About eLALME

What is eLALME?

eLALME is a revised on-line edition of A Linguistic Atlas of Mediaeval English (Atlas), by Angus McIntosh, M.L. Samuels and Michael Benskin, published in 1986 by Aberdeen University Press. The content of the original atlas, with revisions, corrections and additions, is here made available as a freely accessible website. For a more detailed orientation, and an introduction both to the materials used in the making of the Atlas and to the methodology adopted for its linguistic analysis, the user is referred to the General Introduction in volume 1 of the printed edition and to the separate introductions in the other three volumes. For copies of these please see the Original Atlas Introductions. These are also available from the eLALME main page. You can use your browser’s ‘Print’ function to make PDF versions. Please note that these introductions have not been updated to take account of changes and differences in eLALME.

What can I do with eLALME?

eLALME allows you to: search for and retrieve LPs and entries from the Index of Sources; create lists of the forms collected for the different Questionnaire items; view maps (both static and dynamic); create your own maps; ‘fit’ (i.e. localise) texts.

eLALME as a resource

eLALME is made available as a non-commercial research and teaching resource. We ask you to respect the materials you may use from it in the same way that you would those in a printed book, with appropriate citation and regard for copyright. The eLALME website and its materials are the copyright of the Authors and The University of Edinburgh. For information about citation, please go to Citing eLALME and for essential information about copyright please read the eLALME Copyright statement. Additions and revisions will continue to be made from time to time; see further eLALME Version.

What does eLALME contain?

Index of Sources (cf. Atlas, vol. 1). This is a database of manuscript and printed source materials, which were investigated in the making of the original Atlas and the present revised electronic edition. The database is searchable by field: e.g. manuscript (cf. Atlas, Repository List), date, hands, language, content. As in Atlas the amount of information available for each source varies considerably, so search results will be affected accordingly. The Index of Sources is also searchable by county (cf. Atlas County List).

Linguistic Profiles (cf. Atlas, vol. 3). Like the printed Atlas, eLALME has as its core a corpus of Linguistic Profiles (LPs). An LP is the result of examining texts for the occurrence of a set of predetermined linguistic criteria: the questionnaire. The LP lists all the forms for the questionnaire items recorded in the text analysed. A system of bracketing gives an indication of the relative frequency of forms recorded under an item. Unbracketed forms are sole or dominant forms; those within single parentheses occur approximately between a third and two-thirds as often as the dominant form(s); and forms within double parentheses occur less than one third as often as dominant form(s). LPs can be searched for by County or by LP number.

The original questionnaire was made up of a partial merger of those items used for the northern area of survey (the responsibility of McIntosh) and those used for the southern area of survey (the responsibility of Samuels). The Atlas questionnaire has been somewhat modified for eLALME. To facilitate electronic search and retrieval, sub-items (such as past tenses and past participles of verbs) have been given separate sub-item numbers. For the same reason, the Atlas number range of 280 has been extended in order to incorporate the originally separate Appendix of Southern forms. eLALME items 323–425 were all originally part of this Appendix. It must be recognised that forms listed in these categories were noted as objects of interest, but were not usually collected systematically. Where lexical items in the Southern Appendix match those in the main questionnaire, they have been incorporated into the main number series (1–322). If they represent only a sub-set of forms they are given a separate sub-item number and an explanatory title. Such titles are marked with an asterisk to indicate that (as for the 323–425 sequence) the data recorded were not collected systematically. In the original appendix of southern forms appearing at the end of vol. 4 of the printed Atlas, the presence of the (sub-)item was frequently recorded only as the (sub-)item title, followed by a list of LPs in which it was found. In other words, for these (sub-)items in these LPs no actual forms were recorded. In eLALME, for any such item in the 323–425 series (or any asterisked sub-item in the 1-322 series), the fact of the appearance of the item (in some unspecified form) is recorded as X. For those southern LPs that have been made anew for eLALME, actual forms have been recorded for the relevant (sub-)items; so there will often be a mixture of actual forms (for a few LPs) and X (for the majority).

If a user wishes to localise an LP made from the analysis of a text not in Atlas or in eLALME, the Fitting function provides a simple interactive mechanism for the attempt. This function is designed to be transparent in its working and it is hoped that it will be useful for teaching and learning.

County Dictionary (cf. Atlas, vol. 4). The contents of the LPs are here arranged by item with all the variant forms listed alphabetically and each form followed by the reference number of the LP in which it is found grouped under the abbreviated labels for county in which they have been localised. Where the form occurs in the LPs within frequency brackets, this is indicated by enclosing the reference number of the relevant LP within corresponding brackets.

Item List. This is similar to the County Dictionary but here the forms for each item (in the same format as in the LPs) are listed next to the reference number (in plain numerical order) of the LP in which they are found.

Dot Maps (cf. Atlas, vol. 1). Dot Maps are derived from the linguistic analyses presented in the LPs. They illustrate (with red dots) the geographical distribution of individual linguistic features as indicated by each map’s title. As with those in Atlas, the three different sizes of dot show relative frequency of occurrence corresponding to the bracketing system in the LPs. Unlike in Atlas, eLALME differentiates those LPs which do not show the particular feature but which have some other form attested for that item (blue dots) from those which have no forms at all attested for that item (white dots). eLALME extends the number of Dot Maps presented in Atlas by over a third, thus completing sets of philologically-informed maps for each item. The series of Dot Maps is indexed by item number; individual maps can be located also by item name, by form, or by any other element in the map title. A small subset of maps at the end of the series shows features from combinations of items whose forms display similarities, e.g. Initial -o- in AGAINST, ABOUT, ABOVE, AMONG. These maps illustrate one way that a user may wish to employ the User-defined Maps function.

User-defined Maps. This function allows the user to choose from drop-down lists the item(s), form(s) and feature(s) to be mapped. The resulting map is superficially similar to a Dot Map, though here dark blue dots indicate presence of the requested feature(s) and light blue dots the locations of LPs that show some other feature(s) for the item(s) requested. The user-defined map, however, contains extra information.

Firstly, the full set of forms for the requested item(s) appears in a separate window, with those showing the requested feature(s) highlighted. When the cursor is passed over a form in this window, red dots appear on the map, indicating the locations of those LPs in which that form is found. The user may thus see (a) the locations of specific forms within the requested set; (b) which (other) forms for the item(s) being investigated are commonly attested; (c) which are rare; (d) in which areas commonly attested and rarely attested forms are to be found. This function thus helps to contextualise the distribution of the selected feature(s).

Secondly, for the item(s) and feature(s) defined by the user, there is the facility to access all the recorded spellings of the forms for that item in the relevant LPs. Item Maps of the kind presented in the printed Atlas (vol. 4) do not readily lend themselves to presentation on a website. Cartographic presentation of all the forms for an item cannot easily be shown all at once on a screen at a readable resolution. Instead, eLALME allows one to access the recorded forms belonging to an item at any one location by clicking on the individual dark blue dots generated by the selection of item(s) and forms(s) for the user-defined map. So the dark blue dots not only show attestation of the requested feature(s) but they also ‘contain’ all the forms for the selected item(s) in the relevant LP. A click on any dark blue dot changes its colour to some other colour and brings up in a small window, colour-coded to that dot, the LP number and the full set of forms recorded in it for that item. Relative frequencies for the different forms are shown in the small LP box by means of different sizes of red dot beside each form. The LP number is also linked to the LP itself.

[Return to the Front Page]


[Go to the Main Page]