Workshop on Speech Representation in Late Modern English Text Types (Online, 12 November 2021)

We are delighted that the first event organised by the LALP project team is a one-day International Workshop on Speech Representation in Late Modern English Text Types: Historical Sociolinguistic and Stylistic Perspectives that takes place on Zoom on Friday, 12 November 2021.


One aim of historical sociolinguistic research is to uncover the speech of different social layers throughout the history of a language. To do so, the historical linguist has to rely on various text types, some of which are autograph texts by writers from different social groups while others represent the speech of these groups through a mediator such as an author/narrator or scribe. The Late Modern English period is of great interest for the study of speech representation across social layers because of increased literacy levels that allow us to find autograph texts by lower-class writers in addition to the well-educated middling sorts and the elite. The period is also strongly associated with the codification and prescription stages of language standardisation which gave rise to many pronunciation guides and grammars that provide insight into promoted and stigmatised linguistic features, and sometimes draw connections with the language use of different social groups. Sociolinguistic differences and stereotypes can also be found in contemporary literature, albeit depicted by the author. At the same time, the Romantic movement (c. 1798-1837) promoted the focus on the ‘real language of men’.   

The Late Modern English period therefore offers a wealth of text types that allow us to gain insights into the speech of different social groups, e.g. normative texts related to language use, pauper petitions, other autograph texts like letters and diaries, as well as depositions, dialect literature and other contemporary literature. 

The aim of this workshop is to bring together scholars who are interested in reconstructing Late Modern English speech across social layers by investigating different text types. The different foci of the invited speakers will allow us to gain a better understanding of the actual language of the Late Modern English population and the perceptions, partly reflected in stereotypes, of mediator writers such as authors and scribes. 

David Wilkie, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons


9.00-9.15Welcome and introduction
9.15-9.55Joan Beal, University of Sheffield
“Practised among the common people”: “Vulgar” pronunciations in
eighteenth-century pronouncing dictionaries
9.55-10.35Marco Wiemann, University of Kiel
Representation of phonological changes in GOAT and /r/ in 19th century grammar writing 
10.35-10.50Coffee break
10.50-11.30Javier Ruano-García, University of Salamanca
‘Farmer Pearse had three distinct manners of speech’:
Representations of dialect speech in Late Modern English dialect writing
11.30-12.10Paul Cooper, University of Liverpool
Stage Yorkshiremen and Yorkshire boors: Sociological fractionation and
enregisterment in nineteenth century literary dialect
12.10-13.30Lunch break
13.30-14.10Jane Hodson, University of Sheffield
Talking to peasants: Language, place and class in British fiction 1800-1836
14.10-14.50Anne-Christine Gardner, Anita Auer & Mark Iten, University of Lausanne
Speech reflections in Late Modern English pauper petitions
14.50-15.20Coffee break
15.20-16.00Peter Grund, University of Kansas
“he used most disgusting language”: Speech descriptors and the social and
pragmatic evaluation of speech in the Old Bailey Corpus
16.00-16.45Final discussion and closing of the workshop
16.45-17.30Socialising on

All ABSTRACTS can be found HERE in alphabetical order.


If you would like to attend this workshop (no fee), please fill in the ONLINE REGISTRATION FORM by 31 October 2021. We will then send you the zoom link for the workshop.

We are very much looking forward to welcoming you to the first LALP project workshop!