MELD Introduction

The MELD corpus is the result of a wish to study the history of English through materials that are connected to real, verifiable, people and places.

Our approach, when studying these texts, combines sociolinguistic and pragmatic perspectives with a focus on material context. We are interested in geographical variation in relation to actual provenance, something that presents a departure from earlier traditions within Middle English dialectology, which have tended to focus on the reconstruction of ideal, ‘unmixed’ geographical dialects. Instead, we would like to ask 'who wrote what where - and for whom?'

This general approach has shaped our specific choices in compiling the corpus and categorizing the texts. The MELD Introduction outlines the rationale behind these choices and provides a discussion of the concepts and ideas behind the localization and categorization of the texts in the corpus.

MELD Introduction, version 2017.1