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Middle English dialects Абдулаева Севиля
Middle English was the period of the greatest dialectical divergence caused by the feudal system and by foreign influences – Scandinavian and French. The ME dialects developed from respective OE dialects.
NORTHERN This dialect is the continuation of the Northumbrian variant of Old English. Note that by Middle English times English had spread to (Lowland) Scotland and indeed led to a certain literary tradition developing there at the end of the Middle English period which has been continued up to the present time (with certain breaks, admittedly).
Characteristics. Velar stops are retained (i.e. not palatalised) as can be seen in word pairs like rigg/ridge; kirk/church.
KENTISH This is the most direct continuation of an Old English dialect and has more or less the same geographical distribution.
Characteristics The two most notable features of Kentish are (1) the existence of /e:/ for Middle English /i:/ and (2) so-called "initial softening" which caused fricatives in word-initial position to be pronounced voiced as in vat, vane and vixen (female fox).
WEST MIDLAND This is the most conservative of the dialect areas in the Middle English period and is fairly well-documented in literary works. It is the western half of the Old English dialect area Mercia.
Characteristics. The retention of the Old English rounded vowels /y:/ and /ø:/ which in the East had been unrounded to /i:/ and /e:/ respectively.
EAST MIDLAND This is the dialect out of which the later standard developed. To be precise the standard arose out of the London dialect of the late Middle English period. Note that the London dialect naturally developed into what is called Cockney today while the standard became less and less characteristic of a certain area and finally (after the 19th century) became the sociolect which is termed Received Pronunciation.
Characteristics In general those of the late embryonic Middle English standard.