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Ethnolinguistics, Cultural Change and Early Scripts from England and Wales


Jacek Mianowski

The study presents a chronotope of linguistic and cultural changes that took place in England and Wales between the 4th and 8th centuries. It encompasses the areas of South Wales and Eastern England and describes the cultural practices of preliterate Anglo-Saxon and Celtic speech communities and their adaptation of runic, ogham and Latin scripts.

The study is based on the concepts of anthropological linguistics, ethnography of communication and discourse analysis. It incorporates 23 selected ogham- and Latin-inscribed stones from Wales, and 10 rune-inscribed everyday objects from England. The presented inscriptions were designed as text occurrences with well-planned, graphical content distribution, intentionally placed in the public space to increase the range of their potential audience.

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Primary sources

Aitchison, Jean (2007): The Word Weavers. Newshounds and Wordsmiths. Cambridge, New York, Melbourne: Cambridge University Press.

Arnold, Christopher J. ([1988]1997): An Archaeology of the Early Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms. London, New York: Routledge.

Bakhtin, Mikhail Mikhailovich (1981): Forms of Time and of the Chronotope in the Novel. In: Dialogic Imagination: Four Essays (Michael Holquist ed.), 84–258. Austin: University of Texas Press.

Barnes, Michael P. (2010a): Runes and Editors: The Changing Face of Corpus Editions. In: Futhark: International Journal of Runic Studies 1 (James E. Knirk and Henrik Williams eds.), 7–26. A Creative Commons licensed resource, available at: Accessed 30.1.2012.

– ([2010b]): What is Runology and Where Does it Stand Today? In: The Seventh International Symposium on Runes and Runic Inscriptions, “Runes in Context”. Oslo: Universitetet i Oslo.

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