Friðr in the sagas of Icelanders

Helga Hilmisdottir

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientific


This study explores the function of the lexical item friðr in a collection of Old Norse texts known as the sagas of Icelanders. They were written around 1200–1350 by unknown authors and deal with the settlement period in Iceland (870–930). The empirical part of the paper is based on excerpts that contain instances of the noun friðr or its derivatives. In the analysis, a focus is put on the context associated with friðr: Who does friðr involve and what rules apply? The theoretical framework is based on Norén and Linell’s (2007) notion of ‘meaning potentials’, in which the semantic content of a lexical item is seen as interplay between core content and speakers’ access to a set of situated interpretations.
In the paper, I show that friðr has a meaning potential which clusters around five ideas: ‘love’, ‘security’, ‘security with a formal or legal status’, ‘security or sacredness connected to specific times or places’, and ‘agreement’. Furthermore, I propose that these subcategories share the same core content
which can be characterized as ‘harmony’.
Translated title of the contributionFriðr i islänningasagorna
Original languageEnglish
JournalActa Translatologica Helsingiensia
Pages (from-to)60-77
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 4 Dec 2015
MoE publication typeB1 Journal article

Fields of Science

  • 6121 Languages
  • meaning potential
  • peace and conlict research
  • Icelandic sagas

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