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Martin Findell

Assistant Professor in Historical Linguistics, Faculty of Arts

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Biography

After studying at the University of Sheffield (BA English Language with Linguistics 2005; MA Historical Language Studies 2006), I came to the University of Nottingham for my PhD (Vocalism in the Continental runic inscriptions, 2010). I taught at several UK universities and at the Universität Paderborn in Germany before starting work on a postdoctoral research project at the University of Leicester in 2011. I rejoined the School of English at Nottingham as a permanent member of staff in September 2015.

Expertise Summary

Runology; historical linguistics (chiefly Germanic phonology); history of the English language; the popular reception of ideas about runes, language, magic and Germanic mythology.

Teaching Summary

I teach on undergraduate modules in medieval English and in modern English Language and Linguistics, bringing a historical perspective into the teaching of synchronic linguistics. I also contribute… read more

Research Summary

From 2011-2015 I was a postdoctoral Research Associate on the Levehulme Trust-funded research programme "The Impact of Diasporas on the Making of Britain" at the University of Leicester… read more

Recent Publications

  • FINDELL, MARTIN., 2016. The Portormin (Dunbeath) runestone Futhark. 6, 153-170
  • FINDELL, MARTIN, 2015. Linguistic Variation in Early Anglo-Saxon England. In: ROBIN COHEN, JOANNA STORY and NICOLAS MOON, eds., The Impact of Diasporas Oxford Diasporas Programme and The Impact of Diasporas on the Making of Britain. 52-56
  • FINDELL, MARTIN, 2014. Runes. British Museum.
  • FINDELL, MARTIN, 2013. From Hávamál to racial hygiene: Guido List's Das Geheimnis der Runen, 'The Secret of the Runes' (1908).. In: CHRISTINA LEE and NICOLA MCLELLAND, eds., Germania Remembered 1500-2009: Commemorating and inventing a Germanic past Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies. 249-269

I teach on undergraduate modules in medieval English and in modern English Language and Linguistics, bringing a historical perspective into the teaching of synchronic linguistics. I also contribute to postgraduate teaching in both of these areas. Current modules taught include:

  • Q31103 Language and Context
  • Q31207 Beginnings of English
  • Q32206 English through Time (module convenor)
  • Q34306 The Language of Stones
  • Q34D07 From englisc to inglish: History of the English Language (Distance Learning)
  • Q34D50 Descriptive Linguistic Analysis (Distance Learning)

Current Research

From 2011-2015 I was a postdoctoral Research Associate on the Levehulme Trust-funded research programme "The Impact of Diasporas on the Making of Britain" at the University of Leicester (www.le.ac.uk/diasporas). The focus of my project, "Linguistic Variation in Early Anglo-Saxon England", deals with linguistic data from the period c.400-700 AD, which has hitherto been either neglected or studied through established methods of comparative and internal reconstruction, locating it as a precursor to the better-attested Old English of later centuries. As powerful as the methods of reconstruction are, they have limitations which are well known to historical linguists and are particularly salient when dealing with a small dataset, since traditional models of language reconstruction are designed to account for systemic change, rather than the synchronic description of language in use at a particular place and time. A thorough description of the language of this period is obviously impossible without a larger amount of data, but the traditional account can be supplemented by examining the data from other methodological perspectives and incorporating insights and methods from other linguistic subdisciplines such as historical sociolinguistics and contact linguistics.

I am in the process of writing up this research as a monograph, in which I argue for a focus on smaller-scale, local communities of use rather than treating the language as a monolithic "national" entity.

Past Research

I have published research on the Continental (or "South Germanic") runic inscriptions; on runic inscriptions which are (or are suspected of being) of modern origin; on the use of runes in early twentieth-century völkisch occultism in Germany and Austria (which influenced Nazi iconography and also had a significant impact on modern pagan beliefs). I have also published a general introductory book on runes for the British Museum.

Future Research

In collaboration with Dr Philip Shaw at the University of Leicester I am undertaking a semantic study of the Old English ethnonym wealh (usually glossed "Briton, Welshman")) and its later development of a social meaning, "slave, servant". As a follow-on project, I am planning a more thorough stylistic analysis of the Old English texts in which wealh appears as a legal category.

  • FINDELL, MARTIN., 2016. The Portormin (Dunbeath) runestone Futhark. 6, 153-170
  • FINDELL, MARTIN, 2015. Linguistic Variation in Early Anglo-Saxon England. In: ROBIN COHEN, JOANNA STORY and NICOLAS MOON, eds., The Impact of Diasporas Oxford Diasporas Programme and The Impact of Diasporas on the Making of Britain. 52-56
  • FINDELL, MARTIN, 2014. Runes. British Museum.
  • FINDELL, MARTIN, 2013. From Hávamál to racial hygiene: Guido List's Das Geheimnis der Runen, 'The Secret of the Runes' (1908).. In: CHRISTINA LEE and NICOLA MCLELLAND, eds., Germania Remembered 1500-2009: Commemorating and inventing a Germanic past Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies. 249-269
  • FINDELL, MARTIN, 2013. Review of Michael P. Barnes, Runes: A Handbook (2012). History. 98, 769-770
  • FINDELL, MARTIN, 2012. Phonological Evidence from the Continental Runic Inscriptions. de Gruyter.
  • FINDELL, MARTIN, 2012. The Germanic diphthongs in the Continental runic inscriptions. Futhark. 3, 45-58
  • FINDELL, MARTIN, 2010. East Germanic and West Germanic in contact: n-stem personal names in the Continental runic inscriptions.. In: JUDITH MILLS and MARJOLEIN STERN, eds., North and South, East and West: Movements in the Medieval World, Proceedings of the 2nd Postgraduate Conference of the Institute of Medieval Research, University of Nottingham.
  • FINDELL, MARTIN, 2007. The 'Book of Enoch', the Angelic Alphabet and the 'Real Cabbala' in the Angelic Conferences of John Dee (1527-1608/9). Henry Sweet Society Bulletin. 48, 7-22

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