Names – Epithet – kenning – heiti

Names, epithets, kenning, heiti, all have a meaning in Icelandic. Meanings which tell half the story in myths and poems

Names have a meaning, and might tell half the story in myths and poems. Epithets tell a lot too about the characters.

And kenningar are tricky, man!
We have to know the multiple meanings of each word.
Quite a headache.

Kenning is (normally) 2 words, heiti 1 word, another word for the term/name. In a poem the parts of one kenning might be in different lines (not to make it easier for us).
The cases (nom, voc, acc, dat, gen, and intstrumentalis case) allow for this split-up of kenningar.
When each part of the kenning is a 2-word kenning too, scattered all over the vísa (verse), things get amusingly complicated, man!

Geyr garmur mjök fyr Gnipahelli, leikur hár hiti við himin sjálfan
– is not about a barking dog at all, as garmur here is heat, or fire – even reaching the sky itself.

Manuscript reading is not an easy task, and lots of misreading, and unnecessary (astray-leading) additions are to be found. But we try to make the best of what we (–luckily–) have.

Warning: we should be careful not to interpret what we do not understand.
(Happens too often.)

For fun: The Romans started to use sir-names, or family-names, and Europeans (–stupidly–) started to copy that. But in Iceland we still have –son and –dóttir added to first name of father – like mac and nic(?) in Ireland (son of, daughter of).

Note: Icelandic contains lots of Gaelic – since settlement.

Icelandic is the oldest language in Europe still spoken, still going strong, and blossoming.