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More about nayt than anybody wants to know

Phibbus
Rohan


Nov 1 2012, 5:07am


Views: 266
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More about nayt than anybody wants to know [In reply to] Can't Post


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ETA: I also found "Nat=not" in Sisam which further bolsters Phibbus' claim to 5%.


In Reply To
n Sir Gawain line 65: "Nowel nayted onewe, neuened ful ofte:" which clumsily translates to: Noel celebrated anew, named full often;" (This is from the top of the story, as Arthur's court was celebrating Christmas and the coming new year, just before the Green Knight shows up.)

The word continues to intrigue me, and I think there might be something interesting, here. I have a suspicion that Tolkien & Gordon's original gloss may make a bit of an overreaching contextual assumption and that Tolkien may have later corrected himself.

I don't want to bolster my own guess, because I think it's wronghowever it does appear others have made the same assumption. It seems there's an old 1913 Webster dictionary entry for "nayt" that has it as an obsolete form of "deny" (which can be found by googling,) but I have a feeling it's spurious. There's also this Wiktionary entry for "nait" which gives it as derived from Old Norse "nita" (= "deny" or "refuse") in the first definition. And the OED gives "nayt" in one sense as a Middle English spelling of "naught."

The trouble is, none of these give an example of actual usage, and I'm still not finding any. The closest I can come is one instance in the Chaucer's Parson's Tale which looks like it's a late copy error and should actually be "nay" (which is what my standard edition has.) In any case, none of these indicate any past tense of "nayted", as given, and none have meanings would pertain to the usage in the Gawain line.

OK, so the interesting bit: The Gawain gloss has the word as derived from Old Norse "neyta", which appears to be a past tense of the verb "njta", which means "enjoy" in the sense "have the use of". I suspect Tolkien & Gordon may have added "celebrated" based primarily on the association of the word with Christmas in this particular context. But they don't give a note on the usage in the text itself, which they often do for words with uncertain Old Norse etymologies, making it seem a matter of course.

However, in his ca.1950 translation of the poem, Tolkien renders "nayted" as "announced":


Quote
With loud clamours and cries both clerks and laymen
Noel announced anew, and named it full often;

It may be that he massaged the translation a bit in the absence of a suitable word for "celebrate" that would maintain the alliteration on the 'N's (which would have been quite important to him.) However, this sense agrees closely with the OED's own third (rare) usage of the word "nait" as "recite" or "repeat", itself using the Gawain line as an example (I'm going to stretch a bit and paste the whole entry, since it's interesting, and some won't have access):


Quote
nait, v.2

Forms: ME nait, ME naite, ME natte, ME nayt, ME nayte, ME naytte, ME neyte, ME (18 Sc.) nate; Eng. regional (north.) 1618 nate, 18 nait.

Etymology: < an early Scandinavian weak verb (compare Old Icelandic neyta , Norwegian (Nynorsk) nyta , Old Swedish nta (Swedish nta )), cognate with Old Frisian n&#275;ta < an ablaut variant of the base of the Germanic strong verb represented by Old English n&#275;otan to use, have the use of, enjoy, employ (cognate with Old Frisian ni&#257;ta , Middle Dutch -nieten (in prefixed form genieten , ghenieten (Dutch genieten )), Old Saxon niotan (Middle Low German n&#275;ten ; also gen&#275;ten ), Old High German niozan (also giniozan ; Middle High German niezen , geniezen , German genieen ), Old Icelandic njta , Old Swedish niuta (Swedish njuta ), Norwegian (Bokml) nyte , Norwegian (Nynorsk) nyta , Danish nyde , Gothic niutan ), probably ultimately < the same Indo-European base as Lithuanian nauda use, profit, advantage, Latvian nauda money. Compare geneat n., neat n.1, note n.1 Compare nait n.

In later use Eng. regional (north.). Obs.
1. trans.

a. To make use of, use, employ; to exert (one's strength). Also refl.: to exert oneself.
c1400 (1380) Cleanness (Nero) (1920) 531 Uche fowle to e fly&#541;t at fyerez my&#541;t serve, Uche fysch to e flod at fynne coue nayte.
c1440 (1400) Sir Perceval (1930) 185 Oer gudez wolde scho nonne nayte, Bot with hir tuke a tryppe of gayte.
c1450 (1400) Wars Alexander (Ashm.) 2468 Getis &#541;ow a name & naytis &#541;our strethe [read: strenthe].
c1450 (1400) Wars Alexander (Ashm.) 2968 He..naytis him to ryse, Buskis him vp at a braide.
c1540 (1400) Gest Historiale Destr. Troy 10940 Telamon..Gird hym full graidly with a gay sworde, Bad hym nait hit nemly.

