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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Eil Þdr 8III l. 2

hal — of the sloping


3. hallr (adj.): tilting, awry < halland (noun m.): sloping land



[1-2] harðvaxnar herðar hallands ‘the hard-grown shoulders of the sloping-land [MOUNTAIN > ROCKS]’: This rock-kenning follows the pattern ‘bones of the earth’, i.e. the ‘shoulders’ are shoulder bones. There are two possible interpretations of halland: (a) as a cpd consisting of the adj. hallr ‘sloping’ and land ‘land’ or (b) as a cpd consisting of hallr ‘stone’ and land ‘land’. Both interpretations yield a kenning for ‘mountain’. Since halland is the determinant in a kenning for ‘stone, rocks’, it is preferable to choose option (a) i.e. halland ‘sloping-land’. The interpretation as ‘stone-land’ would duplicate the referent ‘stone’ in the kenning (‘the hard shoulders of the stone-land [MOUNTAIN > ROCKS]’) which ought to be avoided according to the rules of kenning formation (cf. hallvǫllr st. 15/2 and Note there).



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