Jacob Thaisen, born in Rødovre, Denmark, in 1972. Ph.D. from De Montfort University, Leicester, United Kingdom. Associate Professor of Literacy Studies at the University of Stavanger.
Fellow (1 September 2014 – 30 June 2015)
A Survey of Allographic Variation in Middle English
There was no standard way to spell in the late Middle English period (c. 1350-1450), nor consistency in the selection between shapes of the same letter (‘allographs’). The project seeks to establish whether nonstandardised writing systems are characterized by structured allographic variation and if so, to identify the variables determining that variation.
There was no standard way to spell in the late Middle English period (c. 1350-1450), but it is known that spelling exhibits structured variation according to variables such as geography and text-type. The project supplements the `Middle English Scribal Texts’ programme, a long-term research project investigating this variation. It extends the investigation to include the selection between shapes of the same letter (‘allographs’). It aims to establish whether allographic variation too is structured and if so, to identify the variables determining the variation. To achieve this objective, the project surveys the allographs found in c. 800 texts, principally documents, considering a range of variables. The project subjects these data to multivariate statistical testing (binary logistic regression) to determine their relative salience.
1) Thaisen, Jacob. ‘Initial Position in the Middle English Verse Line’, English Studies, 
2) Thaisen, Jacob. ‘Gamelyn’s Place among the Early Exemplars for Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales’, Neophilologus, 2012. DOI:10.1007/s11061-012-9315-3
3) Thaisen, Jacob. ‘A Probabilistic Analysis of a Middle English Text’. In Digitizing Medieval and Early Modern Material Culture, edited by Brent Nelson and Melissa Terras (New Technologies in Medieval and Renaissance Studies). Tempe: Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, 171-200, 2012