Linguistic Repertoires and Intra-Writer Variation in Old English: Hemming of Worcester

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter explores intra- writer variation in the works of Hemming of Worcester, an eleventh- century monk whose hand has been identified in seven surviving manuscripts. A corpus compares selections from Hemming’s written output alongside parallel selections from other textual witnesses. The resulting scribal profile builds on data in Wallis (2013a) to analyse his variation in four features which deviate from ‘standard’ or ‘focused’ Late- West- Saxon: <wæ> spellings, o+ nasal, retraction of - ward, and unstable <h> (h- deletion and h- insertion). Hemming’s variation is shown to be due to two main factors, constrained selection (influenced by exemplar forms) in ‘local’ texts, and his own preferred usage, based on ongoing sound changes in late-Old English.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIntra-Writer Variation in Historical Linguistics
EditorsMarkus Schiegg, Judith Huber
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherPeter Lang
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-80079-704-8
ISBN (Print)978-1-80079-703-1
Publication statusPublished - 31 Aug 2023

Publication series

Name Historical Sociolinguistics. Studies on Language and Society in the Past
PublisherPeter Lang


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