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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Note to stanza

2. Rǫgnvaldr jarl Kali Kolsson, Lausavísur, 14 [Vol. 2, 591-2]

[2] ótangi ‘rascal’: Skj B emends this hap. leg. to slangi ‘rascal’ (so also Skald) and Orkn 1913-16 puts it in inverted commas. It is noted in ÍF 34 that the word tangi occurs in SnE (W 1924, 104; SnE 1848-87, II, 496), in a list of various derogatory terms for men, and it is argued that the prefix is intensifying or emphatic rather than privative, although no evidence is presented for this. However, one might compare words like óvættr ‘evil spirit, troll’ in which the prefix supplies a negative connotation to an essentially neutral word. For suggested etymologies, see AEW: tangi. It is of interest that Marwick (1929, 186) records an Orkney dialect word tangie, tongie ‘a mythical being’, more specifically ‘a mysterious goblin, or devil, who lured people to their doom’ and there may be some connection here.


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