Dialogue and "Dialect": Character Speech in American Fiction [thesis]

Carly Overfelt
Using an interdisciplinary approach and building upon earlier work by Northcott, Green, Eggers, Schirokauer, and others, the present study presents a reappraisal of the development of the Germanic vocabulary adopted to designate the divine Lord (God or Christ) in the early stages of Christianization on the continent during the first millennium. The words used to translate Greek kyrios and Latin dominus were drawn from the sphere of Germanic social institutions and thus their adoption was
more » ... adoption was influenced—and to some extent determined—by external conditions and values. In Wulfila's fourth-century translation of the Bible into an East Germanic dialect of Gothic, the word frauja 'lord, Lord' connoted the "householder" (dominus or pater familias) and thus fittingly conveyed the sense of God's and Christ's lordship as depicted in the New Testament. This word-choice is indicative of Wulfila's adherence to literality but also reflects the socio-cultural, religious, and historical circumstances in which he lived. The primary early medieval West Germanic title for the divine Lord was Old High German truhtīn (and its dialectal reflexes in the other West and North Germanic languages), which originally would have designated a "warlord" or "leader of a (royal) military retinue." As a word semantically at odds with its Christian referent, it was presumably adopted for pragmatic reasons. These reasons can best be explained in the context of Germanic cultural-institutional ideology and the traditional forms of eulogistic and heroic verse in which this ideology was encoded. During the ninth and tenth century, another lord title, hērro, began permanently to displace truhtīn. As a calque on Latin senior, hērro originated in the emergent vocabulary of Merovingian Frankish feudalism. The ascension of hērro was further facilitated by the demise of the older vernacular alliterative poetic tradition (and its associated imagery) in the Carolin [...]
doi:10.7275/10691086.0 fatcat:dymje2elmjbjlcbqteqwbg7cx4