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Language Contact and Vocabulary Enrichment

Scandinavian Elements in Middle English

Series:

Isabel Moskowich

The Scandinavian presence all over Europe during the so-called Viking Age is well documented and England is not an exception. However, the influence of their language on the development of English has not always been well interpreted. This volume aims at deciphering the reality behind the legend of a raiding heathen nation. By resorting to the evidence provided by language, the book explores and tries to reconstruct the social networks formed by both the English and Scandinavians. Their relations, needs and lives are inextricably intermingled with the hybrid tongue they adapted for communication and which has largely come down to us in what we know as English.

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Chapter Four: The corpus

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Chapter Four The corpus 1. Plan and method As stated above, the corpus of data for the present analysis has been extracted from the Middle English Dictionary edited by Hans Kurath. Publication of the dictionary began in 1956, and from 1963 onwards the team was directed by Sherman M. Kuhn, Robert E. Lewis and others. The new paper edition (1984-) adds new texts and records to the original 1956 corpus and also modi- fies the dating criteria and entries by the use of abbreviated titles and stencils. Three types of entries are added: those that had not been included in the 1956 edition and those published later than that; entries for editions that the team considered to be better; and some modification of stencils since 1956. All the terms under , and and their corresponding entries constitute the records for my corpus. I am conscious that the fact of not in- cluding entries beginning with (with forms such as fra) and , or those words with initial (most of which are of Scandinavian origin), seems to limit the number of records in the data available. The samples in the entries amount to 100,000 words and have been sorted into 5,295 different records. The database includes the following fields: FORM: includes the form itself as well as its possible spelling variants as they are in the MED. CONSTRUCTION: whenever there is one, it includes the typical construction or collocation in which it may be found in texts. ETYMOLOGY: includes the information...

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