In 2014 the Institute for Historical Dialectology (now the AMC) was awarded a grant of some £1M by the AHRC (grant ref AH/L004542/1) to fund a new, four-year project entitled From Inglis to Scots: Mapping Sounds to Spellings (‘FITS’).
The FITS project aims to account systematically for the diversity of spelling attested in varieties of Scots between 1380 (the date of the earliest materials) and 1500. FITS will thus refine and significantly extend current knowledge of the phonological history of Older Scots. Our dataset consists of spellings recorded in the corpus of tagged texts compiled for A Linguistic Atlas of Older Scots, I: 1380–1500 (LAOS). FITS will focus on spellings of morphemes of Germanic origin in particular. For each such morpheme, we will:
- reconstruct a sound value for each unit of each variant spelling and identify the particular phonological changes (if any) by which that sound evolved from its Old English (or potentially Old Norse) progenitor.
- catalogue and describe, in a Corpus of Changes, each of the phonological developments referred to in our reconstructions. We will also index any orthographic changes evident in our source materials.
- annotate our analyses with ancillary information to facilitate the discovery of any regional, temporal or lexical patterns in the use of individual forms.
The results will be published online in a fully searchable database. This database will be linked to relevant information in two other large, online resources, namely LAOS and A Corpus of Narrative Etymologies from Primitive Old English to Early Middle English (CoNE).
The project also supports a PhD studentship which investigates orthographic representations of non-final vowels in Older Scots inflections and conditioning factors for each variant type.