Leicester is a city and unitary authority area in the East Midlands of England, the county town of Leicestershire. The city close to the eastern end of the National Forest; the 2016 mid year estimate of the population of the City of Leicester unitary authority was 348,300, an increase of 18,500 from the 2011 census figure of 329,839, making it the most populous municipality in the East Midlands region. The associated urban area is the 11th most populous in England and the 13th most populous in the United Kingdom. Leicester is at the intersection of two major railway lines—the north/south Midland Main Line and the east/west Birmingham to London Stansted CrossCountry line. Leicester is the home to football club Leicester City and rugby club Leicester Tigers; the name of Leicester is recorded in the 9th-century History of the Britons as Cair Lerion, in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle as Ligora-ceastre. In the Domesday Book of 1086, it is recorded as Ledecestre; the first element of the name, Ligora or Legora, is explained as a Brittonic river name, in a suggestion going back to William Somner an earlier name of the River Soar, cognate with the name of the Loire.
The second element of the name comes from the Latin castrum, reflected in both Welsh cair and Anglo-Saxon ceastre. Based on the Welsh name, Geoffrey of Monmouth proposes a king Leir of Britain as an eponymous founder in his Historia Regum Britanniae. Leicester is one of the oldest cities in England, with a history going back at least two millennia; the native Iron Age settlement encountered by the Romans at the site seems to have developed in the 2nd or 1st centuries BC. Little is known about this settlement or the condition of the River Soar at this time, although roundhouses from this era have been excavated and seem to have clustered along 8 hectares of the east bank of the Soar above its confluence with the Trent; this area of the Soar was split into two channels: a main stream to the east and a narrower channel on the west, with a marshy island between. The settlement seems to have controlled a ford across the larger channel; the Roman name was a latinate form of the Brittonic word for "ramparts", suggesting the site was an oppidum.
The plural form of the name suggests it was composed of several villages. The Celtic tribe holding the area was recorded as the "Coritanians" but an inscription recovered in 1983 showed this to have been a corruption of the original "Corieltauvians"; the Corieltauvians are believed to have ruled over the area of the East Midlands. It is believed that the Romans arrived in the Leicester area around AD 47, during their conquest of southern Britain; the Corieltauvian settlement lay near a bridge on the Fosse Way, a Roman road between the legionary camps at Isca and Lindum. It remains unclear whether the Romans fortified and garrisoned the location, but it developed from around the year 50 onwards as the tribal capital of the Corieltauvians under the name Ratae Corieltauvorum. In the 2nd century, it received a bathhouse. In 2013, the discovery of a Roman cemetery found just outside the old city walls and dating back to AD 300 was announced; the remains of the baths of Roman Leicester can be seen at the Jewry Wall.
Knowledge of the town following the Roman withdrawal from Britain is limited. There is some continuation of occupation of the town, though on a much reduced scale in the 5th and 6th centuries, its memory was preserved as the Cair Lerion of the History of the Britons. Following the Saxon invasion of Britain, Leicester was occupied by the Middle Angles and subsequently administered by the kingdom of Mercia, it was elevated to a bishopric in either 679 or 680. Their settlement became one of the Five Burghs of the Danelaw, although this position was short-lived; the Saxon bishop, fled to Dorchester-on-Thames and Leicester did not become a bishopric again until the Church of St Martin became Leicester Cathedral in 1927. The settlement was recorded under the name Ligeraceaster in the early 10th century. Following the Norman conquest, Leicester was recorded by William's Domesday Book as Ledecestre, it was noted as a city but lost this status in the 11th century owing to power struggles between the Church and the aristocracy and did not become a legal city again until 1919.
