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Neophilologus

, Volume 92, Issue 4, pp 713–727 | Cite as

Transitional Areas and Social History in Middle English Dialectology: The Case of Lincolnshire

  • Juan Camilo Conde-Silvestre
  • Maria Dolores Pérez-Raja
Article

Abstract

Medieval Lincolnshire is an interesting area in linguistic terms, not only because the boundary between the Northern and East Midland dialects in ME possibly ran horizontally across the shire, but also because historical dialectologists have proposed that some linguistic features could have diffused into it from the south, the west and the north. In this paper, we intend to reconstruct some socio-historical aspects of late Anglo-Saxon and early Norman Lincolnshire (c.900–c.1250) which could have contributed to this linguistic panorama in ME. Not disregarding the proposal that patterns of Danish settlement and contact between OE and ON could have affected the diffusion of innovations throughout this shire, attention will be given to other aspects of the process: (a) the characteristics of the medieval landscape which, by hindering or favouring communication, may have conditioned the distribution of language variants; (b) aspects of early political history and their possible linguistic sequels; and, mainly, (c) the specific socio-economic and demographic characteristics of the area which could have favoured the spread of linguistic features by promoting the concentration of people in urban settlements as well as the mobility of speakers and, in general, the loosening of some close-knit networks of interpersonal relations and the establishment of weaker ties between individuals.

Keywords

Middle English Historical dialectology Social history Historical sociolinguistics Lincolnshire 

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Notes

Acknowledgements

This is an extended version of a paper delivered at the Conference of the International Society of Anglo-Saxonists (ISAS) held in London (August 2007) and we are grateful to Stephen Baxter, Tony Healey and David Pratt for their suggestions and comments. The authors also wish to acknowledge the financial support of Fundación Séneca, Agencia Regional de Ciencia y Tecnología, Región de Murcia (Spain) (Programa de Apoyo a la Investigación en Humanidades y Ciencias Sociales 2006, Project 02597).

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Juan Camilo Conde-Silvestre
    • 1
  • Maria Dolores Pérez-Raja
    • 1
  1. 1.Departamento de Filogía Inglesa, Facultad de LetrasUniversidad de MurciaMurciaSpain

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