” … This is the first publication of the first phase of LAEME, in the form of an interactive website. LAEME aims to present information about the variation in space and time of linguistic forms found in early Middle English texts. We take early Middle English to cover the period ca. 1150-1325. LAEME is a phased publication and not all its facilities are yet complete and active. This version, 1.1, is described below with indications of what is to follow.

LAEME is a ‘daughter’ atlas of A Linguistic Atlas of Late Mediaeval English, 1350-1450 (LALME), ed. Angus McIntosh, M.L. Samuels and Michael Benskin (Aberdeen: Aberdeen University Press; Edinburgh: Mercat Press) and deals with the period of written English immediately preceding that of LALME.

The other ‘daughter’ of LALME and companion web-site to this one is A Linguistic Atlas of Older Scots, v. 1.1 (LAOS), which deals with variation in written Older Scots.

Currently in preparation at the Insitute for Historical Dialectology, is a major revision of LALME, to be published also as a website.

What does LAEME contain?

• A theoretical and methodological Introduction, defining the contents of LAEME, outlining our procedures and theoretical orientation, and defining the contents of the LAEME Corpus of Tagged Texts (CTT) and the various sub-corpora within the atlas

• the LAEME corpus of lexico-grammatically tagged texts in searchable form in a database

• a searchable database (Index of Sources) containing information about the texts in the LAEME CTT

• a set of Tasks which allow you to search the databases

• a Manual which explains the operation of the software driving LAEME, with instructions on how to access parts of the corpus, extract forms and identify their manuscript sources, perform concordancing and dictionary-making operations and construct maps

• a Corpus of Etymologies (CE), which provides a narrative etymology (see Introduction chapter 8) for every form type in the LAEME CTT, and a Corpus of Changes, which explicates the phonological and morphological changes invoked in the CE

What can I do with LAEME?

LAEME will allow you to:

• search and retrieve linguistic data from its corpus of lexico-grammatically tagged texts

• search and retrieve data from the Index of Sources

• view maps showing the geographical distribution of linguistic features across space

• view and create chronological tables, graphs and charts showing the distribution of linguistic features through time.

Clicking on the LAEME title takes you to the main page. Here you will see a set of ‘Task bars’. Beside each Task is an information button. Clicking on the information beside a Task will give you information about the Task. You will also be able to view and browse the LAEME ‘Manual’ [in preparation and to be added shortly] on the banner at the top of the Main Page.

Further Information in brief

A full explication of LAEME may be found in the Introduction. This and all the other headings will appear after clicking on the LAEME icon on the Front Page. LAEME is based on the principles of medieval dialectology developed for A Linguistic Atlas of Late Mediaeval English (AUP/Mercat Press, 1986; LALME) but uses a corpus-based methodology, providing an entirely new interactive and dynamic component. Complete texts (or large samples of very long texts) have been diplomatically transcribed from original manuscripts or facsimiles. Each word and each derivational and inflectional morpheme in the text is lexico-grammatically tagged. The present LAEME CTT consists of 650,000 words tagged at this unprecedented level of detail, enabling investigations at all linguistic levels. The CTT is searchable on the website under LAEME TASKS: TAGGED TEXTS. From each tagged text is derived a text dictionary, which lists all the linguistic material in the tagged texts, arranged by lexico-grammatical tag. The text dictionaries are searchable under LAEME TASKS: TEXT DICTIONARIES. The full tagged texts and text dictionaries are also accessible from the individual entries in the Index of Sources, to be found on the website under Auxiliary Data Sets. Considerable editorial and textual commentary accompanies each tagged text. The corpus has provided the source material for all the related publications listed in the LAEME bibliography (to be found on the website under Auxiliary Data Sets).

What is still to come?

Incomplete facilities

1. Maps

The core of LAEME is the CTT, which so far represents 167 distinct text languages from 105 manuscripts. It is hoped that more may be added in the future. It has been possible to localise for mapping 111 text languages. A set of canonical maps (to be supplied in phases by the project team) may then be directly compared to those in LALME. It is hoped that a future facility will enable users to make their own maps using software provided. All text languages (whether localised or not) are available from the start for other forms of linguistic, textual or literary study.

2. Introduction

The Introduction to LAEME (including downloadable .pdf files of each chapter) may be found on the website under Introduction. The Preface and Acknowledgements and Chapters 1-4 and 8 are available now. Chapters 5-7 on mapping and other forms of data display are forthcoming.

3. Key to the Tags

A basic key to the grammatical elements of the tags (Grammel Key) is available under Auxiliary Data Sets. A full key to the tags is in progress, the first two sections being already available.

4. Corpora of Etymologies and Changes

These are currently under construction, but exemplary material is available on the website under Auxiliary Data Sets. Links between these two corpora and to the Tag Key and CTT will be provided at a later stage.

Copyright and Citation

LAEME is intended as a non-commercial research and teaching resource. We ask you to respect the materials you use in the same way that you would those in a printed book, with appropriate citation and regard for copyright. The LAEME website and its materials are the copyright of The University of Edinburgh. For information about citing LAEME please go to Citing LAEME and for important information about copyright please read the LAEME Copyright statement.”

A Linguistic Atlas of Early Middle English
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