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Um sögnina finnvitka í Flateyjarbók
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Languages, Department of Scandinavian Languages.
2013 (Icelandic)In: Gripla, ISSN 1018-5011, Vol. 24, 269-279 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The article discusses the compound verb finnvitka, ‘to bewitch like a Finn [or Sámi]’, that occurs once in Old Norse literature, in Flateyjarbók (1387–95). Farreaching conclusions have been drawn about Sámi witchcraft from this single and relatively late occurrence of the verb. Derived forms are found in more recent Icelandic texts, but in its oldest form the word seems to survive only in this one late-fourteenth-century instance. The author draws attention to the fact that the text in which the verb appears also exists in later versions, preserved in manuscripts from the seventeenth and the eigthteenth centuries, but there finnvitka is replaced by picka, ‘pick’. The author argues that the word-form picka is either the result of a misreading of finnvitka, where insular-v has been interpreted by a later scribe as a ‘p’, and a common form of ‘t’ has been interpreted as a ‘c’; or it is a misreading of the corresponding simplex verb vitka, ‘practice witchcraft’, where the same arguments would apply. Insular-v was used in Icelandic script from ca. 1200 until ca. 1300, and if this hypothesis is correct, we would, on the one hand, have a fairly good argument for dating the oldest example of the verb finnvitka a hundred or so years earlier than the Flateyjarbók example, i.e. to ca. 1300. On the other hand, if picka is the result of a misreading of vitka, this would in turn be an argument for the early existence of the simplex verb, confirmed examples of which are lacking in Old Icelandic texts.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Reykjavik: Stofnun Árna Magnússonar , 2013. Vol. 24, 269-279 p.
Keyword [en]
Finnvitka, vitka, Sámi witchcraft, Flateyjarbók, Icelandic
National Category
Specific Languages
Research subject
Scandinavian Languages
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-212720ISI: 000341544900009OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-212720DiVA: diva2:679121

Title in english: On the Verb Finnvitka in Flateyjarbok

Available from: 2013-12-13 Created: 2013-12-13 Last updated: 2014-10-29Bibliographically approved

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Óskarsson, Veturliði
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