Anglicisation in the letters of Marie Stewart, Countess of Mar and her family: a sociolinguistic perspective

Elder, Claire M. (2022) Anglicisation in the letters of Marie Stewart, Countess of Mar and her family: a sociolinguistic perspective. MPhil(R) thesis, University of Glasgow.

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This study aims to further our understanding of the development of the Scots language by focusing on the family letters of the elite noblewoman, political influencer, patron of the arts and mother of 12, Marie Stewart, Countess of Mar (1576–1644). The multilingual circumstances of Stewart’s life as a French-born Jacobean courtier turned Scottish Covenanter establish her as a fascinating research subject. Stewart’s extant letters preserved in the National Library of Scotland archival collections, along with those sent by her husband John Erskine, 2nd Earl of Mar and their children, date from the first half of the seventeenth century and were written during the period of anglicisation in Scotland initiated by the Reformation and reinforced by the Union of the Crowns in 1603. Almost entirely overlooked by scholars until now, these remarkable manuscripts present a rare opportunity to explore how different members of the same family responded to the linguistic change. A historical sociolinguistic, pragmatic approach will uncover the conditioning factors that influenced the senders’ language, such as sex, recipient, and sender location. Corpus linguistic techniques track 23 iconic features of Early Modern Scots in a purpose-built corpus compiled from new diplomatic transcriptions of 47 manuscripts. Then a methodology that combines quantitative and qualitative variation analyses compares the senders’ use of linguistic forms. The dissertation concludes that micro-level studies of small numbers of language users can produce the nuanced picture that many scholars now consider necessary to pinpoint the complexity of what happens during linguistic change. The findings reveal a range of levels of anglicisation within a single family’s correspondence, their behaviour serving to augment our understanding of Scotland’s compelling linguistic history.

Item Type: Thesis (MPhil(R))
Qualification Level: Masters
Additional Information: Due to copyright restrictions the full text of this thesis is not available for viewing.
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PB Modern European Languages
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts & Humanities > School of Critical Studies > English Language and Linguistics
Supervisor's Name: Wiggins, Dr. Alison and Kopaczyk, Dr. Joanna
Date of Award: 2022
Depositing User: Theses Team
Unique ID: glathesis:2022-82801
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 08 Apr 2022 14:44
Last Modified: 08 Apr 2022 16:38
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.82801

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