Margaret Laing : homepage

portrait Margaret Laing

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Language at Edinburgh

picture of meg I graduated from the University of Oxford in 1974 and received my PhD from the University of Edinburgh in 1978. As a member of the Middle English Dialect Project, under the direction of Angus McIntosh, I contributed to the production of A Linguistic Atlas of Late Mediaeval English (LALME) (AUP/Mercat Press, 1986). After that, at the department’s Institute for Historical Dialectology, I was engaged in the creation of A Linguistic Atlas of Early Middle English (LAEME, now in version 3.2): an electronic text corpus, with accompanying software (Keith Williamson and Vasilis Karaiskos) and theoretical introduction (with Roger Lass). I have written on late Middle English, most notably with Michael Benskin — ‘Translations and Mischsprachen in Middle English Manuscripts’, in So meny people longages and tonges, philological essays in Scots and mediaeval English presented to Angus McIntosh , ed. Michael Benskin and M.L. Samuels, pp. 55–106 (1981). I have published extensively on early Middle English, including A Catalogue of Sources for a Linguistic Atlas of Early Medieval English (Cambridge: D.S. Brewer, 1993) and many articles arising out of the investigation of early Middle English texts for LAEME.

The methodology employed for LAEME involves transcribing texts from original manuscripts and ‘tagging them for analysis and localisation. The close scrutiny involved in this work has led not only to assessment of the diatopic and diachronic variation in early Middle English phonology, morphology, lexis and syntax, but also to a number of studies on textual and linguistic relationships of different versions of texts, early Middle English orthographical systems and new manuscript readings (see publications below).

Between September 2007 and August 2010 I worked, in collaboration with Keith Williamson and Michael Benskin (University of Oslo), on the creation of an electronic, web-based version of LALME (e-LALME). The project was funded by AHRC and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

From September 2010 to December 2013, I was engaged in another AHRC-funded project, in collaboration with Roger Lass, Rhona Alcorn and Keith Williamson, A Corpus of Narrative Etymologies from primitive Old English to early Middle English (CoNE), and accompanying Corpus of Changes (CC).

I co-supervised Ela Majocha’s PhD An Onomastic Study of Early Middle English (2005) and Lauren Stewart’s PhD on Representation of Dialect in 17th-century English drama (2011). I am currently co-supervising Sara Myers’ PhD investigating the evolution of the genitive noun phrase in written Middle English, and Enti Arends’ PhD on the socio-cultural implications of French in Middle English texts.

I retired at the end of Decmber 2013. As an Honorary Fellow I remain a PhD supervisor and continue to work on LAEME and on CoNE, in collaboration with Roger Lass.


See also Research outputs


Online Resources