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NORN KJOKL • View topic - 3.2. An unintelligible troll saying ("Sustri")

NORN KJOKL

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 13, 2011 4:15 pm 
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Norn:

Di rua vatta mega sustri

http://nornlanguage.x10.mx/index.php?shettxt/32sustri


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 03, 2012 2:41 pm 
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Could "Sustri" be something like "south" or "southern" e.g. akin to Norðri, Suðri, Austri and Vestri?

Quick quote from Wikipedia : "In Norse mythology, Norðri, Suðri, Austri and Vestri ("Northern, Southern, Eastern and Western") are four dwarves in the Prose Edda book Gylfaginning who each support one of the four cardinal points. Together, they uphold the heavenly dome, created from the skull of the jötunn Ymir. They probably represent the four winds,[1] corresponding to the four stags of the cosmic tree Yggdrasill.[2]

1 Jacob Grim & James Steven Stallybrass, Teutonic Mythology, 2004, vol. 2, p. 631.
2 Finnur Magnússon, Eddalæren og dens oprindelse, 1824, p. 144."

I'm not saying this in any way explains the whole phrase (!), just wondering if Sustri might be a sort of hybrid form or dialectal variation e.g. the Su- from e.g. Suðri, and the -stri from e.g. Austri or Vestri rather than the recorded Old Norse -ðri

Any thoughts?

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Hang he dare wi’ his necked limb.
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 03, 2012 8:53 pm 
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I find it highly unlikely, to be fair. These dwarfs are hardly known from other sources than the Prose Edda and by the time when Jakob Jakobsen wrote down this phrase the Nordic heathen myths were long forgotten in Shetland, as well as in other parts of the Nordic world, except may be Iceland. Nowhere in Scandinavia do we have a contamination of su-ðr and au/ve-str -> *sustr.

But in general there's not that many Old Norse words that end in -str, f.ex. austr2 'pumping water' - Norn ouster 'bailing water out of a boat', and a few others. But we won't know the answer until the whole phrase is interpreted.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 06, 2012 1:35 pm 
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Hi Hnolt,

Just to clarify, I didn't mean to suggest "Sustri" as indicating one of the mythic dwarfs-of-the-directions, just wondering if it could mean "south" or "southerly" in a purely directional (not mythological) sense.

It is quite likely that the mythic dwarves are given their names simply to indicate their association with directions, not as personal names, so I probably confused matters by seeming to bring in the Eddas here, I only meant to cite this as a directional term.

I agree with you (not that I'm any expert) that the -str ending is unusual, but Austri and Vestri would seem to be examples, and I can just about imagine how a hypothetical *Suðstri could be enough of a mouthful to change to Sustri rather than Suðri.

As you say though, without deciphering the rest of the saying, it's all just speculative food for thought

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Nine days he hang pa de rütless tree,
For ill wis da folk in’ güd wis he,
A bluidy maet wis in his side,
Made wi’ a lance,‘at wid na hide.
Nine lang nichts i’ da nippin’ rime,
Hang he dare wi’ his necked limb.
Some dey leuch, bitt ithers gret.”


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 09, 2012 8:30 pm 
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According to Jakobsen, Vatta might be a troll name.

Mega - ON mikit 'much'?

If we could interpret di rua as ON þau róa 'they are rowing' and connect it to (s)ustri < ON austri dat. of 'pumping water', that could make some sense: *Þau róa Vatta mikit austri < Þau Vatta róa [með] miklu austri 'They and Vatta are rowing [with] bailing much water out'. Sustri might represent a corrupted form of (o)ustri. This is just a hypothesis though.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 13, 2012 7:23 pm 
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Di rua vatta mega sustri
WIthout knowing the context it's hard to know what was originally meant by the phrase, but a close match can be found in Norwegian: "Dig rø våtta meg søster", which would literally be "You rest wet my sister", but in proper English it would be "Rest my sister for you are wet" more or less telling the wet sister to rest herself after whatever ordeal got her wet in the first place. Seeing as Shetland is a wet, windy place, it would seem that this phrase might make a proper greeting to a visiter to walked through the rain to visit your croft. "Rest wet sister" or "Rest wet brother" would be both respectful and hospitable. Also, it is common in Scandinavian folktales for trolls to call each other 'brother' or 'sister'.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 31, 2012 5:22 pm 
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Wow. Whatever it means, your thoughts make extremely interesting reading.... :)

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 13, 2015 2:21 pm 
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Couldn't "vatta" be "vatn" with final /n/ 'absorbed'by following /m/ in "mega" as it was in some Orkney words (imalded < innmölda)? Then it would mean "they are rowing and bailing out much water"?


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 15, 2015 10:26 pm 
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Kråka, I thought of this myself too, but.. we'll never know the real meaning of separate words unless we restore the whole saying, i.e. the context. After we've found out what the overall meaning is, we can assert with certainty what meaning each particular word has. In other words, we'll know 'vatta' is water and 'mega' is connected to 'imalded' after we've found the translation for the rest of the words in the sentence, granted their sum makes to us some sense. So keep on searching :)


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