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Discovering English Dialects
by Martyn Wakelin

A Shire Classics Book

courtesy the publishing company Variety in English speech can be fascinating as well as puzzling to both the visitor to the country as well as native travellers to other parts of England. It has a long history, going back several centuries. Old dialects—the Yorkshire dales and rural East Anglia—are classic examples of this living heritage.

This Shire book describes the most significant features of English regional dialects including the ancient northern vocabulary, the influence of the Norse, the north midland/north boundary, remaining traces of extinct Cornish, and old forms of nouns. Also within the scope of the book is the problem of mixed dialects in towns and a chapter on occupational and specialised vocabularies. These include fishing, mining, children’s language and bird and plant names.

Author Martyn Wakelin (deceased) worked for seven years on the Survey of English Dialects and lectured on the English language and medieval English literature at Royal Holloway, University of London. He published several books on dialect, one being Language and History in Cornwall. His book, The Archaeology of English, is an example of his meticulous scholarship and wide-ranging interests across the field of the English language.

Contents of the book:
1. What are dialects?
2. Some regional feature: the north; the midlands and East Anglia; the south and south-west
3. Occupational and specialised vocabularies
4. A look at history
5. Literary dialect
6. The study of dialect

Suggested further reading and a list of institutions with active dialect interests are given. A helpful index is included.

This book will appeal to all students of the English language, readers of English literature, and to anyone who has travelled the country and puzzled at words, both unfamiliar and used in different contexts, that they come across.

Discovering English Dialects
Shire-Discovering 235; ISBN: 978 0 7478 0176 4
64pp, b/w illustrations
Available to order from Shire Books Now part of the Osprey family
Published by Osprey Publishing, 4th edition revised, 10 March 2008
Midland House, West Way
Botley, Oxford, OX2 0PH
Web: Osprey Publishing

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