An Atlas of Alexander J. Ellis's
The Existing Phonology of English Dialects
About (Æ)

Ellis's Methods



About the Atlas of Ellis's The Existing Phonology of English Dialects

(Æ) is an online atlas of the dialect data contained in the 5th part of Alexander J. Ellis's monumental On Early English Pronunciation. This part, The Existing Phonology of English Dialects, Compared with that of West Saxon English (EPED), was published in two volumes in 1889, and constitutes the earliest linguistic survey of English and Scots dialects, predating the Survey of English Dialects and the Linguistic Survey of Scotland by 80 years. The significance of Ellis's work is indicated by the early date of his survey (conducted in the 1870s), the number of locations he surveyed in Britain and Ireland (almost 500), and the size of the EPED (923 pages of dense data and discussion in small type).

The EPED is not easy to use, and it is not at all obvious what the mass of data contained within it tells us. One obvious way of finding out is to interpret the data in cartographic form. It is my hope that this website, which does exactly that, will open up the EPED for other researchers and will help in the evaluation of Ellis's work.

This website has been created by Dr Warren Maguire, a lecturer in Linguistics and English Language, in the School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences at the University of Edinburgh. The construction of the Atlas is on-going, and new maps will be added at regular intervals. You are free to use the maps on this website for your own research, publications or websites but, if you do, you must reference this website ( AND the following publication:

Maguire, Warren. 2012b. Mapping The Existing Phonology of English Dialects. Dialectologia et Geolinguistica 20, 84-107.

You should also consult this paper for further details concerning the rationale and methods underlying this online atlas. All maps on this website have been created using Alan Morton's DMAP software. They are based on the data in the EPED, in Ellis (1869: 1230-1243) and in Staples (1896). Comments welcome!

Warren Maguire (

All maps on this website are © Warren Maguire. See About (Æ) for further information.