On Middle English she, sho: A refurbished narrative

Margaret Laing, Roger Lass

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

We offer a radical reinterpretation of the first step in the development of OE [h] in hēo towards PDE [ʃ] in she. This solves outstanding difficulties in accounting for the vocalism in ME [ʃe:], precursor of PDE [ʃi:]. The background is the etymology of she created for the Corpus of Narrative Etymologies, and its accompanying Corpus of Changes. The database for CoNE is The Linguistic Atlas of Early Middle English, with 36 different spellings for she across 71 texts. First, we present the OE etymology of she, tracking the changes that gave rise to all the attested OE variants. Second, using Britton’s (1991) paper as a starting point, we give a new explanation for initial [hj], allowing a straightforward account for all three attested ME vocalisms: [e:], [o:] and [ø:]. Third, we unpack the changes underlying the complex of variants attested in LAEME.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)201-240
Number of pages41
JournalFolia Linguistica Historica
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2014
EventInternational Conference on English Historical Linguistics 18 (ICEHL18) - Leuven, Belgium
Duration: 14 Jul 201418 Jul 2014

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Old English
  • Middle English
  • she
  • pronoun
  • CoNE


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