Geoffrey of Monmouth composed his History of the Kings of Britain around the year 1136, naming a King Leir as an eponymous founder figure. According to Geoffrey's narrative, Cordelia had buried her father beneath the river in a chamber dedicated to Janus and his feast day was an annual celebration; when Simon de Montfort became Lord of Leicester in 1231, he gave the city a grant to expel the Jewish population "in my time or in the time of any of my heirs to the end of the world". He justified his action as being "for the good of my soul, for the souls of my ancestors and successors". Leicester's Jews were allowed to move to the eastern suburbs, which were controlled by de Montfort's great-aunt and rival, Countess of Winchester, after she took advice from the scholar and cleric Robert Grosseteste. There is evidence that Jews remained there until 1253, enforcement of the banishment within the city was not rigorously enforced. De Montfort however issued a second edict for the expulsion of Leicester's Jews in 1253, after Grosseteste's death.
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West Yorkshire is a metropolitan county in England. It is an inland and in relative terms upland county having eastward-draining valleys while taking in moors of the Pennines and has a population of 2.2 million. West Yorkshire came into existence as a metropolitan county in 1974 after the passage of the Local Government Act 1972. West Yorkshire consists of five metropolitan boroughs and is bordered by the counties of Derbyshire to the south, Greater Manchester to the south-west, Lancashire to the north-west, North Yorkshire to the north and east, South Yorkshire to the south and south-east. Remnants of strong coal and iron ore industries remain in the county, having attracted people over the centuries, this can be seen in the buildings and architecture. Leeds may become a terminus for a north-east limb of High Speed 2. Major railways and two major motorways traverse the county, which contains Leeds Bradford International Airport. West Yorkshire County Council was abolished in 1986 so its five districts became unitary authorities.
However, the metropolitan county, which covers an area of 2,029 square kilometres, continues to exist in law, as a geographic frame of reference. Since 1 April 2014 West Yorkshire has been a combined authority area, with the local authorities pooling together some functions over transport and regeneration as the West Yorkshire Combined Authority. West Yorkshire includes the West Yorkshire Urban Area, the biggest and most built-up urban area within the historic county boundaries of Yorkshire. West Yorkshire was formed as a metropolitan county in 1974, by the Local Government Act 1972, corresponds to the core of the historic West Riding of Yorkshire and the county boroughs of Bradford, Halifax, Huddersfield and Wakefield. West Yorkshire Metropolitan County Council inherited the use of West Riding County Hall at Wakefield, opened in 1898, from the West Riding County Council in 1974. Since 1987 it has been the headquarters of Wakefield City Council; the county had a two-tier structure of local government with a strategic-level county council and five districts providing most services.
In 1986, throughout England the metropolitan county councils were abolished. The functions of the county council were devolved to the boroughs. Organisations such as the West Yorkshire Metro continue to operate on this basis. Although the county council was abolished, West Yorkshire continues to form a metropolitan and ceremonial county with a Lord Lieutenant of West Yorkshire and a High Sheriff. Wakefield's Parish Church was raised to cathedral status in 1888 and after the elevation of Wakefield to diocese, Wakefield Council sought city status and this was granted in July 1888; however the industrial revolution, which changed West and South Yorkshire led to the growth of Leeds and Bradford, which became the area's two largest cities. Leeds was granted city status in 1893 and Bradford in 1897; the name of Leeds Town Hall reflects the fact that at its opening in 1858 Leeds was not yet a city, while Bradford renamed its Town Hall as City Hall in 1965. The county borders, going anticlockwise from the west: Lancashire, Greater Manchester, South Yorkshire and North Yorkshire.
It lies entirely on rocks of carboniferous age which form the southern Pennine fringes in the west and the Yorkshire coalfield further eastwards. In the extreme east of the metropolitan county there are younger deposits of magnesian limestone; the Bradford and Calderdale areas are dominated by the scenery of the eastern slopes of the Pennines, dropping from upland in the west down to the east, dissected by many steep-sided valleys. Large-scale industry, housing and commercial buildings of differing heights, transport routes and open countryside conjoin; the dense network of roads and railways and urban development, confined by valleys creates dramatic interplay of views between settlements and the surrounding hillsides, as shaped the first urban-rural juxtapositions of David Hockney. Where most rural the land crops up in the such rhymes and folklore as On Ilkley Moor Bah'Tat, date unknown, the early 19th century novels and poems of the Brontë family in and around Haworth and long-running light comedy-drama Last of the Summer Wine in the 20th century.
