Devin Jacobsen

University of St Andrews Postgraduate Award, University of St Andrews - Linguistics

In his Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus Ludwig Wittgenstein famously wrote: “[…] the limits of the language […] mean the limits of my world.” Along these lines, just how language has been able to convey information for the last hundred thousand years while signifying little to nothing fascinates me. Paradigmatic of this phenomenon are loanwords – words taken from one language by another – which retain and push against meaning as they travel from culture to culture. My studies at St. Andrews will explore which, how, and why certain Greek and Latin loanwords got assimilated into English in early medieval England. As I research my dissertation, I plan to make use of St. Andrews’s resources like its Institute of Medieval Studies, Centre for Mediaeval and Early Modern Law and Literature and special collections. Yet mostly importantly, I am thrilled to work with Christine Rauer, whose edition of The Old English Martyrology will be essential for my research on the transmission of vocabulary from the continent to England. I am an avid hiker and classically trained violinist and look forward to playing sonatas to the Munros, straths, and valleys on treks through the Highlands.