LINGUIST List 28.1405

Tue Mar 21 2017

Calls: Historical Linguistics/Spain

Editor for this issue: Sarah Robinson <>

Date: 20-Mar-2017
From: Sara M. Pons-Sanz <>
Subject: Workshop on Medieval Northern English
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Full Title: Workshop on Medieval Northern English

Date: 06-Nov-2017 - 07-Nov-2017
Location: Seville, Spain
Contact Person: Julia Fernández Cuesta
Meeting Email: < click here to access email >

Linguistic Field(s): Historical Linguistics

Subject Language(s): English

Call Deadline: 01-May-2017

Meeting Description:

Northern English, like mainland Scandinavian languages, is characterised by its tendency towards analyticity from its earliest stages, as evidenced already in the written records from the Old Northumbrian period (7th-10th centuries). There is no general agreement about the causes/motives for the early development of northern English (whether the result of language contact or language internal change, or both). It has been argued that contact with both Celtic and Scandinavian languages may have been responsible for the early processes of change (morphological simplification, loss of grammatical gender and grammaticalisation) in these varieties (Thomason and Kaufman 1988, McWhorter 2007, Trudgill 2011, Benskin 2011), but there is no general consensus as to the reasons for the changes and the period in which they started. Quantitative analysis of our medieval witnesses against the socio-cultural background in which they were written (as well as re-examination of the actual manuscripts) may shed light on many of these questions.

Medieval northern English is also characterized by its rich vocabulary, as attested in toponyms as well as various texts penned throughout the period, from the late Old Northumbrian glosses to various fourteenth- and fifteenth-century texts. Much work has been done on the identification of Celtic, Norse, French and Latin loans, and the stylistic effects arising from their use (e.g. Turville-Petre 1977: Chapter 4, Pons-Sanz 2000, and the Gersum Project:, but, as is the case with morphosyntactic issues, we can only gain a better understanding of contemporary attitudes towards the effects of multilingualism by such studies in a wider context that also considers other issues related to the texts’ linguistic, cultural and sociohistorical milieu.

Following the seminar on the Lindisfarne Gospel Gloss, organised at the University of Westminster (Fernández Cuesta & Pons-Sanz 2016), we now announce a second workshop on Old and Middle Northern English, which will take place at the University of Seville on 6-7 November 2017.

Keynote speakers:

Prof. Carole Hough (University of Glasgow)
Dr. Peter Stokes (King’s College, London)


Benskin, Michael. 2011. “Present Indicative Plural Concord in Brittonic and Early English”. Transactions of the Philological Society 109: 158‒185.
Fernández Cuesta, Julia & Sara Pons-Sanz (eds) 2016. The Old English Gloss to the Lindisfarne Gospels: Language, Author and Context. De Gruyter Mouton.
McWhorter, John H. 2007. Language Interrupted: Signs of Non-native Acquisition in Standard Language Grammars. Oxford: OUP.
Pons-Sanz, Sara M. 2000. Analysis of the Scandinavian Loanwords in the Aldredian Glosses to the Lindisfarne Gospels. Valencia: Department of English and German Philology (University of Valencia).
Thomason, Sarah G. and Terrence Kaufman. 1988. Language Contact, Creolization, and Genetic Linguistics. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.
Turville-Petre, Thorlac. 1977. The Alliterative Revival. Cambridge: Brewer.
Trudgill, Peter. 2011. Sociolinguistic Typology: Social Determinants of Linguistic Complexity. Oxford: OUP.

Call for Papers:

We welcome papers (20 mins + 10 mins discussion) on the conference theme. Please note that the chronological scope of the papers ranges between Old and Middle English. Possible focus areas include:

- Northern English and language contact with Celtic, Old Norse and French. The effects of language contact on the spelling, phonology, morphosyntax, lexis and pragmatics of Northern Old and Middle English.
- Northern Middle English as a radical analytical language /creole language?
- Northern English texts in context. Cultural and socio-historical context of northern English texts and linguistic analysis.
- Glossing practices and translation. The influence of translation on the development of written English.
- Northern Middle English and Older Scots

Abstracts of approx. 250 words (excluding references) should be sent to Julia Fernández Cuesta ( and Sara Pons-Sanz ( by 1 May 2017.

Page Updated: 21-Mar-2017