The carboniferous rocks of the Yorkshire coalfield further east have produced a rolling landscape with hills and broad valleys. In this landscape there is widespread evidence of former industrial activity. There are numerous derelict or converted mine buildings and landscaped former spoil heaps; the scenery is a mixture of built up areas, industrial land with some dereliction, farmed open country. Ribbon developments along transport routes including canal and rail are prominent features of the area although some remnants of the pre industrial landscape and semi-natural vegetation still survive. However, many areas are affected by urban fringe pressures creating fragmented and downgraded landscapes and present are urban influences from major cities, smaller industrial towns and former mining villages. In the magnesian limestone belt to the east of the Leeds and Wakefield areas is an elevated ridge with smoothly rolling scenery, dissected by dry valleys. Here, there is a large number of country houses and estates with parkland, estate woodlands and game coverts.
The rivers Aire and Calder drain the area, flowing from west to east. The table below outlines many of the co
Linguistics in the United States
For the study of American languages, see Indigenous languages of the Americas. The history of linguistics in the United States begins with William Dwight Whitney, the first U. S.-taught academic linguist, who founded the American Philological Association in 1869. Leonard Bloomfield, professor at the University of Chicago from 1921, founded the Linguistic Society of America in 1924. Other linguists active in the first half of the 20th century include Edward Sapir and Benjamin Whorf. From the 1950s, American linguistic tradition began to diverge from the de Saussurian structuralism taught in European academia, notably with Noam Chomsky's "nativist" transformational grammar and successor theories, which during the 1970s "linguistics wars" gave rise to a wide variety of competing grammar frameworks. Noam Chomsky is an American linguist, described as the "father of modern linguistics", he theorized on language from a biological standpoint, referred to it as a cognitive ""module"" in the human brain.
Chomsky outlined key differences between language cognition in humans and in other animals as head author of "The Language Faculty", published in 2002. He contributed the theory of Universal Grammar. American linguistics outside the Chomskyan tradition includes functional grammar with proponents including Talmy Givón, cognitive grammar advocated by Ronald Langacker and others. John McWhorter, who has a background in teaching African-American studies, is another American linguist. Linguistic typology, controversially mass lexical comparison, was considered by Joseph Greenberg. Historical linguistics Indo-European studies, is taught in the United States. North American Association for Computational Linguistics American Association for Applied Linguistics SIL International
The term cockney has had several distinct geographical and linguistic associations. A pejorative term applied to all city-dwellers, it was restricted to Londoners, to "Bow-bell Cockneys": those born within earshot of Bow Bells, the bells of St Mary-le-Bow in the Cheapside district of the City of London, it came to be used to refer to those in London's East End, or to all working-class Londoners generally. Cockney English is the dialect of English traditionally spoken by working-class Londoners. In the 1980s, some features of cockney became more frequent in broadcasting, the media began to speak of a new standard called Estuary English, but most linguists rejected this analysis and the term is less used now; the earliest recorded use of the term is 1362 in passus VI of William Langland's Piers Plowman, where it is used to mean "a small, misshapen egg", from Middle English coken + ey. Concurrently, the mythical land of luxury Cockaigne appeared under a variety of spellings—including Cockayne and Cockney—and became humorously associated with the English capital London.
The present meaning of cockney comes from its use among rural Englishmen as a pejorative term for effeminate town-dwellers, from an earlier general sense of a "cokenay" as "a child tenderly brought up" and, by extension, "an effeminate fellow" or "a milksop". This may have developed from the sources above or separately, alongside such terms as "cock" and "cocker" which both have the sense of "to make a nestle-cock... or darling of", "to indulge or pamper". By 1600, this meaning of cockney was being associated with the Bow Bells area. In 1617, the travel writer Fynes Moryson stated in his Itinerary that "Londoners, all within the sound of Bow Bells, are in reproach called Cockneys." The same year, John Minsheu included the term in this newly restricted sense in his dictionary Ductor in Linguas. The use of the term to describe all Londoners however, survived into the 19th century before becoming restricted to the working class and their particular accent; the term is now used loosely to describe all East Londoners, although some distinguish the areas that were added to London in 1964.
