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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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The author would like to sincerely thank the following people and institutions:

Professors Judith Jesch and Christina Lee (University of Nottingham) — for inspiring talks, guidance and invaluable aid in the course of my research in Nottingham,

Professor Adam Jaworski (Cardiff University, The University of Hong Kong) — for his kind help in conducting fieldwork in the Welsh landscape,

Professor Piotr P. Chruszczewski — for his immense help, guidance and supervision in the course of writing,

Professors Piotr Gąsiorowski (Adam Mickiewicz University), Michał Post (Philological School of Higher Education) and Aleksander Szwedek (University of Social Sciences) – for their valuable insights, comments and supportive remarks that proved to be invaluable in completing this work,

Professors Sioned Davies, Dylan Foster-Evans (Cardiff University) and Mark Redknap (National Museum Wales, Cardiff) — for encouraging discussions and suggestions on the subject of early literacy in Wales,

Professor Michael P. Barnes (University College London) — for an inspiring discussion over a friendly lunch and his introduction to runology,

Professor Denise Schmandt-Besserat – for immense feedback and fascinating talks on the origins of writing,

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