Getting a word in: contact, etymology and English vocabulary in the twelfth century

Tue 26 Nov 2013, 18:00 - 19:15

The British Academy, 10-11 Carlton House Terrace, London SW1Y 5AH

English vocabulary owes an enormous debt to the other languages of medieval Britain. Arguably, nowhere is this debt more significant than in the twelfth century – a complex and fascinating period of transition, when (among many other things) influence from both Norse and French is increasingly apparent in writing. This lecture explores the etymologies, meanings and contexts of some key words from this crucial time, as a way to think about the evidence for contact and change at the boundary of Old and Middle English and to illustrate how rich, diverse, challenging and surprising its voices can be.


Dr Richard Dance
Senior Lecturer in the Department of Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic, St Catharine’s College, Cambridge

About the speaker:
Dr Richard Dance is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic and a Fellow of St Catharine’s College, Cambridge. He is the author of a number of books and articles 

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