1677 W. Nicolson Gloss. Cumbrian Dial. in Trans. Royal Soc. Lit. (1870) 9 316 Nate, to use.
1807 J. Stagg Misc. Poems (new ed.) 48 Then brouce about nor tek sec preesin, To nate your awn.
1894 R. O. Heslop Northumberland Words, Nate, to use, to make use of.

b. To want, need, desire.
a1425 Medulla Gram. (Stonyhurst) f. 8, Aueo, to neyten.
a1500 (1460) Towneley Plays 260 Loke that we haue that we shuld nate, ffor to hald this shrew strate.
c1540 (1400) Gest Historiale Destr. Troy 6031 All necessaries for e night at ai naite shuld.

2. trans. To repeat, recite. rare.
c1400 (1390) Sir Gawain & Green Knight (1940) 65 Loude crye watz er kest of clerkez & oer, Nowel nayted o-newe, neuened ful ofte.
a1500 (1400) St. Erkenwald 119 Ser Erkenwolde..welneghe al e ny&#541;t hade nattyd his houres.

Could it be that he changed his mind about the word having the "celebrated" connotations in the interim between the two treatments of the work? Although I suppose "announced", taken more strongly in the sense of "proclaimed" or "heralded", could fall somewhere between "recited" and "celebrated" and indicate a compromise.

Man is but an ass if he go about to expound this dream.

(This post was edited by Phibbus on Nov 1 2012, 5:17am)

Subject User Time
A Middle English Vocabulary Challenge SirDennisC Send a private message to SirDennisC Oct 23 2012, 12:53am
    Looks fun! Ardamr Send a private message to Ardamr Oct 23 2012, 1:05am
    Hazarding (definitley the right word!) a few guesses: Ethel Duath Send a private message to Ethel Duath Oct 23 2012, 2:50am
    I'll give it a try Eye's on Guard Send a private message to Eye's on Guard Oct 23 2012, 4:57am
    Some great guesses so far, even some bingos! SirDennisC Send a private message to SirDennisC Oct 23 2012, 9:21pm
        I'll have you know Ardamr Send a private message to Ardamr Oct 23 2012, 9:55pm
            No doubt SirDennisC Send a private message to SirDennisC Oct 23 2012, 11:23pm
                I'll be surprised Ardamr Send a private message to Ardamr Oct 23 2012, 11:49pm
    Recalling my English lit. classes from last century... Morthoron Send a private message to Morthoron Oct 24 2012, 5:16am
    Answers SirDennisC Send a private message to SirDennisC Oct 25 2012, 3:10pm
        My guesses... Phibbus Send a private message to Phibbus Oct 26 2012, 1:17pm
            I'm gonna change Phibbus Send a private message to Phibbus Oct 26 2012, 1:45pm
        I had peaked at the answers already DanielLB Send a private message to DanielLB Oct 26 2012, 1:23pm
    Answers, this time trwly. SirDennisC Send a private message to SirDennisC Oct 26 2012, 8:10pm
        Woohoo! 3.5! Ardamr Send a private message to Ardamr Oct 26 2012, 9:08pm
            Yes, good show Ardamr ;) // SirDennisC Send a private message to SirDennisC Oct 27 2012, 1:35am
                In my defense... Morthoron Send a private message to Morthoron Oct 27 2012, 2:12am
                    No defence needed SirDennisC Send a private message to SirDennisC Oct 27 2012, 3:19am
        Woot Phibbus Send a private message to Phibbus Oct 27 2012, 12:27am
            Makes sense SirDennisC Send a private message to SirDennisC Oct 27 2012, 1:34am
    These are fun! dernwyn Send a private message to dernwyn Oct 29 2012, 12:45am
        Ah, I see that Morthoron has provided the details dernwyn Send a private message to dernwyn Oct 29 2012, 12:50am
            Weeelllll SirDennisC Send a private message to SirDennisC Oct 29 2012, 3:38pm
                Speaking of context, here is the line nayted is used SirDennisC Send a private message to SirDennisC Oct 29 2012, 4:03pm
                More about nayt than anybody wants to know Phibbus Send a private message to Phibbus Nov 1 2012, 5:07am
                    Thank you Phibbus SirDennisC Send a private message to SirDennisC Nov 2 2012, 3:05am
                    This makes one appreciate dernwyn Send a private message to dernwyn Nov 3 2012, 2:02am
                        Over your head? Not at all -- SirDennisC Send a private message to SirDennisC Nov 11 2012, 5:13am
                            It's easy to understand dernwyn Send a private message to dernwyn Nov 12 2012, 12:52am
                    This just in SirDennisC Send a private message to SirDennisC Nov 14 2012, 3:20am
                        That reminds me of a dreadful translation of Ethel Duath Send a private message to Ethel Duath Nov 14 2012, 4:18pm
    My career in Medieval Linguistics macmallorn Send a private message to macmallorn Nov 5 2012, 10:53pm
        Welcome to TORn Macmallorn! SirDennisC Send a private message to SirDennisC Nov 6 2012, 2:54am
            Thanks! macmallorn Send a private message to macmallorn Nov 7 2012, 10:53pm

 
 
 

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