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date: 25 April 2019

Abstract and Keywords

In the history of the English language, the period after 1500 is generally known as Modern English, which is often subdivided into Early (1500–1700) and Late (1700–1900) Modern English. Unlike the periods before 1500, the Modern English period has bequeathed a rich legacy of written material, so that, even before the advent of electronic corpora, it was possible to compile large datasets for the study of variation in lexicon, syntax, and morphology. This article examines the nature of evidence for the pronunciation of English after 1500. It shows that the different types of direct and indirect evidence all have their advantages and disadvantages, but that together they provide insights into English pronunciation in the Modern English period. The direct evidence from pronouncing dictionaries and elocution guides of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries is particularly valuable.

Keywords: English, history, Modern English, lexicon, syntax, morphology, pronunciation, dictionaries, elocution, linguistics, evidence

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