David Postles

The North Through its Names

The North of England and northern-ness are elusive concepts, both academically and in popular perception. This volume in the English Surnames Survey series looks at what can be learned about the idea of the 'North' of England as a distinct identity from its surnames. The personal names from the north during the medieval/early modern period are linguistic phenomena, incorporating dialect speech that defined a northern consciousness, and in this way are an invaluable resource in exploring a northern identity. Dave Postles attempts to reconstruct the language of the speech community and communities of northern England through the reporting and recording of personal name elements, examining the evidence from patronyms, metronyms and personal names, as well as occupational bynames, and even nicknames. He identifies many distinctions including the longer continuity of insular personal names in the north which implies a cultural dissonance with the south perhaps in terms of a residual culture, but equally perhaps in terms of a resistant or oppositional culture. Since (what others might assume to be) insalubrious nickname bynames continued later in the north than in more southerly environments, northern speech through names could be represented as (by northerners) direct and (by southerners) uncivil.
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Oxbow Books
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