Middle English word geography: Methodology and applications illustrated
The purpose of this paper is to illustrate two things: first, the methodology employed for the study of Middle English lexical dialectal material; and second, the possibility of carrying out some practical applications related to the geographical distributions of lexical items. For the methodology, we focus on the importance of undertaking a cumulative analysis, based on the collection of as much data as possible and from as many sources as we may find for any item. It is essential for the analysis of the data to be aware of the textual histories of the manuscript sources as well. As a practical application of the results obtained from our analysis, we propose to explore the possibility of redefining the localisation of a manuscript by using the lexical material. Localisation according to lexical material might not always agree with localisation according to orthographic criteria, but even if the lexical choices can be conditioned by different factors, the global study of the lexical information together with the phono-graphological features might help to localise some texts more precisely.