Article published in:Language Contact and Development around the North Sea
Edited by Merja Stenroos, Martti Mäkinen and Inge Særheim
[Current Issues in Linguistic Theory 321] 2012
► pp. 1–22
Celts in Scandinavian Scotland and Anglo-Saxon England
Place-names and language contact reconsidered
According to established models of language contact, communication between incoming settlers and indigenous populations leads to the survival of place-names, whose role as labels means that they can easily be transferred between groups of speakers without understanding of semantic content. The paucity of pre-Norse place-names in the Northern and Western Isles of Scotland, like the paucity of pre-Anglo-Saxon place-names in southern Britain, has therefore been taken to reflect a lack of continuity of settlement that is at odds with the archaeological and historical record. This chapter argues that, during the Anglo-Saxon and Viking Ages, place-names served functional purposes, where semantic content was important. This may account for the loss of place-names that were semantically opaque to incoming settlers.
Published online: 18 April 2012
Cited by 1 other publications
This list is based on CrossRef data as of 22 february 2021. Please note that it may not be complete. Sources presented here have been supplied by the respective publishers. Any errors therein should be reported to them.