Regional variation and change in the history of English strong verbs

Goundry, Katrin (2016) Regional variation and change in the history of English strong verbs. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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This thesis investigates how the strong verb system inherited from Old English evolved in the regional dialects of Middle English (ca. 1100-1500).
Old English texts preserve a relatively complex system of strong verbs, in which traditionally seven different ablaut classes are distinguished. This system becomes seriously disrupted from the Late Old English and Early Middle English periods onwards. As a result, many strong verbs die out, or have their ablaut patterns affected by sound change and morphological analogy, or transfer to the weak conjugation. In my thesis, I study the beginnings of two of these developments in two strong verb classes to find out what the evidence from Middle English regional dialects can tell us about their origins and diffusion.
Chapter 2 concentrates on the strong-to-weak shift in Class III verbs, and investigates to what extent strong, mixed and weak past tense and participle forms vary in Middle English dialects, and whether the variation is more pronounced in the paradigms of specific verbs or sub-classes. Chapter 3 analyses the regional distribution of ablaut levelling in strong Class IV verbs throughout the Middle English period. The Class III and IV data for the Early Middle English period are drawn from A Linguistic Atlas of Early Middle English, and the data for the Late Middle English period from a sub-corpus of files from The Penn-Helsinki Parsed Corpus of Middle English and The Middle English Grammar Corpus. Furthermore, The English Dialect Dictionary and Grammar are consulted as an additional reference point to find out to what extent the Middle English developments are reflected in Late Modern English dialects.
Finally, referring to modern insights into language variation and change and linguistic interference, Chapter 4 discusses to what extent intra- and extra-linguistc factors, such as token and type frequency, stem structure and language contact, might correlate with the strong-to-weak shift and ablaut levelling in Class III and IV verbs in the Middle English period.
The thesis is accompanied by six appendices that contain further information about my distinction of Middle English dialect areas (Appendix A), historical Class III and IV verbs (B and C) and the text samples and linguistic data from the Middle English text corpora (D, E and F).

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: strong verbs, Middle English, historical linguistics, dialectology, variation and change, language contact.
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
P Language and Literature > PE English
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts > School of Critical Studies > English Language and Linguistics
Supervisor's Name: Smith, Professor Jeremy
Date of Award: 2016
Embargo Date: 3 November 2019
Depositing User: Ms Katrin Goundry
Unique ID: glathesis:2016-7764
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 04 Nov 2016 14:30
Last Modified: 30 Nov 2016 16:02

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