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Title: Some early Middle English dialect features in the south-east Midlands : an onomastic study
Author: Majocha, Elżbieta
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2006
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Uniformitarian principles suggest that the spoken English of 1100-1300 would have displayed regional variation. The written reflections of spoken regional diversity evident in Late Middle English (1300-1500) support this assumption, but the paucity of literary texts from the earlier period has made it difficult to test. This thesis uses the more plentiful place-name evidence to show the extent of areal linguistic variation in the written English of this period in six East Midland counties: Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire with Ely, Essex, Hertfordshire, Huntingdonshire and Middlesex. Chapter one introduces the period, geographic area and the aims of the project. It also gives an overview of the previous research into early Middle English. Chapter two reviews the use of onomastic data in Middle English dialectology. It discusses important contributions by Wyld, Ekwall, Bohman, Sundby, Kristensson and Ek and addresses some issues of methodology and ideology that arise from the study of place names for dialectal research. Chapter three discusses the tools and research methods used in this analysis. The data from five English Place-name Society volumes, covering six counties was scanned, parsed and entered into a database. Bespoke software allowed complex searches by spelling, date and source, returning data sets in tabular or map form. Chapter four presents the data with analysis and discussion. Four variables were examined in fifty-year sub-periods: OE /a:/, OE /y/; OE /æ:/ and voicing of initial fricatives [f-] and [s-]. Selected lexical items were investigated in name-initial and name non-initial position. The corresponding spellings are tabulated by county, and mapped to show geographic and temporal variation. Individual items are discussed in detail, with reference to source types in which they are recorded, and general patterns of variation are identified.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available