The use of name evidence in lexicography: comparative analysis of onomastic data for historical and contemporary Scots

Cuthbertson, Katherine M.E. (2018) The use of name evidence in lexicography: comparative analysis of onomastic data for historical and contemporary Scots. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Both personal and place names have been cited as potentially valuable resources for lexicography and, in recent years, lexicographers have given greater attention to onomastic evidence. However, there remains uncertainty over how relevant such material is with a key question being the extent to which the language of the onomasticon represents the everyday lexicon.
This thesis addresses the issue of how useful onomastic evidence is for lexicography through investigating its usage in Scots. Being relatively poorly documented in terms of literary records, the lexicography of Scots is ideally positioned to benefit from name evidence. The main body of the thesis comprises three case studies. The first examines bynames and surnames from the medieval period to the nineteenth century. A quantitative analysis is carried out of these names to establish the period of denotative bynaming in Scotland before presenting new lexicographical evidence found in the names. The next case study is focused on Kinross shire field names from farms surveyed in the 1970s as well as the 1700s and 1800s. The analysis in this second study is more qualitative than in the first; both literal and figurative language in the field names is compared with the lexicon through the Scottish Corpus of Text and Speech (SCOTS). A number of Scottish field name elements and their contribution to Scots lexicography are also discussed in more detail. The final case study traces the development of street names in the west central belt of Scotland from the late eighteenth century through to the present day. The language of the street names is compared to the lexicon using SCOTS and both diachronic and geographic contrasts are noted.
In comparing the findings from these three case studies, it is found that the language used to coin names broadly reflects the lexicon in terms of both literal and figurative usages. Yet, there are contrasts in the evidential value of each type of name. Street names provide the least in terms of new evidence and often placed greater weight on connotative rather than denotative meaning. The field names study, though, does offer evidence for Scots lexis and semantics. Although they were the most ambiguous in terms of meaning, the bynames and surnames contained the highest quantity of lexicographical evidence, particularly for the pre literary Scots period.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Lexicography, onomastics, bynames, surnames, field names, street names.
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts > School of Critical Studies > English Language and Linguistics
Funder's Name: Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC)
Supervisor's Name: Hough, Professor Carole and Anderson, Professor Wendy and Grant, Doctor Alison
Date of Award: 2018
Depositing User: Katherine Cuthbertson
Unique ID: glathesis:2018-74257
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 26 Jun 2019 12:10
Last Modified: 13 Aug 2019 09:45

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