About LAEME


Welcome to A Linguistic Atlas of Early Middle English (LAEME). The first publication of the first phase of LAEME, in the form of an interactive website, was a beta version in 2007. Version 2.1 ran from 2008-2013. 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, 3.2, 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. 1.2 (LAOS), which deals with variation in written Older Scots.

A major revision of LALME (eLALME) was published, also as a website, in 2013.

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)

• 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 set of explanatory documents:

(a) Text Keys lists the LAEME corpus files by 1. file number; 2. filename; 3. region.
(b) Lexel Specifiers lists and explains the semantic and functional specifiers to the lexical elements of the LAEME tags.
(c) Grammel Commentary lists and explains the grammatical elements of the LAEME tags. This document is designed also for CoNE users (see below).

Linked to LAEME is a Corpus of Narrative Etymologies (CoNE), which aims to provide a narrative etymology for every form type in the LAEME CTT, along with a Corpus of Changes, which explicates the phonological, morphological and orthographic changes invoked in CoNE.

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

• make concordances.

Clicking on the LAEME title takes you to the main page. Here you will see a list of ‘Tasks’. Clicking on a Task calls up a menu in the main section of the window (the ‘Task Area’) Information about a Task is displayed by passing the cursor over a symbol |Key| in the menu. (This system replaces the ‘Manual’ in the previous version of LAEME).

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 title 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 Corpus Files. From each tagged text file (with extension .tag) is derived a text dictionary format (flagged as .dic), which lists all the linguistic material in the tagged texts, arranged by lexico-grammatical tag. The text dictionary format is accessible from Corpus Files: Search by County. The full tagged texts and text dictionaries are also accessible from the individual entries in the Index of Sources. Considerable editorial and textual commentary accompanies each tagged text. The corpus has provided the source material for all the related publications from 1991 to the present.

What is new to this version?

• There has been considerable revision to the tagging, largely driven by the use of the LAEME CTT for the CoNE project described above. Users of the previous version will notice particularly that much more segmentation of compounds and complex items has been carried out with many more derivational suffixes separated. At the same time useful correction of the original texts has also been effected.

• The web pages have a simpler, clearer layout.

• There is optional display for extra fields from the Index of Sources in searches of the Corpus Files

• The token set of feature maps in the previous version of LAEME has now been replaced by a detailed set of over 1870 maps. Of the 167 distinct text languages from 105 manuscripts that form the Corpus of Tagged Texts, it has been possible to localise for mapping 111 text languages. The set of philologically informed feature maps has been made with specific reference to ease of comparison (where relevant) with the Dot Maps in eLALME. There is also a new facility for users to make their own feature maps. All text languages (whether localised or not) are available for other forms of linguistic, textual or literary study.

• The elaborated tagging associated with multiple negation can now be hidden for searches of the Tag Dictionary that do not require it

• There is a facility for users to make their own feature maps including combining items and/or features (see further below).

We are grateful to Sherrylyn Branchaw for writing the scripts to enable these last three improvements.

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.


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