Quantitative Modelling of Palaeographical Variation in Late Middle English

Jacob Thaisen (Universitetet i Oslo)

Previous scholarship has called for the quantification of palaeography and other previous scholarship has suggested that palaeographical variation may strongly correlate with orthographic variation, at least as far as mediaeval English. Moreover, the palaeographical literature offers an inexact definition of the two Gothic scripts known as Anglicana and Secretary. It defines the two scripts in terms of maximum contrast in the selection of variants but it also acknowledges that the maximum contrast tends to be notionally realised. This presentation relates to these points. It uses cluster analysis to define and describe six classes along the gradient between the two scripts, and it develops tree-structured regression models explaining the palaeographical variation found in texts written in less standardised orthography.