have the original "au" pretty faithfully preserved (e.g. owse < ausa, and nust/nɔust < naust).
On a distinct but closely related note what would the Nynorn word(s) be for "Austria" in both the Orkney and Shetland forms?
I look forward to your response.
Sun Jan 06, 2013 1:41 am
Hello Eðelmund, good to hear from you!
I can't find any real evidence for the second hypothesis, i.e. the Norn/Nordic origin of the given word, if it's true that it didn't appear in Scotland until the 17/18th century. By that time Old Norse had long been dead, Norn of Orkney and Shetland could hardly be a source of borrowings into Scots, let alone names of faraway countries (as it was nonliterate), and in Danish (also the official language of Norway at that time) this name must have been spelled close to its today's variant Østrig. So I would rather support the West Germanic origin of the given word, possibly though the mediation of Latin.
For Nynorn (both Shetland and Orkney) I would suggest Østriki (Nordic-styled) or even Østrik (closer to Scots).
Thu Jan 10, 2013 7:59 pm
Thank you Eðelmund, I'm surprised to know that our project has been an encouragement to you. In our turn, we mention the Anglo-Saxon Wikipedia as one of the encouraging examples to us (I don't know whether it's the same thing as Anglish/Inglish or not):http://nornlanguage.x10.mx/index.php?nynorn_phil
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