This English Dialect Grammar was also published, in 1905, as a separate work, and contains a full account of the phonology of all the chief dialects, the very variable pronunciation of a large number of leading words being accurately indicated by the use of a special set of symbols; the Table of Vowel-sounds is given at p. 13. The Phonology is followed by an Accidence, which discusses the peculiarities of dialect grammar. Next follows a rather large collection of important words, that are differently pronounced in different counties; for example, more than thirty variations are recorded of the pronunciation of the word house. The fulness of the Vocabulary in the Dictionary, and the minuteness of the account of the phonology and accidence in the Grammar, leave nothing to desire. Certainly no other country can give so good an account of its Dialects.
THE MODERN DIALECTS
It has been shown that, in the earliest period, we can distinguish three well-marked dialects besides the Kentish, viz. Northumbrian, Mercian, and Anglo-Saxon; and these, in the Middle English period, are known as Northern, Midland, and Southern. The modern dialects are very numerous, but can be arranged under five divisions, two of which may be called Northern and Southern, as before; whilst the other three arise from a division of the widely spread Midland into subdivisions. These may be called, respectively, West Midland, Mid Midland (or simply Midland), and East Midland; and it has been shown that similar subdivisions appear even in the Middle English period.
This arrangement of the modern dialects under five divisions is that adopted by Prof. Wright, who further simplifies the names by using Western in place of West Midland, and Eastern in place of East Midland. This gives us, as a final result, five divisions of English dialects, viz. Northern, Western, Midland, Eastern, and Southern; to which we must add the dialects of modern Scotland (originally Northern), and the dialects of Ireland, viz. of Ulster (a kind of Northern), Dublin, and Wexford (a kind of Southern).
No map of dialects is here given in illustration, because it is practically impossible to define their boundaries accurately. Such a map was once given by Dr Ellis, but it is only arbitrary; and Prof. Wright expressly says that, in his work also, the boundaries suggested are inexact; they are only given for convenience, as an approximation to the truth. He agrees with Dr Ellis in most of the particulars.
Many of the counties are divided between two, or even three, dialects; I somewhat simplify matters by omitting to mention some of them, so as to give merely a general idea of the chief dialectal localities. For fuller information, see the Dialect Grammar.
I. The dialects of Scotland may be subdivided into nine groups: