The Journal of the North Atlantic

i-e07ab466df7aa5c3d261bee1a0205b35-JONA-2008-Vol-1-Cover.jpgThe Journal of the North Atlantic is a new on-line archaeology and environmental-history journal published in Maine. You can apply for a login and read it for free until the end of the year. So far, they have three papers up, and they offer some really cool stuff. One is an apparently nature-deterministic GIS study of Medieval property demarcation in the Reykholt area of Iceland where Snorri Sturluson lived. Another one explores the ethno-political situation in Medieval Greenland, where two different eskimo cultures coexisted with Norse settlers.

My favourite is an unbelievably exotic paper by Viola Giulia Miglio. It’s a study of Basque glossaries written in Iceland in the 17th and 18th centuries. I kid you not — the Icelanders had a long literary tradition, and they came to interact with Basque whalers and deep-sea fishermen, preserving information otherwise lost about the coastal Basque dialects of the time. The paper’s title is good too: “Go shag a horse!”: The 17th-18th Century Basque-Icelandic Glossaries Revisited.

My only complaint about The Journal of the North Atlantic is that they don’t seem to devote much effort to copy-editing the English their non-native-speaker contributors perpetrate produce.


  1. #1 Bill Poser
    September 13, 2008

    That paper on the Icelandic Basque glossaries sounds fascinating. The Basque really got around, all the way to what is now Canada. Basque loans have been identified in Micmac.

  2. #2 Martin R
    September 13, 2008

    Any idea when Micmac picked those loan words up?

  3. #3 Bill Poser
    September 13, 2008

    Yes, the heavy contact between the Basque and the Micmac is supposed to be 16th century. See Peter Bakker’s papers:

    “Two Basque Loanwords in Micmac”, International Journal of American Linguistics 55.2.258-261 (1989)


    “‘The Language of the Coast Tribes is Half Basque’: A Basque-American Indian Pidgin, 1540-1640”, Anthropological Linguistics 31.3-4.117-147.

    There is more recent work on this to which I can’t give references off the cuff.

  4. #4 Justin Spicer
    January 5, 2009

    What if I don’t want to shag a horse but still want to read about basque?

  5. #5 Martin R
    January 6, 2009

    No Justin, it’s either both or none. Now eat your spinach.

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