This paper takes a fresh look at what is known about the 17th–18th century Basque-Icelandic glossaries and reassesses their historical importance from a cultural perspective. These anonymous glossaries have been published a number of times since Deen's first publication (1937) and attracted some interest in the 1980s because of the few Basque pidgin sentences included in the second glossary. I maintain that their importance goes well beyond the undoubtedly interesting pidgin section of glossary II. To prove this point, I sketch a brief history of the context in which Basques and Icelanders came together, and analyze some of the words in the glossaries to offer an explanation of some obscure terms, as well as to re-assess the origin of the informants and the circumstances that gave rise to these unique documents.
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Vol. 1 • No. 1