Visiting professors

Professor Richard Ingham

Richard Ingham holds degrees from the Universities of Oxford and London, and has previously taught at the University of Reading and Birmingham City University. His research interests are in language acquisition and change, with special reference to historical English/French contact.

He has published in a large number of international refereed journals, such as the Journal of Child Language, Linguistics, Lingua, Language Variation and Change, Transactions of the Philological Society, Linguistische Berichte, Medium Ævum and Zeitschrift für Romanische Philologie. His most frequently cited publications are on syntax acquisition, Middle English negation, and Anglo-Norman in contact with Middle English.

His current research focus is on language contact in medieval England, especially on English-French bilingualism in this context. Following two British Academy-funded workshops on contact influences between English and French in 2007-2008, he was Principal Investigator on the Leverhulme-funded ‘Bilingual Thesaurus of Medieval England’ project hosted at BCU. He is currently Visiting Professor at the University of Westminster, and Mercator Professor at the University of Mannheim, Germany. The latter role is part of a Deutsche ForsschungsGemeinschaft-funded project on Argument Structure in Contact Situations.

He has carried out a reassessment of multilingualism in later medieval England. Modern English, especially in less colloquial registers, is the outcome of extensive language contact influences in that period. He has explored the pivotal role of Anglo-Norman as the medium through which this process was enabled. His work to date has established that, in the century or so up to Chaucer, Anglo-Norman, far from being the degenerate ‘poorly understood jargon' of textbook notoriety, remained a functioning linguistic system, keeping step in key syntactic respects with the grammar of continental French, even though its pronunciation was heavily influenced by English. It thus remained a valid medium for linguistic contact in the usage of bilingual speakers in England until a much later date than has generally been supposed, which explains how French could exert so much influence on English up to and around Chaucer’s time.

His work on bilingual code switching in manorial accounts and dialogic language in law reports has provided empirical support for a picture of effective spoken language competence in French in day-to-day professional contexts, on the part of mother-tongue English speakers at this time.

He has also investigated how Anglo-Norman could have been transmitted for so long after the Norman Conquest. Anglo-Norman texts were produced by clerks belonging to the literate class, who would typically have received their education at school, not with private tutors, as did the aristocracy. He has focused on the school context, in which French was not taught, but used as a medium language for learning Latin. It seems to have been acquired quasi-naturalistically at school in the early-to-middle childhood years, within a 'critical period' for accurate syntax acquisition, but rather too late for native-like pronunciation. The combination of quite accurate syntax but divergent phonology in later Anglo-Norman thus makes good acquisitional sense.

His PhD and post-doctoral research on first language syntax acquisition, coupled with degree-level training in philology, has provided him with the conceptual and analytic framework needed to carry out this investigation.

He has been invited to present aspects of this work in France, Switzerland, Germany, Spain and Japan, and also as a video conference seminar for the World Universities Network. The research originated as a British Academy network grant 2005-2007, which funded two workshops on Middle English and Anglo-Norman held at Birmingham City University. In addition to sixteen research articles on Middle English/French contact published or accepted for publication, he has edited 'The Anglo-Norman language and its contexts', published by Boydell in 2010, and a monograph ‘The Transmission of Anglo-Norman’, published by John Benjamins in 2012.

Book publications
The transmission of Anglo-Norman: Language History and Language Acquisition. The Language Faculty and Beyond, research monograph series no. 9, John Benjamins, Amsterdam & New York. To appear in 2012.

Edited volumes

  • (2011). The evolution of negation (with Pierre Larrivée). Berlin: Mouton De Gruyter.
  • (2010). The Anglo-Norman language and its contexts, Woodbridge: Boydell.

