Spelling variation in Middle English manuscripts
This paper illustrates spelling variation in Middle English (ME) manuscripts and proposes the integration of manuscript images and spelling tags into corpora. Examples come from the five-million-word corpus of ME texts produced by the English reformer John Wycliffe and his followers (Wycliffe Corpus). It describes general issues such as layout, font type, spacing, deterioration and glossing, as well as more fundamental differences such as narrow and broad script, multi-level writing, punctuation and cancellations. The paper concludes with an example of how spelling variation can influence lexical analysis of verbal compounds.