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Approaches to Middle English

Variation, Contact and Change


Juan Camilo Conde-Silvestre and Javier Calle-Martín

This volume contains a selection of papers presented at the 8th International Conference of Middle English, held in Spain at the University of Murcia in 2013. The contributions embrace a variety of research topics and approaches, with a particular interest in multilingualism, multidialectalism and language contact in medieval England, together with other more linguistically-oriented approaches on the phonology, syntax, morphology, semantics and pragmatics of Middle English. The volume gives a specialized stance on various aspects of the Middle English language and reveals how the interdisciplinary confluence of different approaches can shed light on manifold evidences of variation, contact and change in the period.
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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 ([1963] 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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