The region in which cockneys are thought to reside is not defined. A common view is that in order to be a cockney, one must have been born within earshot of Bow Bells, the bells of St Mary-le-Bow. However, the church of St Mary-le-Bow was destroyed in 1666 by the Great Fire of London and rebuilt by Sir Christopher Wren. Although the bells were destroyed again in 1941 in the Blitz, they had fallen silent on 13 June 1940 as part of the British anti-invasion preparations of World War II. Before they were replaced in 1961, there was a period when, by the "within earshot" definition, no "Bow Bell" cockneys could be born; the use of such a literal definition produces other problems, since the area around the church is no longer residential and the noise of the area makes it unlikely that many people would now be born within earshot of the bells, although the Royal London Hospital, Guy's Hospital, Lying-In Hospital and St Thomas' Hospital are within the defined area covered by the sound of the Bow Bells.
The closest maternity units would be the City of London Maternity Hospital, Finsbury Square, but this hospital was bombed out during the World War II Blitz, St Bartholomew's Hospital, whose maternity department closed in the late 1980s. The East London Maternity Hospital in Stepney, 2.5 miles from St Mary-le-Bow, was in use from 1884 to 1968. There is a maternity unit still in use at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel. Home births were common until the late 1960s. A study was carried out by the City in 2000 to see how far away Bow Bells could be heard, it was estimated that the bells would have been heard up to six miles to the east, five miles to the north, three miles to the south, four miles to the west. According to the legend of Dick Whittington the bells could once be heard from as far away as the Highgate Archway; the association of cockneys with the East End in the public imagination may be due to many people assuming that Bow Bells are to be found in the district of Bow, rather than the lesser known St Mary-le-Bow church in Cheapside in the City of London.
Thus while all East Enders are cockneys, not all cockneys are East Enders. The traditional core districts of the East End are Bethnal Green, Spitalfields, Wapping, Poplar, Aldgate, Millwall, Cubitt Town, Hoxton and Mile End. "The Borough" to the south of Waterloo and Tower Bridge were considered cockney before redevelopment all but extinguished the local working-class areas, now Bermondsey is the only cockney area south of the River Thames, although Pearly Kings and Queens can be found as far out as Peckham and Penge. The area north of the Thames expanded to include East Ham, West Ham and Plaistow as more land was built upon; the Becontree estate near Dagenham in Essex was built by the Corporation of London to house poor residents of London's East End on what was a rural area of Essex, Peter Wright wrote that most of the residents identified as cockneys rather than as Essex folk. Jonny Lee Miller James G. Baily Danny Baker Michael Caine Charlie Chaplin Cha
Scottish English includes the varieties of English spoken in Scotland. The main, formal variety is called Standard Scottish English. Scottish Standard English may be defined as "the characteristic speech of the professional class and the accepted norm in schools". IETF language tag for "Scottish Standard English" is en-Scotland. In addition to distinct pronunciation and expressions, Scottish English has distinctive vocabulary pertaining to Scottish institutions such as the Church of Scotland, local government and the education and legal systems. Scottish Standard English is at one end of a bipolar linguistic continuum, with focused broad Scots at the other. Scottish English may be influenced to varying degrees by Scots. Many Scots speakers separate Scots and Scottish English as different registers depending on social circumstances; some speakers code switch from one to the other while others style shift in a less predictable and more fluctuating manner. There is a shift to Scottish English in formal situations or with individuals of a higher social status.
Scottish English resulted from language contact between Scots and the Standard English of England after the 17th century. The resulting shifts to English usage by Scots-speakers resulted in many phonological compromises and lexical transfers mistaken for mergers by linguists unfamiliar with the history of Scottish English. Furthermore, the process was influenced by interdialectal forms and spelling pronunciations. Convention traces the influence of the English of England upon Scots to the 16th-century Reformation and to the introduction of printing. Printing arrived in London in 1476, but the first printing press was not introduced to Scotland for another 30 years. Texts such as the Geneva Bible, printed in English, were distributed in Scotland in order to spread Protestant doctrine. King James VI of Scotland became King James I of England in 1603. Since England was the larger and richer of the two Kingdoms, James moved his court to London in England; the poets of the court therefore moved south and "began adapting the language and style of their verse to the tastes of the English market".
