By Simon Horobin
This authoritative survey deals a concise description of center English, the language of Chaucer, throughout the interval from 1100 to 1500. center English is mentioned in terms of either prior and later phases within the background of English and in regard to different languages with which it got here into touch. The booklet covers the crucial positive aspects of heart English spelling, pronunciation, grammar, and vocabulary and likewise introduces heart English textual stories.
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Extra info for An Introduction to Middle English
What rekketh me, theigh folk seye vileynye Of shrewed Lameth and his bigamye? ’ Recommendations for reading The best way of learning about ME is to read a lot of ME, and there are numerous readers and editions designed for the beginning student. The following is a selection of such resources. Unfortunately, several collections are out of print, but library copies can be consulted and secondhand copies can still be found. EME is particularly poorly served by major publishers. Beginning students may also ﬁnd it helpful at the outset to read ME texts in translation.
Although they are the most authoritative manuscripts of the Tales – that is they seem to reproduce a text very close, in substantive terms, to what Chaucer actually wrote – neither the Hengwrt nor the Ellesmere manuscript represents Chaucer’s own usage. There is, however, some evidence that the Hengwrt manuscript reproduces Chaucer’s linguistic practice a little more accurately; see further Chapter 7 below. e. what it looked like. However, in order to understand how ME got to appear as it does, some contextualisation is needed.
Chaucerian -th), such as has, boes BEHOVES and werkes are Northern features, as is some of the dialect vocabulary, for example wanges TEETH or (more subtly) the meaning of hope (in Northern ME, THINK rather than HOPE). Swa for Southern ME so is also a marked North/South distinction. However, Chaucer’s humour seems to be based upon the oddness of people from different parts of the country rather than from the sense of a standardised spoken language; indeed, the two Northerners seem to be of higher social class than the Cambridgeshire miller they fool.
An Introduction to Middle English by Simon Horobin