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Spatial Understanding Of Time In Early Germanic Cultures: The Evidence Of Old English Time Words And Norse Mythology

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Chapter Summary

The objective of this chapter is twofold. It explores how time is conceptualized through structure, how temporal structure is reflected in language, and how that relates to physical space. The chapter discusses competing medieval notions of the structure of time, which will be followed by an overview of the semantic field of "time" in Old English, in order to understand the place in the lexical spectrum of three specific words, Old English fyrst, hwil, and fac, which constitute the linguistic evidence for the authors argument. On the other hand, since conceptual categories are embedded in culture and operate at a deeper level than their lexical realizations, the chapter investigates whether the concept of time as reflected in the lexical evidence can be attested outside of language. Norse myths offer an insight into traditional narratives of time relating to those that the Anglo-Saxons might have had.

Keywords: fac; Anglo-Saxons; fyrst; hwil; norse mythology; Old English



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