Revised on-line edition of A Linguistic Atlas of Late Mediaeval English

Lead Research Organisation: University of Edinburgh
Department Name: Sch of Philosophy Psychology & Language


A LINGUISTIC ATLAS OF LATE MEDIAEVAL ENGLISH (McIntosh, Samuels and Benskin: 1986) comprises four volumes and offers a conspectus of the dialectal variation to be found in written Middle English between ca 1350 and ca 1450. It lists and maps an inventory of linguistic forms (derived from a questionnaire of 300 items) from the written outputs of over 1,000 scribes. It has become an indispensible reference tool to scholars working on the language and literature of the Middle English period.

The aim of the present project is to make this invaluable resource more accessible and flexible as an interactive website (e-LALME). e-LALME will be available to every user from their own desktop and will be linked to a Linguistic Atlas of Early Middle English (LAEME) and a Linguistic Atlas of Older Scots (LAOS) (to be on-line in 2007). In addition links may be made to the on-line open-access dictionaries: the Dictionary of the Scots Language, the Middle English Compendium and the Anglo-Norman Dictionary.There is also the possibility of links to and from other related electronic resources, such as the Oxford English Dictionary. A link to the on-going Middle English Grammar Project's database (Glasgow / Stavanger) is envisaged.

e-LALME will be a digitized, on-line version of the present volumes, corrected and variously augmented. It will include more canonical maps than the present volumes, and the potential for users to make maps to their own specifications from the e-LALME data-base. The corrections will include review, and possible revision, of problematic localizations of some scribal dialects. It is intended that in e-LALME the summary descriptions of sources will be searchable not only by manuscript, repository and place of dialectal origin, but additionally will permit searches organised by manuscript date, by text, by edition and other bibliographical information, and by persons and places.

Software already under development will be provided to allow users to apply the 'fit' technique computationally, for localizing and evaluating dialectal material not so far incorporated in the atlas.

Like LAEME and LAOS, e-LALME will also have direct links to a Corpus of Etymologies being compiled by Roger Lass. For each spelling-type of each word listed in e-LALME there will be an etymology tracing its history back to the period of the earliest English, including an etymological pathway related to a linked Corpus of Sound Changes.

e-LALME will provide a powerful resource not only for dialectology, but also for historical linguistics and socio-linguistics, medieval literature and historical studies. Further, its general accessibility and flexibility will make it a valuable interactive tool for teaching the History of English.


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Title Index of manuscript sources and searchable content of linguistic profiles are stored in MySQL database tables 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Provided To Others? No  
Description A project to investigate the Word Geography of Middle English is being carried by Dr María-José Carrillo Linares and Dr Edurne Garrido Anes both of the University of Huelva, Spain. 
Organisation University of Huelva
Country Spain 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Information taken from Final Report
Description The research profile of the Institute for Historical Dialectology and the large-scale atlas projects undertaken there, including eLALME, has led to further wide-reaching collaborative projects. 
Organisation University of Edinburgh
Department Institute for Historical Dialectology
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Information taken from Final Report