History at Leicester

Dialect in Diaspora: People and Places (PhD)


  • Dr Jayne Carroll

PhD student

  • Eleanor Rye

This project is being carried out at The Institute for Name-Studies at the University of Nottingham as part of The Impact of Diasporas on the Making of Britain programme. While the programme is based at the University of Leicester, the studentship is based at the Institute for Name-Studies at the University of Nottingham, a collaborative partner in the programme.

Eleanor Rye is contributing to the ‘Dialect in Diasporas’ strand of the Programme by writing a PhD on the minor names—the names of, for example, fields and landscape features rather than settlements—of specified areas in England which are thought to have been settled by Scandinavians during the Viking Age. New genetic research on the living population of parts of northwest England shows that men who bear surnames used in the area in medieval times have markedly greater Scandinavian ancestry than those who do not. This supports the idea that Scandinavians settled in these areas in the Viking Age and offers a methodology whereby different regions can be compared for relative levels of ‘Viking’ ancestry. Place-names, particularly minor names, have the potential to provide a linguistic correlative to these relative levels of Scandinavian ancestry, and Eleanor is working closely with members of the Programme team to assess the contribution that can be made by linguistic analysis of these names to a wider, multidisciplinary approach.

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