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Sound Change and the History of English$
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Jeremy Smith

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199291953

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199291953.001.0001

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On Evidence

On Evidence

(p.29) 2 On Evidence
Sound Change and the History of English

Jeremy J. Smith (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter addresses a key problem in the study of sound-change, viz. the nature of the evidence. The notion of ‘witness’ is interrogated, and then the chapter deals with four sources of witnesses traditionally distinguished for the study of past states of the sound-system of a language: writing-systems, verse practices, contemporary writers on language, and reconstruction.

Keywords:   witnesses, writing-systems, runes, verse practices, rhymes, contemporary writers, language, orthoepists, reconstruction

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