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Early Middle English for today

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Alternate spellings for eME texts in englesaxe

The following spelling options are available for each text in normalised Early Middle English in this site. Currently, all such texts are found under the eME texts and weblog tabs in the main menu.

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Spelling options

eME (yogh ȝ)*
c 1200; the default eME spelling; for each sound, takes the spelling common to PC2 & Orm, and failing that - the OE spelling; Features: OE palatal g` /j/ > eME y`, but note merging and new diphthongs: OE ae_g` and e_g` > eME ey` and OE i_g` > eME iy`, and prefix g`e- > eME i-; note also - OE fricative g /G``/ is unchanged (sorge), but OE cg /dZ`/ > eME gg; OE c /k/ before e, i, y and at the end of a word > eME k; ModE th, wh, qu, dg, gh, ch, sh, ea, oa, ou > eME t`, hw, cw, gg, h, c(e/i), sc, ae_, a_, u_; a macron marks long vowels
eME ('3')
c 1200; as for the spelling option above, but with yogh /j/ rendered as the number 3 lowered rather than as yogh, and the length of ae_ /E`:/ indicated by an acute accent rather than a macron
alternate eME
c 1200; for each sound, it takes the spelling common to PC2 & Orm, and failing that - the PC2 or Orm spelling which is found most commonly in Owl, Lmn, AW, PH3 & SO. Features: differs from eME in that OE c`, hw, cw > eME ch, wh, qu, and final <k> appears as <c>; new ME diphthongs have <i>: OE aeg` > eME ai, OE eg`/e_g`/ae_g` > eME ei and OE i_g`/ig` > eME i_; also OE medial g /G``/ > eME y` (sory`e) and OE intervocalic f > eME v; note that ModE qu, wh, ch are unchanged;
Ormulum
c 1161; short vowels are indicated by doubling the following consonant; similar to eME but with the following differences: OE sc > sh, OE hw > wh and OE verbal prefix g`e- is retained; so OE g`eha_ten, weg`, ha_lig` > Orm y`ehatenn, wey`y`, haliy`; OE c` /tS`/ > ch, before e, i and at the end of a word, while OE final c /k/, remains as c; OE fricative g /G``/ > eME y`h` (sory`h`e);
Ormulum (mod.)
c 1161; a modified version of the Ormulum spelling above; differs only in this respect: short vowels are not indicated by doubling the following consonant; instead, long vowels are indicated by a macron;
Peterborough Chron. 1
c 1150; Peterborough Chronicle; for each sound, it takes the most conservative spelling found in PC2; Features: similar to eME, but OE palatal g` /j/, OE combinations - vowel + g` - aeg`, ae_g`, eg`, e_g`, ig`, i_g` and OE noun prefix g`e- are all retained; a dot marks palatal c` & g`; <k> is replaced by <c> in all contexts;
Peterborough Chron. 2
c 1150; for each sound, it takes the most progressive spelling found in PC2; Features: similar to alternate eME, but OE palatal g` /j/ > i and OE diphthong aeg` > aei; OE fricative g /G``/ > ch (sorche); <c> before e, i and at the end of a word is pronounced /tS`/; <k> is used for /k/ at the end of a word; OE cw sw hw > cu su uu, respectively;
Proclamation Henry III
c 1260; similar to alternate eME but with the following differences: OE sc > sch, OE medial or final h /x/ or /C``/ > y` and OE ae_ > ea; other long vowels are indicated by an acute accent: e__ i__ o__ u__; OE long back a_ > long open oa, reflects a post-1200 sound change;
Sir Orfeo
c 1300; similar to Proclamation Henry III (PH3), but OE long back a_ > long open ò; post-1200 diphthongs appear: OE ah oh eh/e_h/e_ah > auy` ouy` eiy`; other differences from PH3: OE long vowels ae_ u_ i_ > e` ou ii and the verbal prefix g`e- > y; also - the development of OE voiced fricative g /G``/ towards /w/, is reflected in wh` (sorwh`e); note - <ii> is reduced to <i> finally;
Chaucer
c 1380; similar to Sir Orfeo (SO), but initial <y`> /j/ appears as y, while medial and final <y`> (/J`/ or /x/ or /C``/) appears as gh; also - OE e_ > ee, OE i_ > y, OE o_ > oo, OE sc` > sh, OE t` > th, OE voiced fricative g /G``/ > w (sorwe), and OE c /k/ at the end of a word > eME k;
late ME
c 1450; similar to Chaucer but uses ASCII (basic Latin) characters only; OE ae_ > ea and OE a_ > oa or o*e; also - in stressed open syllables in dysyllabic words, OE e is lengthened to ea;
source text (ascii)
c 1200; similar to eME but uses ASCII (basic Latin) characters only; OE t` > th, OE g` > y, OE verbal prefix g`e- > y and OE combinations of vowel + g` are retained as ay a_y ey e_y eay iy i_y; also - long vowels are marked by a following colon (e.g. cwe:n), but OE ae_ > ea;

* requires a unicode font with Latin ext B

All spelling options are based on the East Midland dialect (pre 1300).
Abbreviations: PC2 - Peterborough Chronicle 2nd cont.(EM 1154), Orm - Ormulum Homily (EM 1161), Owl - Owl & Nightingale (SW 1200?), Lmn - Layamon's Brut (WM 1220?), AW - Ancrene Wisse (WM 1220?), PH3 -Proclamation of Henry III (SW 1258), SO - Sir Orfeo (EM 1300?)