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St Edward the Confessor: Tincture Azure (5/6)

Published by Carlos da Fonte, em 05.09.12
Edward the Confessor - Attributed Arms

The fifth semantic level present in the arms of St Edward the Confessor repeats the geographic inspiration of the previous referent's metonymy: Wincestrin. Besides the direct allusion to Winchester we may see now the verbal depiction of its river Itchen. Similarly, in an older analysis, we had applied the river Danube as a contiguity to Sagremor and Buda. It was impossible to find an Anglo-Norman name for this hydronym, therefore we used the English equivalent as a denominant. We don't even know if a specific Anglo-Norman word existed but seemingly it wouldn't be much more different than Itchen.


However, the second part of our parophony, the designant, keeps using Anglo-Norman and this type of language mix is usually called linguistic hybridization. In parophonies it results frequently from the ignorance on how to express both components adopting just one language, as it was the case here. But it may also appear with local words surviving in the vocabulary of a lingua franca. In Portuguese, for example, Gothic and Arabic terms arise simultaneously with Latin in order to build designants.


This parophony is built with Itchen ~ I chenne (ano. one pitcher), but the last component needs to be adjusted before we could compare all its phonemes with those appearing in the denominant. A first metonymy diverges from a common writing symbol “I”, easy to be acknowledged and sustained by other occurrences in our researching work. It's responsible for the transformation of “I” from a letter “i into a Roman numeral that stands for one.


I(chenne) < I (letter i) < I

I (chenne) < I (number 1) < I


Moreover, we observe the use of a pair of graphemes “ch with two possible sounds, conveniently adapted to assist the parophony. The first instance when Itchen must be compared with the similar sound of chenne, where “ch sounds as [S]. The second instance occurs when meaning is built and we need the word that signifies “one pitcher, that is, chenne, and “ch now sounds as [k], like other known forms - cane and canne - very near or equal to the modern pronunciation in French. A similar example takes place in the arms of the first kings of Portugal for their capital Coimbra. To denote that the same group of letters shape different sounds we baptized this recurring phenomenon a homographic heterophony.


ch(enne) > [k(@n)]

ch(enne) < [S(@n)]


After the conclusion of accommodation and pairing we calculate a discretion index, k = 0.19. The procedure had to apply a longer formula, used to compensate the scarce number of phonemes and consequent unbalance (see Formula 3.1 at p. 51 in the thesis). To obtain it we additionally considered the total number of transformations (j = 1) divided by the square of the maximum value between the denominant and designant, max (D, d)2 = max (4, 4)2 = (4)2 = 16. Therefore we subtracted 1/16 = 0.0625 from our main formula to produce 0.250 - 0.0625 and the value of k = 0.19.


A second metonymy will justify the blue in the heraldic plot of St Edward's arms. We had already mentioned that the application of the said tincture wasn't compatible with a sky, in this blazon at least. It's a fact that crosses and birds would fit perfectly in such a background but it's again a fact that the martlets aren't flying in the shield of St Edward. Blue is doubtlessly used for water in heraldry; however, five martlets floating around a sinking cross seem an appalling concept. What then?


The designant chenne (ano. pitcher) was also understood as a measure of capacity for liquids, a meaning reinforced by the Roman numeral I that precedes it. A measure largely employed with water and wine and with bulk solids likewise. The next transformation uses whatever could be inside the pitcher as a defining idea, instead of the pitcher itself. In a similar but reversed manner we say: “I've drank a glass of milk and not “I've drank the contents of a glass of milk. But the contents we're talking about are effectively water for a few good reasons.


The most obvious motivation should be that azure is the colour of water in heraldry, whereas purpure would be proper for wine, argent for milk and so on. Secondly, the relatively small quantity of a pitcher was just enough to “wet the field, allowing the birds and the cross to be supported by the ground. Thirdly, although being represented by blue, water is transparent and if used on top of everything no staining would be perceived. Fourthly, we could say that, to begin with, it also represents a river, no need to mention what is it made of. Finally, we must answer the question - What kind of liquid would be respectable enough to match the five birds representing the sanctity of Edward and the symbol of Christ Himself? It shouldn't spoil, foul or in any way desecrate the plot already organized.


The answer could only be holy water, a perfect match for the sanctified flock of birds and for the cross. Incidentally it's commonly spread by aspersion, meaning that maybe it rests on top of all charges, still considering the aforesaid transparency. Note that the expression in Anglo-Norman is euwe benette, but it may be easily admitted for the end of the 14th century that English could affect the metonymy. But it wouldn't even be needed in its strictest form, due to the extended religious environment of the blazon. Without a doubt the whole is influenced by the status of Edward as a saint. Formally, we have another converging metonymization:


Edward > St Edward > saint > holy

one pitcher > contents > holy water > holy


Furthermore we need to justify the blue convention for water. The perception of this colour in shallow extensions is normally seen as caused by reflection and scattering of sky light, but it doesn't suit well a generalization. Supplementary the sea is intrinsically blue even during a thunderstorm when the sky has tones of grey. This blue is faintly seen in snow and ice, all resulting from the same physical phenomenon. Those were probably the shades of blue inspiring heraldry and also many other representations of water too. Still, as oceans are its most powerful, large and majestic expression, the mechanism of sublimation emerged to paint any form or amount of water blue; a triple converging metonymy:


sea > bluish

seawater > bluish

any water > bluish


That should end our comments on the arms of St Edward the Confessor, but we just happened to find a sixth semantic level, so this series isn't finishing now as stated before. Luckily enough it won't harm the sequence of presentation within the prior levels; instead it's more like a complement enclosing everything we've already said.



 Edward the Confessor - Azul
Attributed Arms R Edward the Confessor
Hydronym M River Itchen
Linguistic Hybridization V English ~ Anglo-Norman
Denominant A Itchen
Graphemization A  I  |  T  |  C  |  H  |  E  |  N 
Phonemization A i  |  tS  |  @  |  n
Pairing A i  |  tS  |  @  |  n
A i  |  S  |  @  |  n
Coefficient of transposition A 0.0 | 0.0 | 0.0 | 0.0 
Coefficient of character A 0.0 | 0.5 | 0.0 | 0.0 
Coefficient of position A 0.0 | 1.0 | 0.0 | 0.0 
Addends A 0.0 | 0.5 | 0.0 | 0.0 
Discretion index A k = 0.19
Homographic heterophony A ch(enne) > [k(@n)]
A ch(enne) < [S(@n)]
Phonemization A i | S | @ | n
Graphemization A I | | C | H | E | N | N | E
Designant A I chenne
Other nouns E une chenne
Diverging metonymy S I(chenne) < I (letter i) < I
S I (chenne) < I (number 1) < I
Simple monosemy S azure
S I chenne
Converging metonymy S Edward > St Edward > saint > holy
S 1 pitcher > contents > holy water > holy
Tincture H bluish Azure
Immanence C water
Contrast C or
Converging metonymy, Sublimation S sea > bluish
S seawater > bluish
S any water > bluish
Number H a
Figuration H cross
Aspect H flory
Placement H cantoned with
Number H four
Figuration H martlets
Connective H and
Number H another
Placement H in base
Tincture H or


(next article in this series is VI/VI)

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Published at 00:24

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