• English regional dialect lexis in the names and occupations of the Gloucestershire Cotswolds: a reassessment of the relationship between names and dialects

      Parkin, Harry; University of the West of England (De Gruyter, 2015-11-03)
      A number of surname-based studies have presented a relationship between medieval regional dialect lexis and the distribution of associated modern-day surnames. However, by carrying out localised research, it appears that the two might not be so closely linked as previously thought, with discrepancies in the distribution of regionally specific names and equivalent occupational descriptions. As a result, there seems to be a need to reconsider the connection between regional lexicons and corresponding name stocks, which may have been less closely related, at a period of non-hereditary by-naming, than current knowledge suggests.
    • The Realisation of Electric Light in the Early Twentieth Century

      Richard Leahy; University of Chester (De Gruyter, 2015-10-01)
      Perceptions of electric light in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century witnessed a rapid turnaround of popular opinion on the light source; following its widespread adoption from the 1880s, it was at first met with derision, before perceptions shifted around the fin-de-siècle period, and it eventually grew into the light source that would come to define twentieth century. It evolved from something that was perceived as a symbol of the modern - it was a fantastical presence in the literature of Jules Verne many years before its realisation for example - to something that solidified a sense of modern life. Electricity, Alex Goody writes, 'transformed Victorian Culture', suggesting that "it was electric light that epitomised this transforming power […] the coming of electric light is a transformation of culture at a fundamental level; it marks the coming of what Marshall McLuhan, in Understanding Media, calls 'the electric age' (Goody 2011: 7) Electric light was both symbol and catalyst of the late nineteenth-century emergence of the truly modern world of capitalism and mass-society. McLuhan claims that this early emergence of the electric age had a distinct cultural and psychological impact on the way people thought of modernity: "electric light is pure information […] a medium without a message," further suggesting that its light "has no content, and in this purity it ushers in a modern world where instant communication connects us in a web of interaction"(McLuhan 2001: 8). McLuhan's analysis of the early electric age suggests a continuation of the burgeoning qualities and perceptions of the processes of gaslight - the invention of a networked system of light took the power of lighting away from an individual; people no longer felt as intimate a connection with the light they inhabited as they did in fire or candlelight.