Variation, Contact and Change
Late medieval dialectal and obsolescent spellings in the early sixteenth-century editions of the Kalender of Shepherdes: Hanna Rutkowska
Hanna RutkowskaAdam Mickiewicz University
Late medieval dialectal and obsolescent spellings in the sixteenth-century editions of the Kalender of Shepherdes
The present paper discusses the results of a quantitative corpus-based study concerning the remnants of late medieval dialectal spellings in several editions of an early printed almanac entitled the Kalender of Shepherdes (henceforth Kalender or KS).1 In most late fifteenth-century and early sixteenth-century documents, due to “the growth of standardization and displacement of local usage” (Samuels 1981: 43), dialectal spellings are already rare. Nonetheless, in the corpus under consideration it has been possible to identify several spellings which are either associated with the focused varieties of written English which emerged in Late Middle English, labelled Types I-IV by Samuels ( 1969: 404–18), or otherwise localisable dialectally. The lexemes represented by such spellings, recorded in the documents subject to analysis, include ANY (a. and pron.), ASK (v.), MANY (a. and n.), MUCH (a., n. and pron.), NOT (adv.), and SHOULD (v.). Additionally, dialectal spellings covered by this discussion comprise the graphemic forms of verbal and nominal inflectional endings.
The corpus for this study comprises seven sixteenth-century editions of the Kalender, a comprehensive compendium of prose and verse texts on a variety of subjects, including those printed by Richard Pynson (1506), Julian Notary (c. 1518), Wynkyn de Worde (1528), William Powell (1556), and four different printers for John Wally (c. 1570–1585).2 The corpus contains 466,600 words, and ← 129 | 130...
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