In the 8th century A.D., Frankish monks used styli to carve words in vernacular German on the margins and between the lines of Latin manuscripts to annotate demanding passages of the Latin text. This paper examines two aspects of how these glossators served as promoters of language change. First, dry-point glosses are the first documents to be written in Old High German; the glossators’ use of the vernacular resulted in a substantial change in written language usage: the gradual replacement of Latin by Old High German. Second, glossators are promoters of progressive language forms, as they often employ language of conceptional orality that cannot be encountered in other text types until centuries later. This paper’s functional and sociolinguistic approach on progressive spellings of vernacular glosses proves valuable for the reconstruction of the early medieval language of orality.
|Title of host publication
|Scribes as Agents of Language Change
|Esther-Miriam Wagner, Ben Outhwaite, Bettina Beinhoff
|Place of Publication
|Berlin, New York
|Published - 2013
|Studies in Language Change