In 2008 when I started this weblog I was still working on my BA in History at Leiden University specializing in the Early Middle Ages and their vernacular literatures. At the Leiden institute of Comparative Indo-European Linguistics I had the opportunity and privilege to follow introductory and advanced courses in many of the medieval vernaculars. Ancient cultures, Ancient languages, Ancient history. I am very passionate about all of them.
I named the weblog “wanana sculun Frankon” after the famous Old High German exhortation of Otfrid of Weissenburg in his 9th c. versified Liber Evangeliorum (Liber I, Cap. I 33-34): wánana sculun Fránkon, éinon thaz biwánkon, ni sie in frénkisgon bigínnen, sie gotes lób singen (Vollmann-Profe 1987: 36-37). We could translate this in Modern English as: Why should the Franks be the only ones to hesitate to begin to sing the praises of god in the Frankish language.
I chose this Old High German verse as the title for my blog because I wanted to write about the interdisciplinary field between Medieval studies and historical linguistics. In Early Medieval studies the vernaculars are grossly undervalued at the moment. This is due to severe revisionism of the twentieth century paradigm of Barbarian peoples and states on the part of the historians, while most historical linguists working with Early Medieval languages and cultures still succesfully use the paradigm in their inquiries into Early Medieval culture. This is why the title wanana sculun Frankon seemed strangely appropriate for voicing my concerns regarding the divide between the disciplines.
In the past years I have posted articles on various subjects, from translations of Ossetic Nart sagas, North-East-Caucasian etymologies to musings on Romance sound laws and the usual Early Medieval stuff. I want to continue doing this, making this blog an academic outlet for my ideas on Comparative Linguistics, Old Germanistics and Medieval studies. Some of them are quite old and most of them were written when I was still studying. They do not reflect my capacities as a scholar nowadays. However, in the past year I have acquired some knowledge of Berber linguistics and Arabic linguistics. Hence the few articles on Berber you might encounter on my site. I cannot guarantee I will not cross the Indo-European borders more often as my field of expertise and interests grow. 😉
A last note: Because I write these posts in my spare time and the articles are not always carefully proofread, typo’s may slip in. If you find them, be so kind to point out these typo’s so I can correct the article. If you have questions, remarks or just feel the urge to respond to my articles, please do so. Everybody loves a good discussion.
Peter Alexander Kerkhof