|The English we use today , whether dialectal or 'standard', is the regular descendant - with additions and subtractions - of Old and Middle English, Old English being the term generally preferred to designate the language of our ancestors the Anglo-Saxons. (Wakelin, 1977: 11)|
Although the purpose of this section is to examine the historical development of Yorkshire dialect, much of the material contained within its pages relates to the evolution of Standard English, i.e. the English which shows no regional variation and which has often been referred to as "BBC English". The purpose behind this is show how dialect forms are often relics of older linguistics systems which have either mutated or fallen out of use in modern standard speech. Furthermore, not all pages contain dialectal data, such material being either inappropriate or presently unavailable.
With regard to the discussion of Old and Middle English in the following pages, it has been necessary to employ of a number of linguistic terms. On first appearance such terms are shown in red and using your mouse to point to this text will elicit a pop-up definition box. In a similar manner, green text indicates the presence of a sound file which can be activated by a single on-click.
Finally, for ease of reference the pages have been broken down into sections:
Middle English is of course not the end of the story. These pages are still under construction and, in addition to ongoing research activities, some projects are yet to be commenced (e.g. investigations into the influences of Old Norse, the Great Vowel Shift and an examination of both standard and dialectal forms as they existed during the Early Modern English period).
Furthermore, it should be noted that the development of the definite article in Yorkshire (usually represented in literature as t') is dealt with in the pages relating to Definite Article Reduction.