Edited by Alastair Walker, Eric Hoekstra, Goffe Jensma, Wendy Vanselow, Willem Visser and Christoph Winter
[NOWELE Supplement Series 33] 2022
► pp. 423–436
This paper offers a descriptive account of direct speech in texts written in Old Frisian (extending till 1550). A distinction is made between two types of this stylistic device: imaginary, as found in narrative texts, and authentic, which regards recordings of sentences spoken in a conversation or an allocution. Fixed formulaic phrases in legal texts, though having the appearance of direct speech, were obviously excluded from this investigation.
The number of instances found is small, while true dialogues are even entirely lacking. The percentage of direct speech quotes in narrative texts – scarce as they are – turns out to be about the same as in some Old English narrative poems. About twenty specimens of authentic direct speech could be gathered from witness depositions and witness testimonies. Although they are perhaps somewhat less lively than might be expected, they still convey an impression of the spoken form of the late Old Frisian vernacular.
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