Other principal publications

  • (2016a) ‘Investigating language change using Anglo-Norman spoken and written register data.’ Linguistics, 54/2, 381-409.
  • (2016b) ‘Vernacular Bilingualism in Professional Spaces, 1200 to 1400’. In A. Classen (ed.) Multilingualism in the Middle Ages: Theoretical Reflections. Berlin: Mouton De Gruyter, 145-163 (First author, with I. Marcus).
  • (2015a) ‘Spoken and written register differentation in pragmatic and semantic functions in two Anglo-Norman corpora’. In J. Gippert & R. Gehrke (eds.): Historical Corpora: Challenges and Perspectives. Proceedings of the conference Historical Corpora 2012. Corpus linguistics and Interdisciplinary perspectives on language (CLIP), Vol. 5. Tübingen: Narr.
  • (2015b) ‘The maintenance of French in later medieval England’. Neuphilologische Mitteilungen 115/4, 623-645.
  • (2014a) ‘Old French negation, the Tobler/Mussafia law, and V2’. Lingua 147, 25-39.
  • (2014b) ‘L’Ancien Français dialectal : une comparaison du marquage du genre grammatical en wallon oriental et en anglo-normand’. Eds T. Rainsford & W. Ayres-Bennett. Actes du 1er Colloque de la SIDF. Paris: Editions Classiques Garnier.
  • (2013a). ‘Language-mixing in medieval Latin documents: vernacular articles and nouns’. In J. Jefferson & A. Putter (eds.) Multilingualism in medieval Britain 1100-1500 Sources and Analysis, Turnhout: Brepols.
  • (2013b) The syntax of Negation in the history of English. In D. Willis (ed.) Negation in the languages of Europe. CUP.
  • (2013c) A Derivational Approach to Negative Polarity Item Licensing in Old French. In D. Arteaga (ed.) Research on Old French: The State of the Art: Studies on Natural Language and Linguistic Theory series no. 88. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. pp. 261-281.
  • (2013d) ‘Syntax and subtext: Diachronic variables, displacement and proximity in the verse dramas of Shakespeare and his contemporaries.’ Shakespeare 2013, 1-20. (First author, co- authored with M. Ingham).
  • (2012a) ‘Middle English and Anglo-Norman in Contact’. Bulletin de l’Association des Médiévistes Anglicistes de l’Enseignement Supérieur. 81, 1-23.
  • (2012b) Sense Extension through English-French Language Contact in Medieval England: The Case of as. In Claudia Lange/Beatrix Weber/ Göran Wolf (eds.), Communicative Spaces: Variation, Contact, and Change: Festschrift for Ursula Schaefer. Tübingen: Narr.
  • (2011a). 'The decline of bilingual competence in French in medieval England : evidence from the PROME database'. In N. Langer, S. Davies, & W. Vandenbussche. (eds.) Language and History, Linguistics and Historiography – Interdisciplinary Problems and Opportunities. Berne: Peter Lang. Pp. 71-292.
  • (2011b). 'Code-switching in the later medieval English lay subsidy rolls'. In L. Wright & H. Schendl (eds.) Code-Switching in Early English. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. Pp. 95-114.
  • (2011c). 'Grammar change in Anglo-Norman and continental French: the replacement of non-assertive indefinite nul by aucun.' Diachronica, 28, 4, 441-467.
  • (2010a). 'The Transmission of Anglo-Norman' in R. Ingham (ed.) The Anglo-Norman language and its contexts, Woodbridge: Boydell, pp. 164-182.
  • (2010b). 'Later Anglo-Norman as a contact variety of French?' In R. Ingham (ed.) The Anglo-Norman language and its contexts, Woodbridge: Boydell, pp. 8-25.
  • (2010c). 'Negative co-ordination in the history of English.' In A. Breitbarth, C. Lucas, S. Watts, & D. Willis (eds.) Continuity and Change in Grammar. Amsterdam: Benjamins, pp. 181-200.
  • (2009a). 'The Persistence of Anglo-Norman 1230-1362: A Linguistic Perspective'. In J. Wogan-Browne (ed.) Language and Culture: French of England 1100-1500, Woodbridge: Boydell, 44-54.
  • (2009b). 'Mixing Languages on the Manor'. Medium Aevum, 78 (1) 80-97.
  • (2009c). 'Expletive pro and Misagreement in Late Middle English.' In P. Crisma & G. Longobardi (eds.), Historical Syntax and Linguistic Theory. OUP, pp. 311-328. (with K. Grohmann,)
  • (2008a). 'The grammar of later medieval French: an initial exploration of the Anglo-Norman Dictionary textbase'. In C. Guillot, S. Heiden, A. Lavrentiev, C. Marchello-Nizia (eds.) Corpus 7, Constitution et exploitation des corpus d'ancien et de moyen français. Pp. 115-134.
  • (2008b). 'Contact with Scandinavian and late Middle English negative concord'. Studia Anglica Posnaniensia 44, 125-36.
  • (2008c). 'On the postfinite misagreement phenomenon in late Middle English. In M. Gotti, M. Dossena & R. Dury (eds.) English Historical Linguistics 2006 Vol. 1, Syntax and morphology. Amsterdam: Benjamins. pp. 125-140 (with Kleanthes Grohman)
  • (2007a). 'NegP and negated constituent movement in the history of English.' Transactions of the Philological Society 105, 3, 1-33.
  • (2007b). 'Negation and adverbs in Middle English.' Lingua 117, 1-25 (co-authored with Eric Haeberli). (2007c). 'A structural constraint on multiple negation in Late Middle and Early Modern English', Medieval English Mirror 3, 55-67.
  • (2006a).'Syntactic change in Anglo-Norman and Continental French Chronicles: was there a 'Middle' Anglo-Norman?' Journal of French Language Studies 16, 1 25-49.
  • (2006b). 'Negative concord and the loss of the negative particle ne in late Middle English'. Studia Anglica Posnaniensia, 42, 77-96.
  • (2006c). 'The status of French in medieval England: evidence from the use of object pronoun syntax'. Vox Romanica 65, 1-22.
  • (2005). The loss of Neg V->C in Middle English. Linguistiche Berichte 202, 171-206.
  • (2003a). 'The development of the expletive negative construction in Middle English'. Transactions of the Philological Society, 101, 3 411-452.
  • (2003b). 'The changing status of Middle English OV order: evidence from two genres'. SKY Journal of Linguistics (Finland) 16, 75-92.
  • (2002). 'Negated subjects and object positions in 15th century English'. Language Variation and Change 14, 291-322.
  • (2000a). 'Negation and OV order in Late Middle English'. Journal of Linguistics 36 13-38.
  • (2000b). 'Argument structure preferences in pre-school and school- age children'. In M. Perkins & S. Howard (eds.) New directions in language development and disorders. Kluwer/Plenum: New York. 129-138.
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