How tall was Robert Lowth?

In the spring of the year 1772, James Boswell called upon Robert Lowth, and, as he wrote in his journal, found him to be "a neat, judicious little man in his conversation with me" (ed. Wimsatt and Pottle 1960:112). But what does "little" mean in this context? Does this mean that Lowth was not very tall? Read more »

Monthly Lunch Meeting

On 20 March Mathilde Jansen (Meertens Instituut) will present "’They think we speak Frisian’: dialect levelling on the island of Ameland" in 1168/005 from 12:00-13:00. All welcome!

Top 10 downloaded articles 2008

We are happy to announce that the article "Social network analysis and the eighteenth-century family network: a case study of the Walpole family" by Froukje Henstra ended on the eighth spot in the Top 10 downloaded articles of the Transactions of the Philological Society 2008.

Dyche’s Guide to the English Tongue (1707)

In her paper called "Eighteenth grammars and book catalogues", Anita Auer quotes Feather (1985:34) on the popularity of Dyche’s Guide to the English Tongue: between 1733 and 1747, 33 editions came out of the work, to a total of 265,000 copies, "or nearly 18,000 copies a year, of which a mere handful is extant".

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Vivien Law prize

In memory of Dr Vivien Law (1954-2002), and thanks to her generosity, a prize has been established for the best essay submitted on any topic within the history of linguistics. The competition is open to all currently registered students, and to those who have received their PhD or equivalent qualification within the last five years. The prize consists of 100 pounds and publication of the winning essay in the journal Language and History. The prize-winner is also entitled to one year’s free membership of the Society and will receive a free copy of Vivien Law’s The History of Linguistics in Europe from Cambridge University Press.

The closing date for submissions is 30 September. Entries may be written in English, French, or German, and should not exceed 8000 words. Read more »

The exact age of a young lady

In the eighteenth century many works appeared on the market that were designed for "young ladies". Lately I have been wondering about the exact age of this specific readership. According to the oed, "until late in the 19th cent. girls at boarding schools were spoken of and addressed as young ladies", while Bottigheimer (2005:10) points out that "young gentlemen and ladies" "could be as young as thirteen or fourteen or as old as young people at the age of their independent entry into society". I, however, believe that the term was also used to refer to slightly younger girls. Please reply to this post if you know more about the topic. I look forward to hearing from you. 

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Monthly Lunch Meeting

On 27 February Andries van Helden (University of Leiden) will present "Vicissitudes of the genitive rule" in 1168/004 from 12:00-13:00. All welcome!

From plural to singular?

My colleague from the Dutch department, Marijke van der Wal, came across an intreaguing point in her reaearch on nineteenth-century grammars of Dutch, and she would like to know whether there are similar instances in English grammars or grammars for other languages. Please let us have your findings on this, even if you never came across the kind of approach to grammar.

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Monthly Lunch Meeting

On Friday 21 November Robin Straaijer (University of Leiden) will give the presentation "From Copy to Corpus: Building and Using the Joseph Priestley Letter Corpus". Building 1167/001a, 12:00-13:00. All welcome! 

Social networking gets medieval

There was an interesting article on social networks that you can access through