To almyghtty god et cetera An Edition of Medieval Testamentary Texts of Women from St Albans
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- Master's theses (HF-IKS) 
This thesis presents studies of seven testamentary texts of women from St Albans and an edition of the same texts. The studies deal with several aspects and factors related to linguistic variation, multilingualism and structure. The texts are dated to the period 1427-1486 and belong to two registers of testamentary texts found at the Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies in Hertford. Four research questions have been investigated in this thesis: 1) What kind of linguistic variation do these testamentary texts show? 2) What multilingual practices occur in these testamentary texts? 3) Do the opening and closing phrases of these testamentary texts vary and if yes, how? How do the opening and closing phrases relate to the function of these texts? 4) How do the female testamentary texts differ from the male testamentary texts? The texts revealed much orthographic, morphologic, multilingual and grammatical variation. This illustrates the amount of possible linguistic variation in medieval testamentary texts towards the end of the 15th century. It also illustrates the complexity of linguistic development. In addition, it may have revealed gendered practices related to terminology and female will-making. The thesis provides historical context of local and national history, women’s social position, literacy and how it was available to women, as well as context of the concept of death and the making of testamentary texts. In addition, it presents Middle English writing and studies related to Middle English and multilingual variation. The linguistic studies have been compared to Thengs (2013), Bergstrøm (2017), the Linguistic Atlas of Late Mediaeval English (eLALME 2013a) and seven testamentary texts by men in the Corpus of Middle English Local Documents (2017; henceforth MELD). The male testamentary texts were found to be considerably homogenous when compared to the female texts, but the male texts were likely written by only one scribe. This thesis contributes to the study of women’s literacy practices in late medieval England, which is a relatively new research area. At the same time, it is complementary to other linguistic studies produced within the MELD project, such as Thengs (2013) and Bergstrøm (2017). Lastly, this edition was intended to make these texts available for other historians and linguists, and they have contributed to the MELD corpus.
Master's thesis in Literacy studies