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Workshop on Medieval Northern English

Universidad de Sevilla (Spain)

6 - 7 November 2017

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, 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