Language variation in late Middle English manuscripts
A case study of Pricke of Conscience
My PhD aims to provide a dialectology and a paleography analysis of the late Middle English work Pricke of Conscience, a religious text written in the 14th C. in the Northumbrian area of medieval England. The study combines three main strands, described below.
(I) Middle English dialectology. Given the (alleged) northern origin of the poem, it will be relevant to study the dialect of the text. To this end, I will draw a comparative analysis of five copies of Pricke of Conscience presumably belonging to different linguistic localizations in medieval England. I will pay special attention to internal variation regarding orthography/phonology, morphology and lexicon.
(II) Medieval paleography. The poem Pricke of Conscience is said to be one of the manuscripts of which more copies were made in late Middle English (C14th-15th). For my analysis of the five regional copies, I will discuss issues related to scribal tradition and scribal schools, together with a detailed physical description of each manuscript.
(III) Digital Humanities. In line with recent trends in library archive studies and historical linguistics, I will make use of digital collections of medieval manuscripts and I will provide a two-fold transliteration in TXT and XML formats, following the encoding practices in TEI (lite) P5, as well as a morpho-lexical glossary.