Monetary policy and Old English dialects

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Studies of Old English dialects are based heavily on manuscript texts, of which none survive from Anglo-Saxon East Anglia. But coins produced in the kingdom bear forms of personal names, potential evidence for an East-Anglian dialect. Although East Anglia in the eighth and ninth centuries came under dogged Mercian control, this paper hypothesises that, just as Kentish coin-spellings conform to dialect characteristics of Kentish manuscripts, rather than to those of the dominating Mercians and West-Saxons, so the East-Anglian moneyers represented their own dialect on their coins. Somewhat deflatingly, the coin-spellings show nothing specifically ‘East’ about the Anglian features represented.


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