Abstract and Keywords
This article assesses the evidence provided by linguistic surveys and atlases in the history of the English language. It deals with two kinds of surveys: those which involved living informants when they were carried out but now provide historical evidence, and those historical surveys for which the informants are written texts. It focuses on two projects that represent the two kinds of survey: the Linguistic Atlas of the Middle and South Atlantic States (LAMSAS, Georgia) which covers the mid-twentieth century, and the Middle English Grammar Project (Stavanger and Glasgow), which covers the period 1150–1500. In modern survey research, “representativeness” comes from the application of randomized survey methods in sampling, so that the sample is not biased towards any identifiable segment of the population.
Keywords: evidence, linguistics, surveys, atlases, history, English, informants, written texts, Linguistic Atlas of the Middle and South Atlantic States, Middle English Grammar Project, representativeness
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