Article

Evidence from sources after 1500

Joan C. Beal

in The Oxford Handbook of the History of English

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780199922765
Published online November 2012 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199922765.013.0006

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Linguistics

Evidence from sources after 1500

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In the history of the English language, the period after 1500 is generally known as Modern English, which is often subdivided into Early (1500–1700) and Late (1700–1900) Modern English. Unlike the periods before 1500, the Modern English period has bequeathed a rich legacy of written material, so that, even before the advent of electronic corpora, it was possible to compile large datasets for the study of variation in lexicon, syntax, and morphology. This article examines the nature of evidence for the pronunciation of English after 1500. It shows that the different types of direct and indirect evidence all have their advantages and disadvantages, but that together they provide insights into English pronunciation in the Modern English period. The direct evidence from pronouncing dictionaries and elocution guides of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries is particularly valuable.

Keywords: English; history; Modern English; lexicon; syntax; morphology; pronunciation; dictionaries; elocution; linguistics; evidence

Article.  5670 words. 

Subjects: Linguistics ; Historical and Diachronic Linguistics

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