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Linguistics and English Language

Mary Begley

PhD title

ne eom ic wod: a diachronic analysis of the semantic field of madness

My research is concerned with Middle English medical texts and language change in the semantic field of madness.

Taking as a starting point my transcriptions of medieval medical recipe texts Rylands English MS 404 and Chetham’s MS Mun.A.3.127, my PhD focuses on the pragmatics of this text type. I will be looking at how madness language in medical recipe texts is situated in comparison to that in philosophical, legal and literary genres. In particular, I am interested in the relationship between linguistic representations of mental illness and Medieval cultural ideologies.


David Denison and David Matthews

Research interests

  • Historical pragmatics
  • Language change
  • Discourse analysis
  • Manuscript studies


  • MA English Language, The University of Manchester, 2011 (Distinction)
  • BA English Language, The University of Manchester, 2010 (First Class Honours)
  • MA Women’s Studies, Manchester Metropolitan University, 2002
  • BA Women’s Studies, Manchester Metropolitan University, 1997
  • Registered Mental Nurse, 1991
  • Registered General Nurse, 1988

Teaching areas

  • 2011, GTA for Introduction to Old English (LELA20091)
  • 2012, GTA for Introduction to Middle English Language (LELA 20052)

Voluntary work

Since 2009, I have worked with CHICC at the John Rylands Library, Deansgate, first cataloguing, and now transcribing Middle English manuscripts. My transcription of Rylands English MS 404 (medical recipes), which formed a part of my MA thesis, is now available online alongside the high quality digital images of the manuscript. I was also involved, along with Jasmine Sparrow, in transcribing Rylands English MS 7 (The Forme of Cury), which is now available as an ‘ebook Treasure’.

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