To this event McClure attributes "the sudden and total eclipse of Scots as a literary language". The continuing absence of a Scots translation of the Bible meant that the translation of King James into English was used in worship in both countries; the Acts of Union 1707 amalgamated the English Parliaments. However the church and legal structures remained separate; this leads to important professional distinctions in the definitions of some terms. There are therefore words with precise definitions in Scottish English which have either no place in English English or have a different definition; the speech of the middle classes in Scotland tends to conform to the grammatical norms of the written standard in situations that are regarded as formal. Highland English is different from the variety spoken in the Lowlands in that it is more phonologically and lexically influenced by a Gaelic substratum; the English spoken in the North-East of Scotland tends to follow the phonology and grammar of Doric.
Although pronunciation features vary among speakers, there are a number of phonological aspects characteristic of Scottish English: Scottish English is a rhotic accent, meaning /r/ is pronounced in the syllable coda. The phoneme /r/ may be a postalveolar approximant, as in Received Pronunciation or General American, but speakers have traditionally used for the same phoneme a somewhat more common alveolar tap or, now rare, the alveolar trill. Although other dialects have merged non-intervocalic /ɛ/, /ɪ/, /ʌ/ before /r/, Scottish English makes a distinction between the vowels in fern and fur. Many varieties contrast / o / and / ɔ / before / r / so that horse are pronounced differently. /or/ and /ur/ are contrasted so that shore and sure are pronounced differently, as are pour and poor. /r/ before /l/ is strong. An epenthetic vowel may occur between /r/ and /l/ so that girl and world are two-syllable words for some speakers; the same may occur between /r/ and /m/, between /r/ and /n/, between /l/ and /m/.
There is a distinction between / w / and / hw / in word pairs such as witch. The phoneme /x/ is common in names and in SSE's many Gaelic and Scots borrowings, so much so that it is taught to incomers for "ch" in loch; some Scottish speakers use it in words of Greek origin as well, such as technical, etc.. /l/ is velarised except in borrowings like "glen", which had an unvelarised l in their original form. In areas where Scottish Gaelic was spoken until recently and in areas where it is still spoken, velarisation of /l/ may be absent in many words in which it is present in other areas, but remains in borrowings that had velarised /l/ in Gaelic, such as "loch" and "clan". /p/, /t/ and /k/ are not aspirated in more traditional varieties, but are weakly aspirated currently. The past ending -ed may be realised with /t/ where other accents use /d/, chiefly after unstressed vowels: ended, carried Vowel length is regarded as non-phonemic, although a distinctive part of Scottish English is the Scots vowel length rule.
Certain vowels are long but are shortened before
John C. Wells
John Christopher Wells is a British phonetician and Esperantist. Wells is a professor emeritus at University College London, where until his retirement in 2006 he held the departmental chair in phonetics. Wells earned his bachelor's degree at Trinity College and his master's degree and his PhD at the University of London. Wells is known for his book and cassette Accents of English, the book and CD The Sounds of the IPA, Lingvistikaj Aspektoj de Esperanto, the Longman Pronunciation Dictionary, he is the author of the most used English-Esperanto dictionary. Before writing Accents of English, Wells had written a critical review of the Linguistic Atlas of England, the principal output of the Survey of English Dialects, he argued that the methodology was outdated, that the sample was not representative of the population and that it was not possible to "discover with any certainty the synchronic vowel-system in each of the localities investigated". Until his retirement, Wells directed a two-week summer course in phonetics for University College London, focusing on practical and theoretical phonetics, as well as aspects of teaching phonetics.
