Variations in Middle English local surnames
Md Abu Shahid Abdullah
Although there are many local surnames in Middle English that originate from places still on map and can easily be identified, many of the surnames indicate nothing more than the place of origin. The article will focus on the factors behind the distortion and variation of Middle English local surnames, and surmises that they vary from place to place because of the way they are spelt, because of the phonetic change and, most importantly, because of the dialectal variation. Variations in local surnames also take place because of the distance a name travels from its origin, of addition of different suffixes, and of different peculiarities. Focusing on four Middle English local surnames with their variants, the article will talk about the etymology of the names, their variations, and the reasons behind their variations. In the case of Oakes, Noakes, and Roake, variations arise from grammatical misinterpretations or the knowledge of the function of prepositional elements. Initial F- in the South was pronounced V which we find in Venn and Fenn. Aston and Easton have the same etymology but they differ from each other on regional and phonological perspectives. Last but not least, Staniforth is a variant of Stanford where the variation arises because of the dialectal variations of suffix –ford and –forth.
Key Words: surnames, suffix, distortion, variation