Early English double bill

Posted on November 12, 2015 by

Next Tuesday (17th Nov) will see two talks on the early history of English!

The first is a temporary revival of Langwidge Sandwidge, featuring visiting PhD student Esaúl Ruiz Narbona (University of La Rioja) on The valency of Old English morphological causatives and the effects of prefixes. Here’s the abstract:

This corpus-based study has as its main aim the study of the valency of certain Old English morphological causative pairs such as byrnan-bærnan. Contrary to what is the case in the Germanic proto-language and in other related languages these verbs can behave as intransitive or transitive with no formal change, i.e. they are labile. This study intends to shed some light on the issue of the abnormally high number of labile verbs in English compared to other related languages focusing on its origins and earlier developments. Additionally, I explore the interaction between the use of some verbal prefixes and notions such as valency and transitivity.

This talk is at 1pm in Samuel Alexander A214.

The second is Tim William Machan (University of Notre Dame) at the LEL Research Seminar, speaking on Rounding up Unusual Suspects: Ordinary Medieval English. This talk is hosted jointly with EAS, and is at 4.15pm in A101. Here’s the abstract:

Most of what we know about medieval English we know from edited versions of literary works. Just as contemporary discourse analysis confronts the Observer’s Paradox by trying to study language in its unstudied state, historical linguistics confronts something like a Register Paradox by trying to investigate ordinary language that survives only in extraordinary forms like romances, wills, and legal documents. In addressing the question “What can we know about everyday medieval English,” I consider the material effects written texts and printed editions have on how we perceive Old and Middle English, as well as the theoretical implications of trying to understand living, spoken languages on the basis of extinct, written remains.

Manchet hopes you can join us for one or both!