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The Rise of the East Midlands Dialect

 
 
  • The common element of all different influences (Chancery English, Chaucer, and the Bible) is the East Midlands dialect and the dialect of the London area in particular
 
  • The influence of a capital city is always critical in the emergence of a standard
 
  • London was the place where three dialect areas met – Southern, South-Eastern, and East Midlands
 
  • The written “London dialect” which emerged from around 1400 was far closer to the writing characteristic of the East Midlands area than of any other
 
  • The East Midlands had always been the most populated and the most prosperous part of the country
 
  • Strong agricultural and textile centres developed there during the early Middle Ages
 
  • The capital opened up prospects for a better quality of life for people from other parts of the country
 
  • People travelled to London from all over the country, but the majority would have been from the Midlands area
 
  • After the series of plague outbreaks between 1348 and 1375 there was an employment vacuum in London
 
  • During the 1400s the dialect character of London became increasingly Midlandish
 
  • The Midlands dialect was easier for most people to understand, as a communication conduit between Northern and Southern speech
 
  • An East Midlands accent in 1400 would not have sounded as provincial as the corresponding rural accent would today
 
  • It would have prestigious associations with the Universities of Cambridge and Oxford
 

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EMERGING STANDARD

  Middle English Dialects

  A Wide Range of Variant Forms

  "Organic" Rise of Standard

  Chief Standardizing Forces

  The Role of Chancery Standard

  The Rise of the East Midlands Dialect

  The Basis of Standard English

MIDDLE ENGLISH

  Middle English Subperiods

  French vs. English

  Geoffrey Chaucer

  Emerging Standard

  More

 

 
 
 
 

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