A study of dialect levelling in some fifteenth-century Yorkshire documents

The present paper analyses some patterns of linguistic change found in fifteenth-century Yorkshire documents. It reconsiders the widely held view that the loss of dialectally marked features in written English during this period was the result of language standardisation implemented by the Chancery. This paper presents an alternative view, suggesting that variation and change of the language in the selected documents demonstrate the occurrence of dialect levelling as a result of dialect contact rather than an imitating of a ‘standard’ model of English.

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