OLD & MIDDLE ENGLISH

Edited by Segolene Gence and Anna-Nadine Pike, with contributions from Dr Daniella Gonzalez.

Welcome to our page dedicated to Old English and Middle English. In this section you will find linguistic tools and dictionaries to help you approach Old English and Middle English corpus. If you wish to explore our literature pages dedicated to the Early Medieval period and to the Late Medieval period in England, please click on the following buttons.

 
 

Old English

Bosworth-Toller Dictionary of Old English - This project, initiated in 2001, digitises the work An Anglo-Saxon dictionary, based on the manuscript collections of the late Joseph Bosworth (first edition 1898), together with its Supplement (ed. 1921), edited by J. Bosworth and T. Northcote Toller.

 

Corpus of Narrative Etymologies (The University of Edinburgh) - Developed by the compilers of LAEME (Linguistic Atlas of Early Middle English), CoNE and its accompanying Corpus of Changes (CC) record specific developments in language, whether orthographical, phonological, or morphological, through which the earliest forms of Old English developed into those recorded in LAEME.

 

The Dictionary of Old English - The DOE covers the period 600-1150, and is a project from the University of Toronto designed to complement the Middle English Dictionary (1100-1500) and the Oxford English Dictionary.

 

The Épinal-Erfurt Glossary Project - The Épinal-Erfurt Glossary provides a Latin-Old English glossary as preserved in Cambridge, Corpus Christi College, MS 144. The Project is ongoing, and letters A-D have currently been edited. The Glossary is also available in its entirety through the Internet Archive, as Latin-Anglo-Saxon Glossary, from the MS 144, preserved in the Library of Corpus Christ College, Cambridge, edited by J. H Hessels (Cambridge, 1890).

 

Gersum - The Scandinavian Influence on English Vocabulary. Database of words in major late Middle English poems derived from Old Norse. 

 

Napier’s Old English Lexicography - Napier, Arthur S., Contributions to old English lexicography (Hertford: Printed by Stephen Austin & Sons, 1906).

 

The Old-English Dictionary A online version of the PhD Thesis by Mary L. Johnson, A Modern English - Old English Dictionary, first published in 1927. 


A Thesaurus of Old English(Glasgow: University of Glasgow, 2017).

Teachers of Old English in Britain and Ireland - TOEBI brings together a selection of language resources, manuscript collections, full texts and links to blogs and other media, curated for the teaching of Old English literature and language.

Middle English

In this section, you will notice that some resources touch upon different time periods for Middle English. It is in fact because Middle English is considered to have evolved over three stages: Early Middle English from the twelfth to mid-thirteenth century, Central Middle English from the mid-thirteenth to the end of the fourteenth century, and Late Middle English in the fifteenth century. The Central Middle English period, for example, saw the formation of literary and regional dialects (such as the London dialect displayed in Chaucer's writings) as well as an increased assimilation of Anglo-Norman vocabulary into its lexis. On this note, it is important to remember that Old English and Middle English were not the only languages spoken in England over the course of its medieval history, and languages such as Latin, Anglo-Norman, and Cornish were also commonly spoken across different periods of time in medieval England. If you are interest on multilingualism in England, we encourage you to visit the online exhibition Multilingual Medieval England by Yale University Library.

Linguistic Atlas of Late Medieval English (LALME), University of Edinburgh - The project maps local dialectal variations in English spellings between 1325 and 1450, with sources examined having unique ‘LALME’ numbers for quick identification. The site includes an index of sources examined, maps, the linguistic profiles of individual geographical areas, and dictionaries by county. A valuable resource when considering regional linguistic variety or specificity, or the geographical origin of a particular text. 

 

See also the Linguistic Atlas of Early Medieval English, 1150-1325 (LAEME), available here.

 

See also the Linguistic Atlas of Older Scots, 1380-1500 (LAOS), available here.

Please note that, although the above-mentioned platforms are associated together, Old Scot is a linguistic and literary tradition, different from English literary tradition and northern dialects.

 

Middle English Compendium - Contains the following online resources: the Middle English Dictionary, a Bibliography of Middle English prose and verse, and a Corpus of Middle English Prose and Verse.

Middle English Dictionary - The MED offers a valuable database of English lexicon and usage between 1100 and 1500, and is part of the Middle English Compendium by the University of Michigan. 

 

Middle English Grammar Corpus - A corpus of samples of English texts dated from 1300-1500, from the University of Stavanger. The corpus uses texts localised through LALME, but also incorporates earlier texts, and those showing non-regional varieties of Middle English. A manual for use, catalogues, and the corpus itself, in a readable format, are all downloadable from the main site, above.

 

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Resource page updated by Segolene Gence - last updated 14/01/21