Postdoctoral project at the University of Turku | Funded by the Academy of Finland

Multilingualism in the Long Twelfth Century is a postdoctoral project focusing on the patterns of multilingual practices in English texts from c. 1066 to c. 1250. The practices include code-switching between two or more languages (English, Latin, French), the use of glosses on the manuscript page, and the interplay between citations and their translations or paraphrases. The objective of the project is to provide a thorough description and analysis of the multilingual practices as evidenced in material from an important but typically overlooked period in the history of English. The material includes a broad selection of manuscripts from the period, and the methods draw on contact linguistics, sociolinguistics, pragmatics, paleography and codicology.

Funding source: Academy of Finland

Site of research: Department  of English, School of Languages and Translation Studies, Faculty of Humanities, University of Turku

Funding period: September 2012 to August 2015 | My research in this field continues although the funding period is over.

Principal investigator: Dr Janne Skaffari (information also at

Contact: [email] firstname . lastname at utu . fi, [post] Department of English, University of Turku, FI-20014 Turku, Finland


Multilingual Practices in the History of Written English research project (MultiPract), School of Language, Translation and Literary Studies, University of Tampere:
principal investigator Prof. Päivi Pahta; senior scholars Dr Arja Nurmi, Dr Janne Skaffari (2015-16), Dr Jukka Tyrkkö & Dr Laura Wright

Pragmatics on the Page research team (PoP),Department of English, University of Turku:
principal investigator Prof. Matti Peikola

CS-KKL team of code-switching researchers, School of Languages and Translation Studies (KKL), University of Turku:
convenor Dr Janne Skaffari

Framing Text: Paratextual Communication in English, 1400-1600 research team (Frami), Department of English, University of Turku:
principal investigator Prof. Matti Peikola

Mr Aleksi Mäkilähde, MA, UTUGS/Utuling doctoral candidate, Department of English, University of Turku

Associate Professor Leena Kolehmainen, Foreign Languages and Translation Studies, University of Eastern Finland (Crossling research network, Kontu project); now Professor at University of Turku


Historical Code-Switching: The Next Step International symposium organized jointly by the UTA and UTU projects, 11-13 June 2014.

Linguistics Meets Book History: Seeking New Approaches A Pragmatics on the Page symposium, 24-25 October 2014.

Publications (written and/or published during the funding period)

  • Carroll, Ruth, Matti Peikola, Hanna Salmi, Mari-Liisa Varila, Janne Skaffari & Risto Hiltunen. 2013. Pragmatics on the page: Visual text in late medieval English books. European Journal of English Studies 17:1 (special issue: Visual Text), 54-71.
  • Kolehmainen, Leena & Janne Skaffari. 2016. Multilingual practices in contemporary and historical contexts: Interfaces between code-switching and translation. Multilingua: Journal of Cross-Cultural and Interlanguage Communication 35:2, 123-135.
  • Kolehmainen, Leena & Janne Skaffari (eds.). 2016. Multilingual Practices in Contemporary and Historical Contexts. Special issue of Multilingua: Journal of Cross-Cultural and Interlanguage Communication 35:2.
  • Lintunen, Pekka & Janne Skaffari. 2014. L2 English learners as public speakers: Generic and language-specific features in learner narratives. AFinLA-e 6, 45-63.
  • Pahta, Päivi, Janne Skaffari & Laura Wright. 2018. From historical code-switching to multilingual practices in the past. In Pahta et al. (eds.), 3-17.
  • Pahta, Päivi, Janne Skaffari & Laura Wright (eds.). 2018. Multilingual Practices in Language History: English and Beyond (Language Contact and Bilingualism, 15). Berlin & Boston: De Gruyter Mouton.
  • Skaffari, Janne. 2012. English in contact: French. In Bergs, A. & L.J. Brinton (eds.). English Historical Linguistics: An International Handbook (Handbooks of Linguistics and Communication Science, 34.2). Berlin & New York: De Gruyter Mouton, 1671-1686.
  • Skaffari, Janne. 2013. Review of Herbert Schendl & Laura Wright (eds.), Code-Switching in Early English. Neuphilologische Mitteilungen CXIV:1, 121-124.
  • Skaffari, Janne. 2015. Review of R. D. Fulk, An Introductory Grammar of Old English. Mirator 16:2, 338-344.
  • Skaffari, Janne. 2016. Code-switching and vernacular support: An early Middle English case study. Multilingua: Journal of Cross-Cultural and Interlanguage Communication 35:2, 203-226.
  • Skaffari, Janne. 2018. Code-switching in the long twelfth century. In Pahta, Päivi, Janne Skaffari & Laura Wright (eds.). Multilingual Practices in Language History: English and Beyond. Berlin & Boston: De Gruyter Mouton, 121-142.
  • Skaffari, Janne & Aleksi Mäkilähde. 2014. Code-switching in historical materials: Research at the limits of contact linguistics. In Nicolaï, R. (ed.). Questioning Language Contact: Limits of Contact, Contact at its Limits (Brill Studies in Language Contact and Dynamics of Language, 1). Leiden & Boston: Brill, 252-279.
  • Skaffari, Janne & Carla Suhr. forthcoming. Middle English: An invitation to HEL through problem solving. Accepted for Teaching the History of the English Language. Modern Language Association.

Presentations (2012-15)

  • Bordering on loan: words from the long twelfth century. Hel-Lex 3: New Approaches in English Historical Lexis, Helsinki/Hanko 2012.
  • Pragmatic motivations for visual choices in the pages of the Polychronicon. Joint paper of the PoP team. 17th International Conference on English Historical Linguistics, Zürich 2012.
  • The Polychronicon on the page: Visual and material aspects of the late medieval English book. Joint paper of the PoP team. Dies Medievales – Kirjat, kirjoittaminen ja kirjallinen kulttuuri keskiajan Euroopassa, Turku 2012.
  • Translation as (evidence for) language contact: A case study of code-switching in 13th-century England”. Crossling Symposium: Language Contacts at the Crossroads of Disciplines, UEF/Joensuu 2013.
  • Monikielistä menneisyyttä tutkimassa [‘Researching the multilingual past’]. Utuling research seminar, Turku 2013.
  • Multilingualism in the long twelfth century: a project and a case study. English Dept research seminar, Turku 2013.
  • Code-switching in a shadowy period. Studying Multilingual Practices research seminar, Tampere 2013.
  • When diachrony met synchrony: A tale of two approaches. Utuling summer school, Turku 2013.
  • Vices, virtues and code-switching: Multilingual practices in the long twelfth century. Historical Code-Switching: The Next Step, Tampere 2014.
  • He luuede abstinenciam: Code-switching and language-mixing in post-Conquest texts. 18th International Conference on English Historical Linguistics, Leuven 2014.
  • Historical code-switching research: Advances and advantages. Joint paper with the MultiPract team and Aleksi Mäkilähde. Language Contact: The State of the Art, Helsinki 2014.
  • “I sauh Rubrisshis, departyd blak and Reed, Of ech Chapitle a paraf in the heed”: Forms on the page and their discourse functions in early English manuscripts and printed books. Joint paper with the PoP team. Linguistics Meets Book History: A Pragmatics on the Page symposium, Turku 2014.
  • Linguistic choices in English manuscripts from the long twelfth century: Visible and hidden multilingualism. 50th International Congress on Medieval Studies, Kalamazoo 2015.
  • Fifty shades of red: Flagging multiple tongues. 7th Finnish Society for the Study of English Conference, Vaasa 2015.