Originally presented at the second in the newly-launched series of International Conferences on English Historical Dialectology, held at the University of Bergamo in August 2007, the contributions collected in this volume discuss significant aspects of socio-geo-historical variation in language. In addition to British English, the focus is on Dutch, Scots and varieties of English outside England (in Wales and in the American colonies of the seventeenth century), in a time span ranging from medieval times to the nineteenth century. The aim is to highlight the traits that allow scholars to approach the study of English in a broader European perspective, identifying the patterns that show convergence or divergence, not just in terms of shared linguistic features (morphosyntactic, lexical or pragmatic), but also in terms of methodological approaches. In this respect, great attention is given to the latest developments in corpus and computational linguistics, showing the extent to which such new tools as electronic atlases and tagged corpora may facilitate answers to important research questions.
At the same time, perceptual dialectology is awarded new interest on account of its significant role in normative and argumentative language use.