The course ends with written and oral examinations, for which the IPA Certificate of Proficiency in the Phonetics of English is awarded. A considerable part of Wells's research focuses on the phonetic description of varieties of English. From 2003 to 2007 he was president of the International Phonetic Association, he is a member of the six-man Academic Advisory Committee at Linguaphone. Wells has long been a pioneer of new technology, he is the inventor of the X-SAMPA ASCII phonetic alphabet for use in digital computers that could not handle IPA symbols. He learned HTML during the mid-1990s, he created a Web page that compiled media references to Estuary English, although he was sceptical of the concept. After retirement, Wells ran a regular blog on phonetic topics from March 2006 to April 2013, he announced the end of his blog on 22 April 2013 saying, "if I have nothing new to say the best plan is to stop talking." Wells was appointed by Longman to write its pronunciation dictionary, the first edition of, published in 1990.
There had not been a pronunciation dictionary published in the United Kingdom since 1977, when Alfred C. Gimson published his last edition of English Pronouncing Dictionary; the book by Wells had a much greater scope, including American pronunciations as well as RP pronunciations and including non-RP pronunciations widespread in Great Britain. His book included transcriptions of foreign words in their native languages and local pronunciations of place names in the English-speaking world. Wells was the president of the World Esperanto Association from 1989 to 1995, he has been the president of the Esperanto Association of Britain and of the Esperanto Academy. Wells was president of the Spelling Society, which advocates spelling reform, from 2003 to 2013, he was criticised in a speech by David Cameron for advocating tolerance of text spelling and omitted apostrophes. In Accents of English he defined the concept of a concept in wide usage. A lexical set is a set of words. For example, words belonging to lexical set BATH have the /æ/ phoneme in the United States and /ɑː/ phoneme in Received Pronunciation.
His father was from South Africa, his mother was English. He attended St John's School, studied languages and taught himself Gregg Shorthand. Having learned Welsh, he was interviewed in Welsh on radio, he was approached by the Home Office to work on speaker identification but turned down the offer as it was still considered unacceptable to be homosexual at the time, he feared that the security check would make his homosexuality public. In September 2006 he signed a civil partnership with Gabriel Parsons, a native of Montserrat and his partner since 1968. Wells was featured in their It Gets Better video, he is a player of the melodeon and has uploaded videos of his playing to YouTube. 1962 – ə spesəmin əv britiʃ iŋgliʃ. In: Maître Phonétique Nr. 117, S. 2–5. 1967 – spesimɛn. *dʒəmeikən ˈkriːoul. In: Maître Phonétique, Nr. 127 S. 5. 1968 – Nonprevocalic intrusive r in urban Hampshire. IN: Progress Report, UCL Phonetics Laboratory, S. 56–57 1970 – Local accents in England and Wales. In: J. Ling. Nr. 6, S. 231–252.
1979 – Final voicing and vowel length in Welsh. In: Phonetica'. 36.4–5, S. 344–360. 1980 – The brogue that isn't. In: JIPA vol. 10, S. 74–79. Can be read on-line. 1985 – English accents in England. In: P. Trudgill: Language in the British Isles. Cambridge University Press. 55–69. 1985 – English pronunciation and its dictionary representation. In: R. Ilson:: Dictionaries and language learning. Oxford: Pergamon. 1994 – The Cockneyfication of RP?. In: G. Melchers u.a.: Nonstandard Varieties of Language. Papers from the Stockholm Symposium 11–13 April 1991. 198–205. Stockholm Studies in English LXXXIV. Stockholm: Almqvist & Wiksell International. 1995 – New syllabic consonants in English. In: J. Windsor Lewis: Studies in General and English Phonetics. Essays in honour of Prof. J. D. O'Connor. London: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-08068-1. 1995 – Age grading in English pronunciation preferences. In: Proceedings of ICPhS 95, vol. 3:696–699. 1996 – Why phonetic transcription is important. In: Malsori (Jour
Birmingham is the second-most populous city in the United Kingdom, after London, the most populous city in the English Midlands. It is the most populous metropolitan district in the United Kingdom, with an estimated 1,137,123 inhabitants, is considered the social, cultural and commercial centre of the Midlands, it is the main local government of the West Midlands conurbation, the third most populated urban area in the United Kingdom, with a population of 2,897,303 in 2017. The wider Birmingham metropolitan area is the second largest in the United Kingdom with a population of over 4.3 million. It is referred to as the United Kingdom's "second city". A market town in the medieval period, Birmingham grew in the 18th-century Midlands Enlightenment and subsequent Industrial Revolution, which saw advances in science and economic development, producing a series of innovations that laid many of the foundations of modern industrial society. By 1791 it was being hailed as "the first manufacturing town in the world".
