Revisiting a millennium of migrations

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While historical records attest to continual and intense migrations to Britain from the Low Countries over a period of roughly a thousand years, our knowledge of the linguistic consequences of this contact &#8211; i.e. the impact of Dutch, Frisian, and the Low German dialects on English &#8211; remains sketchy. One main reason is inherent, i.e. due the similarities of the languages involved. Another is extrinsic: the nature of the contact, at once commonplace and elusive, has meant that discussions of the history of English frequently pass over this area, favoring the big players and the exotics. This article highlights the history of migrations from the Low Countries to England, focusing on events and conditions that provided a context for lexical influence and indeed made it very likely. Examples from the <i>English Dialect Dictionary</i> illustrate the inclusion of dialectal evidence when exploring foreign influence on English.


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