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Cambridge Language Sciences

Interdisciplinary Research Centre


I have published on a range of aspects of early English language and literature. My main research is etymological and lexicological: broadly speaking, I am interested in the history of words, their semantics and their contexts, especially in Old and Middle English texts. My special focus is on the effects of contact between speakers of Old English and Old Norse in Viking Age England, especially on the English lexicon; I am currently writing a book about the Norse loanwords in the Middle English poem 'Sir Gawain and the Green Knight'.


Key publications: 

Dance, R. (2003). Words Derived from Old Norse in Early Middle English: Studies in the Vocabulary of the South-West Midland Texts. Tempe, AZ, ACMRS

Dance, R. (2004). Sound, Fury and Signifiers; or Wulfstan’s Language, in Wulfstan, Archbishop of York: The Proceedings of the Second Alcuin Conference, ed. M.Townend, Studies in the Early Middle Ages 10. Turnhout, Brepols, pp. 29–61

Dance, R. (2006). ‘“Þær wearð hream ahafen”: A Note on Old English Spelling and the Sound of The Battle of Maldon, in The Power of Words: Anglo-Saxon Studies Presented to Donald G. Scragg on his Seventieth Birthday, ed. H. Magennis and J. Wilcox. Morgantown WV, West Virginia University Press, pp. 278–317

Dance, R. (2007). Glossary and assorted Notes in Ancrene Wisse: A Corrected Edition of the Text in Cambridge, Corpus Christi College, MS 402, with Variants from Other Manuscripts, ed. B. Millett, vol. 2, General Introduction, Notes on Text, Glossary and Bibliography, Early English Text Society o.s. 326. Oxford, Oxford University Press.

Dance, R. (2011). ‘“Tomar3an hit is awane”: Words Derived from Old Norse in Four Lambeth Homilies, in Foreign Influences on Medieval English, ed. J. Fisiak and M. Bator, Studies in English Medieval Language and Literature 28. Frankfurt am Main, Peter Lang, pp. 77–127


Reader in Early English
Departments and institutes: 
Dr Richard  Dance

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