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Showing posts from June, 2015

Words of the month: Parker, Paliser and Parchementer: Anglo-Norman occupational surnames

One of the other changes in the dictionary entries that users might notice, aside from the new usage tags and the addition of references to cognate words in other dictionaries, involves the content of the entries. The addition that is likely to interest a wide variety of users is that we are beginning to note the use of certain terms as surnames, where we have attestations of such a use. ( Bede roll of the Guild of the Blessed Virgin Mary (1349-50), Parker Library) The inclusion of surnames in dictionaries is not without difficulties. As we mentioned earlier this year in our discussion of the words  pastry/pie , often the language of surnames is problematic: names frequently occur in lists which may follow a bilingual or trilingual text. How then to determine the language of the name? In general, we try to err on the side of inclusion, as frequently surnames attest to Anglo-Norman (as well as Middle English and Latin) words far earlier than they appear in literary or admin