Show Less
Restricted access

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.

Show Summary Details
Restricted access

Chapter Five: Research methodology


This chapter seeks to achieve four goals. The first is to present the theoretical framing of the research by discussing the relevance of historical evidence from an ethnolinguistic perspective. To achieve this one should take a closer look at the most rudimentary objectives of contemporary ethnographic studies and selected proposals for achieving them. Secondly, the chapter aims to discuss the methodological aspects of the research. In the light of contemporary ethnolinguistic studies, both language and culture play a fundamental role, while the reciprocal relations between these two aspects may prove to be the key element in understanding how societies function. The third goal of the chapter is an attempt to discuss the degree to which contemporary innovations in sociolinguistics may prove their validity and flexibility in the field of assessing historical evidence. Finally, the chapter seeks to discuss the methodology proposed for this research.

1. Ethnolingustic framework — contemporary studies of historical evidence

It can be argued that the best setting and methodology for conducting ethnolinguistic research remains unchanged since Bronisław Malinowski’s fieldwork, carried out at the beginning of the twentieth century. As James Clifford (1988: 22–23) observes, though, this approach is essentially faulty and does not allow for a good grasp of the issue at hand. The main objection raised by Clifford is the very essence of ethnographic methodology, contained within the “civilised” perception of reality. Research conducted outside European civilisational circles tends to ignore a multitude of aspects in the course...

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.

Do you have any questions? Contact us.

Or login to access all content.