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date: 27 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter explores the relationship between the study of language varieties and the study of names, taking account of the historical developments in theory and methodology. Analysis of regional, minority, and non-standard language varieties rarely keeps pace with that devoted to standard languages, yet this material is of great value to onomastics, linguistics, and sociology. The oral corpus of local names is usually more detailed than that represented on generic maps, and ‘unofficial’ names can provide a range of insights into the sociolinguistic and pragmatic functions of non-standard, slang, and dialectal terminology. Although there are some noteworthy exceptions, academic investigations of dialects and non-standard languages have typically focused on rural contexts, ignoring important urban material. Place-names also preserve important evidence for dialect geography, and Nicolaisen’s concept of the onomastic dialect provides an explanatory framework for instances where onomastic isoglosses do not parallel their lexical counterparts.

Keywords: dialects, dialectology, critical toponymy, onomastics, linguistics, varieties, Scots, sociolinguistics

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