Realisations of the Word-initial Variable (th) in Selected Late Middle English Northern Legal Documents
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This paper is a study in Late Middle English orthography and its relationship with the phonological system. The study was conducted on a representative sample of legal documents from all core northern counties. The analysis concerned the variable (th) that stands for a systemic distinction between /ð/ and /θ/ by means of two graphemes: <þ/y> and <th> in the north of England. The results of the quantitative analysis confirmed the existence of the Northern System, however, in its decline. The analysis of discrete grammatical words proved that the, that and they were the most conservative words showing a significantly higher preference for <þ/y> than the remaining grammatical words examined in the present study.
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