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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Vol. II. Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 2: from c. 1035 to c. 1300 6. Technical Terms 1. Old Norse-Icelandic Technical Terms

1. Old Norse-Icelandic Technical Terms

Kari Ellen Gade 2009, ‘Old Norse-Icelandic Technical Terms’ in Kari Ellen Gade (ed.), Poetry from the Kings’ Sagas 2: From c. 1035 to c. 1300. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 2. Turnhout: Brepols [check printed volume for citation].

aðalhending, combination of two syllables participating in full internal rhyme (identical vowels and postvocalic environment) within a skaldic poetic l. Normally aðalhending occurs in even ll. (so ll. 2, 4, 6 and 8) of a dróttkvætt or hrynhent st.
áttmælt, ‘eight-times spoken’, a dróttkvætt st. in which each of the eight ll. contains a separate cl.
bálkr, ‘section’, a longer poem containing narrative sections
bragarmál, poetic diction characterised by cliticisation, i.e. the suffixation of unstressed particles and pronouns, usually with loss of vowel
drápa, long encomiastic skaldic poem with stef
dróttkvætt, ‘court poetry’, the most common metre used in skaldic poetry, comprising sts of eight hexasyllabic ll., regular alliteration and hendingar (skothending in odd ll. and aðalhending in even ones)
erfidrápa, ‘memorial poem’, encomium commemorating a deceased person
flokkr, long skaldic poem without stef
fornyrðislag ‘old story metre’, ON development of the common Gmc alliterative long-l.
Haðarlag, ‘Hǫðr’s metre’, regularised málaháttr ll. with internal rhyme (skothending in odd ll. and aðalhending in even ones)
hagmælt, ‘skillfully spoken’, fornyrðislag with internal rhyme (skothending in odd ll. and aðalhending in even ones)
hálfhnept, ‘half-curtailed’, a skaldic metre in which the odd and even ll. are made up of five to seven syllables (rarely four). Each l. ends in a heavy monosyllable preceded by another heavy monosyllable or two resolved short syllables. The odd ll. have two alliterative staves and the even ll. one stave, which falls on the first lift. The metre is characterised by internal rhymes following the patters of dróttkvætt (skothending in odd ll. and aðalhending in even ones). The second hending always falls on the last syllable of the l. No traditional metrical patterns can account adequately for the rhythm of hálfhnept.
háttlausa, ‘lack of form’, a form of dróttkvætt lacking internal rhyme
háttr, metre, verse-form (lit. ‘mode, manner’)
heiti, poetic synonym, an alternative and often descriptive term or name for a frequently-occurring object or person mentioned in skaldic poetry, e.g. skævaðr ‘high-strider’ for ‘horse’, Yggr, an alternative name for the god Óðinn.
helmingr (pl. helmingar), a half-st. of normally four ll.
hending (pl. hendingar), lit. ‘catching’, a syllable participating, with one other, in full internal rhyme (aðalhending) or partial rhyme (skothending) within a verse of a skaldic poem
hrynhent, ‘flowing rhymed’, a skaldic metre, an expanded version of dróttkvætt in which each l. contains eight syllables
hǫfuðstafr, ‘head (main) stave’, chief alliterating stave fixed in initial position of even ll. of regular dróttkvætt and hrynhent sts
kenning, a nominal periphrasis, consisting of a base-word and one or more determinants
klofastef, ‘split refrain’, a refrain (stef) in a skaldic encomium that has been split into individual ll. that appear separately in different sts, usually as the first or the last l. of a st.
kviðlingr, a snippet of poetry, usually no more than two ll.
kviðuháttr, a skaldic metre (a variant of fornyrðislag) in which the odd ll. consist of three syllables and the even ll. of four syllables
lausavísa (pl. lausavísur), ‘loose stanza’, a separate st. or part thereof which does not belong to a long poem
ljóðaháttr, ‘song metre’, a six-l. metre in which ll. 1-2 and 4-5 alliterate, while ll. 3 and 6 alliterate internally
málaháttr, ‘speech metre’, an extended form of fornyrðislag with five metrical positions rather than four
nýgjǫrving, ‘new creation’, a term applied to extending the meaning of words, usually through the use of metaphor in extended kennings
ofljóst, ‘too transparent, excessively clear’, play on words, punning, using homonyms
ókent nafn, noun without periphrasis
rekit, ‘driven’, a kenning of the same type as tvíkent, but extended more than once by the use of kennings as determinants
runhent, skaldic metres employing end rhyme
skothending, combination of two syllables with different vowels and similar postvocalic environments participating in a form of internal rhyme within a skaldic l. Normally skothending occurs in odd ll. (so ll. 1, 3, 5, and 7) of a dróttkvætt or hrynhent st.
slœmr, the concluding section of a poem
stef, refrain of a skaldic drápa
stefjabálkr, middle section of a drápa containing one or more refrains (stef)
stefjamél, each of the sets of sts ending with a refrain, within a stefjabálkr
tvíkent, ‘doubly modified’, an extended kenning in which the determinant is itself a kenning
tøglag, ‘journey metre’, a variant of fornyrðislag in which the even ll. have aðalhending and odd may have skothending
upphaf, ‘beginning’, the opening section of a skaldic poem, the section before the beginning of the stefjabálkr
vísa (pl. vísur), a skaldic st., in pl. often a term used of a long poem lacking refrain (e.g. Sigvatr’s Bersǫglisvísur)
þáttr, ‘strand’, a smaller, independent narrative usually embedded in or added to a saga
þula (pl. þulur), a list of poetic synonyms (heiti) in metrical form



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