LAEME: A Linguistic Atlas of Early Middle English

LAEME2_TitlePicA Linguistic Atlas of Early Middle English (LAEME, Version 3.2)

LAEME was compiled by Margaret Laing (University of Edinburgh), with an introduction by the author and Roger Lass (University of Cape Town) and web-scripts by Keith Williamson, Vasilis Karaiskos (University of Edinburgh) and Sherrylyn Branchaw (University of California, LA).

LAEME is based on the principles of mediaeval dialectology developed for A Linguistic Atlas of Late Mediaeval English (AUP/Mercat Press, 1986; LALME). However, LAEME goes beyond LALME in that it is founded on the methodology of corpus linguistics. Complete texts (or large samples of very long texts) have been diplomatically transcribed from original manuscripts or facsimiles. Each word and each derivational and inflectional morpheme in the text is lexico-grammatically tagged. The LAEME Corpus of Tagged Texts (CTT) consists of ca 650,000 words tagged at a high level of detail, enabling investigations at all linguistic levels.

The CTT is searchable on the website under Corpus Files. From each tagged text file (with extension .tag) is derived a text dictionary format (flagged as .dic), which lists all the linguistic material in the tagged texts, arranged by lexico-grammatical tag. The text dictionary format is accessible from Corpus Files: Search by County. The full tagged texts and text dictionaries are also accessible from the individual entries in the Index of Sources. Considerable editorial and textual commentary accompanies each tagged text. The corpus has provided the source material for all the related publications from 1991 to the present.

For an overview of LAEME see ‘About LAEME’ on the websites’ Front Page. A full explication may be found in the Introduction.  Rhona Alcorn has also produced a beginner’s guide to LAEME, which you can download from here. Also, an illustration of useful ways to compare and contrast the maps of early Middle English data in LAEME with those of late Middle English data in eLALME has been provided by Margaret Laing in this document.

The compilation of LAEME was funded by a number of grants and institutions.  The project received a 5-year grant from The Leverhulme Trust (1993-1998), a one-year British Academy grant (1999) and two  AHRB/AHRC grants: numbers AN5021/APN11064 (for period 2000-2003) and AN10105/APN16240 (for period 2003-2006).  Work on the Atlas also had important help from The University of Edinburgh, The University of Cape Town, Dr. Carol Dolinskas and Professor Ryuta Murakami.