Birmingham's distinctive economic profile, with thousands of small workshops practising a wide variety of specialised and skilled trades, encouraged exceptional levels of creativity and innovation and provided an economic base for prosperity, to last into the final quarter of the 20th century. The Watt steam engine was invented in Birmingham; the resulting high level of social mobility fostered a culture of political radicalism which, under leaders from Thomas Attwood to Joseph Chamberlain, was to give it a political influence unparalleled in Britain outside London, a pivotal role in the development of British democracy. From the summer of 1940 to the spring of 1943, Birmingham was bombed by the German Luftwaffe in what is known as the Birmingham Blitz; the damage done to the city's infrastructure, in addition to a deliberate policy of demolition and new building by planners, led to extensive urban regeneration in subsequent decades. Birmingham's economy is now dominated by the service sector.
The city is a major international commercial centre, ranked as a beta- world city by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network. Its metropolitan economy is the second largest in the United Kingdom with a GDP of $121.1bn, its six universities make it the largest centre of higher education in the country outside London. Birmingham's major cultural institutions – the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, the Birmingham Royal Ballet, the Birmingham Repertory Theatre, the Library of Birmingham and the Barber Institute of Fine Arts – enjoy international reputations, the city has vibrant and influential grassroots art, music and culinary scenes. Birmingham is the fourth-most. People from Birmingham are called Brummies, a term derived from the city's nickname of "Brum", which originates from the city's old name, which in turn is thought to have derived from "Bromwich-ham"; the Brummie accent and dialect are distinctive. Birmingham's early history is that of a marginal area; the main centres of population and wealth in the pre-industrial English Midlands lay in the fertile and accessible river valleys of the Trent, the Severn and the Avon.
The area of modern Birmingham lay in between, on the upland Birmingham Plateau and within the densely wooded and sparsely populated Forest of Arden. There is evidence of early human activity in the Birmingham area dating back to around 8000 BC, with stone age artefacts suggesting seasonal settlements, overnight hunting parties and woodland activities such as tree felling; the many burnt mounds that can still be seen around the city indicate that modern humans first intensively settled and cultivated the area during the bronze age, when a substantial but short-lived influx of population occurred between 1700 BC and 1000 BC caused by conflict or immigration in the surrounding area. During the 1st-century Roman conquest of Britain, the forested country of the Birmingham Plateau formed a barrier to the advancing Roman legions, who built the large Metchley Fort in the area of modern-day Edgbaston in AD 48, made it the focus of a network of Roman roads. Birmingham as a settlement dates from the Anglo-Saxon era.
The city's name comes from the Old English Beormingahām, meaning the home or settlement of the Beormingas – indicating that Birmingham was established in the 6th or early 7th century as the primary settlement of an Anglian tribal grouping and regio of that name. Despite this early importance, by the time of the Domesday Book of 1086 the manor of Birmingham was one of the poorest and least populated in Warwickshire, valued at only 20 shillings, with the area of the modern city divided between the counties of Warwickshire and Worcestershire; the development of Birmingham into a significant urban and commercial centre began in 1166, when the Lord of the Manor Peter de Bermingham obtained a charter to hold a market at his castle, followed this with the creation of a planned market town and seigneurial borough within his demesne or manorial estate, around the site that became the Bull Ring. This established Birmingham as the primary commercial centre for the Birmingham Plateau at a time when the area's economy was expanding with population growth nationally leading to the clearance and settlement of marginal land.
Within a century of the charter Birmingham had grown into a prosperous urban centre of merchants and craftsmen. By 1327 it was the third-largest town in Warwickshire, a position it would retain for the next 200 years; the principal governing institutions of medieval Birmingham – including the Guild of the Ho