Semantic field of ANGER in Old English

Izdebska, Daria Wiktoria (2015) Semantic field of ANGER in Old English. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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This thesis examines representations of ANGER in Old English by analysing occurrences of eight word families (YRRE, GRAM, BELGAN, WRĀÞ, HĀTHEORT, TORN, WĒAMŌD and WŌD) in prose and poetry. Through inspection of 1800 tokens across c. 400 texts, it determines the understanding of how ANGER vocabulary operates in the Old English lexicon and within the broader socio-cultural context of the period. It also helps refine the interpretations of wide-ranging issues such as authorial preference, translation practices, genre, and interpretation of literary texts. The thesis contributes to diachronic lexical semantics and the history of emotions by developing a replicable methodology that triangulates data from different sources.

Chapter 1 introduces the field of study and shows the approaches to emotions as either universal or culturally-determined. It discusses previous analyses of ANGER in Old English and proposes a cross-linguistic, semasiological approach, which minimises ethnocentric bias. Categorisations and conceptualisations are not identical between languages, and Old English divides the emotional spectrum differently from Present-Day English. Chapter 2 presents the methodology, which draws on approaches from historical semantics and corpus linguistics, integrating methods from cognitive linguistics, anthropology and textual studies. Chapters 3 to 10 investigate each of the eight word families, analysing all occurrences in relation to grammatical category, collocations, range of meanings, and referents. Cognates in Germanic and other Indo-European languages, and Middle English and Early Modern English reflexes are examined to trace diachronic development. The thesis determines recurrent patterns of usage, distribution between text types, and socio-cultural significance. Specific passages from Old English from a range of genres are analysed and discussed. Each family is found to have a distinct profile of usage and distribution. Chapter 11 examines ANGER in the Old English translation of Gregory’s Regula pastoralis. This text exhibits usage not found in later prose or in poetry. The Cura pastoralis also presents a different framework for understanding and conceptualising ANGER to the one found in Latin. Finally, Chapter 12 synthesises my findings and considers them comparatively. These word families differ in usage, conceptual links, referents, and even authorial preferences. Most common portrayals of ANGER in Old English involve one of the three themes: ANGER AS VICE, WRATH OF GOD and ANGER AS HOSTILITY.

The thesis demonstrates that a detailed analysis of lexical usage is essential for understanding larger conceptual structures within a language, and that this in turn aids the analysis of literary texts and understanding of Anglo-Saxon psychologies.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: anger, Old English, historical semantics, diachronic semantics, cognitive semantics, prototype theory, lexical field, semantic field, corpus studies, history of emotions
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
P Language and Literature > PD Germanic languages
P Language and Literature > PE English
P Language and Literature > PF West Germanic
P Language and Literature > PR English literature
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts > School of Critical Studies > English Language and Linguistics
Supervisor's Name: Hough, Prof Carole and Lowe, Dr Kathryn
Date of Award: 2015
Depositing User: Daria Izdebska
Unique ID: glathesis:2015-6227
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 22 May 2015 15:25
Last Modified: 29 May 2015 08:37

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