BL Egerton 650: Linguistic Profile

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another Brut manuscript I've looked at, Bodley 840, localised to Essex in another Brut manuscript I've looked at, Bodley 840, localised to Essex in
LALME but with a clear stratum of SW Mids language (there are 2 scribes LALME but with a clear stratum of SW Mids language (there are 2 scribes
-here, not 1 as in LALME). +here, not 1 as in LALME). </br>
Dr S. Horobin (Email to Dr Jason O'Rourke) Dr S. Horobin (Email to Dr Jason O'Rourke)

Revision as of 10:50, 11 May 2006

Linguistic Profile by Dr Simon Horobin:

Overall the language of the 2 scribes is a mixture of dialect features which is probably the reason why neither appears in LALME. There is however a fairly clear Midlands stratum, though it really could be Western or Eastern: there are forms pointing either way. The majority of such forms tend to point to the North Midlands counties, though in some cases there are alternative forms which are more Southerly. For instance there are 2 forms for 'much': 'mekill' (a Northern form, probably pointing to Norfolk, Ely, Lincs) and the more Southerly 'moche'). It may be that these 2 layers represent different scribal inputs, ie the scribe's own forms and those of his more Southerly exemplar. However it might be that the scribe's dialect tolerated both forms and that he belongs in a border area, ie the Southerly limit of the North Midlands: somewhere in the Central Midlands. Clearly Northern features are the 3rd person plural pronoun paradigm 'yai', 'yair' and 'yaim' whose Southerly limits are Cheshire in the West and Lincs in the East. Other Northern forms are 'strengh', 'enogh', 'emong' which can all be found in the Cheshire area in the West, or Lincs in the East. Other forms are more Northerly still, such as 'awne' which is more likely to be Lancs in the West, 'yedre' is found in Ely, Lincs, Norfolk, and Yorks while 'yrogh' is recorded only in Cheshire and Lancs. Scribe B's language contains a largely similar mix with a few forms not found in the folios of A that I've got. These forms tend to reinforce the North/Central Midlands localisation, eg 'gyffyn', which is fairly well-attested in this general area. The mixture of <g> and <y> forms of the verb 'give' probably also derive from this border area, although, as with the 2 forms for 'much' above, they could represent differences in the language of the scribe and his exemplar. The addition of unetymological <h> in 'hall' is interesting as this is a feature that tends to be associated with the South-West Midlands, though it's also found in East Anglia. So I would tend to place the scribe(s) somewhere in the North/Central Midlands, but don't think I can be any more specific than that. However there are possible traces of a more Southerly (SW Mids?) dialect, probably that of the exemplar, which might emerge more clearly in an analysis of a larger chunk of the text. There's a similar situation in another Brut manuscript I've looked at, Bodley 840, localised to Essex in LALME but with a clear stratum of SW Mids language (there are 2 scribes here, not 1 as in LALME). </br> Dr S. Horobin (Email to Dr Jason O'Rourke)

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