Tuesday, September 20, 2011

male immigrants lead to mother tongue


In a meta-analysis of studies that linked genetic markers to cultural heritage in North and Central America, Iceland, Australia, Africa and New Guinea, they found that only Y-chromosome DNA reflected the cultural origins of the local language. Iceland, for example, was colonised by Norse Vikings with women kidnapped from the British Isles. Most mitochondrial DNA found in Icelandic people today is similar to that in the British Isles, while Y chromosomes carry Scandinavian DNA. And the Icelandic language has Scandinavian roots, not English

Linguist Claire Bowern of Yale University, meanwhile, points out that the societies covered by this study distribute power through the male line, and the opposite correlation may be found in societies run by females.

Aside - am reading a book on Confucius. It discusses the use of paronomasia in Chinese culture.


paronomasia (plural paronomasias)

(rhetoric) A pun or play on words

1997, Thomas Pynchon, Mason & Dixon:

Ev’rywhere but at Norfolk, where talk of Passion far outweighs its Enactment,– indeed, the Sailors’ Paronomasia for that wretched Place, is ‘No-F**k’.

D - the book segued into a discussion of Anglo-Saxon (ancient) kenning.

A kenning (Old Norse: kenning, Modern Icelandic pronunciation: [cʰɛnːiŋk]) is a type of literary trope, specifically circumlocution, in the form of a compound (usually two words, often hyphenated) that employs figurative language in place of a more concrete single-word noun. Kennings are strongly associated with Old Norse and later Icelandic and Anglo-Saxon poetry. For example, Old Norse poets might replace sverð, the regular word for “sword”, with a more abstract compound such as “wound-hoe”, and derives ultimately from the Old Norse verb kenna “know, recognise; perceive, feel; show; teach; etc.”, as used in the expression kenna við “to name after; to express [one thing] in terms of [another]”,[2] “name after; refer to in terms of”,[3] and kenna til “qualify by, make into a kenning by adding”.

D - the examples from Norse society are really quite evocative.


Poetry is 'lip stream', blood is 'slaughter dew', and ravens are 'blood swans'. So cool!

No comments: