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      Current Issues in Medieval England 

      Changes of Political Rule and the Changing Use of OE Gærsum(a) ‘Treasure’ (< ON Gersemi) in Middle English

      Peter Lang
      loan-word, Norman French, Old English, Old Norse, historical fiction

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          Abstract:

          The late Old English attestations of the Norse loan gærsum(a) ‘treasure’ reflect historical facts resulting from Cnut’s rule over late Anglo-Saxon England, just like the late Old English uses of lagu ‘law’ and eorl ‘regional leader’. Whereas law has become the most general legal term and earl part of the post-Conquest hierarchy of otherwise largely Norman French loans, most other terms reflecting foreign rule borrowed from Old Norse were replaced with synonyms borrowed from Norman French. The uses of ME gersum(e) are shown to represent an alternative to both wholesale survival and abandonment: Although as a general term, the Norse loan was replaced with synonymous tresor borrowed from Norman French in the first half of the twelfth century, gersum(e) continued to be used with the same meaning until the late fifteenth century. These uses in various regions culturally related to the former Danelaw were restricted to fictional and religious texts.

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          English Historical Documents c. 500–1042

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            The Peterborough Chronicle, 1070–1154

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              LALME A Linguistic Atlas of Late Medieval English

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                10.3726/9783631862957.003.0006
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