On scriptae: correlating spelling and script in late Middle English

Smith, J. (2020) On scriptae: correlating spelling and script in late Middle English. Revista Canaria de Estudios Ingleses, 80, pp. 13-27. (doi: 10.25145/j.recaesin.2020.80.0)

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Abstract

In 1963, Michael Samuels identified a sequence of late Middle English spelling-patterns that he termed “types of incipient standard”. Other “types” have since been identified, e.g. in copies of John Gower’s Confessio Amantis and Nicholas Love’s Mirror of the Life of Christ. This article argues that manuscripts containing such texts, which were also transmitted in distinctive forms of handwriting and in similar codicological contexts, were products of identifiable communities of practice, and that the correlation of spelling and handwriting such manuscripts manifest represented “expressive” usages characteristic of particular kinds of discourse. Such scriptae, as they might be called, seem to “function as markers of difference and belonging, and be involved in the creation of identities at different levels of social organisation” (Sebba 36). This paper attempts to bring paleography and book history into the realm of linguistic enquiry, as part of a reimagined philology.

Item Type:Articles
Keywords:Writing-systems, spelling, palaeography, communities of practice, scriptae, reimagined philology.
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Smith, Professor Jeremy
Authors: Smith, J.
Subjects:P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
P Language and Literature > PE English
College/School:College of Arts > School of Critical Studies > English Language and Linguistics
Journal Name:Revista Canaria de Estudios Ingleses
Publisher:Universidad de la Laguna
ISSN:0211-5913
ISSN (Online):2530-8335
Published Online:23 April 2020
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2020 The Author
First Published:First published in Revista Canaria de Estudios Ingleses 80: 13-27
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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