English in the Middle Ages

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9780199282128: English in the Middle Ages

What did people in England in the Middle Ages think about language? What was their view of English, French, and Latin, and how did this influence the way they communicated? This book uses these questions as a basis for a ground-breaking investigation into the use and status of the English language in medieval England.

Professor Machan suggests that many linguistic, literary, and historical considerations of medieval statements on language have significantly failed to take into account the social and linguistic contexts of their production. In this volume he explores not only medieval ideas about language but also the discursive traditions which generated them.

English in the Middle Ages draws upon a wide range of documentary evidence, including most notably the royal letters issued in 1258 prior to the Barons' War. The author also analyzes the language spoken by Chaucer's pilgrims, theconversations in 'Sir Gawain and the Green Knight', and many other chronicles, poems, and commentaries. The book concludes with a consideration of the post-medieval history of the status of English in law, literature, and education.

The book will interest scholars from a range of disciplines - particularly linguistics, literature, and history - and is written in clear, non-technical language.

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About the Author:


T. W. Machan is Professor and Chair of English at Marquette University, where he teaches linguistics and medieval language and literature. He has published extensively on Middle English and Old Norse and edited texts in both languages. His books include Textual Criticism and Middle English Texts (University Press of Virginia, 1994) and English in its Social Contexts (edited with C. T. Scott, OUP, 1992).

Review:


"It's typical of M's scholarship that everyone interested in this area will have to rethink completely after reading English in the Middle Ages."--Language


"Professor Machan explores for the first time fully a new dimension in the understanding of the role of the English language in medieval England. He is rigorous and sceptical in his examination of assumptions that have come to be too easily accepted - about the rise of 'standard' English, about 'linguistic nationalism', about the role of Lollardy in fostering the vernacular, about the intrinsic funniness of regional dialects. He uses literary texts well, and offers, from his particular linguistic vantage-point, new and compelling interpretations of the dialect northernisms in Chaucer's Reeve's Tale and of the subtleties of the 'sociolect' of courtly love-conversation in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight."--Derek Pearsall, Harvard University


"If the idea of integrating the insights of linguistic research into literary criticism is scarcely new, this book is notable in presenting such an approach not as a pious aspiration but as a practical, and probably necessary, programme for researchers in Middle English literature, as well as Historical linguistics. ...Machan's volume offers an invaluable resource, which will surely provide the starting point for many new directions in academic research--and, with luck, become the first volume in a sequence of such studies."--Linguist List 15.2037


"This is a fascinating book, and a brave one, for it is not easy to think meaningfully in several disciplines simultaneously, and Machan here sets himself the daunting task of looking at writing that is, on the whole, historical and literary, while everywhere using the analytic terms and protocols of sociolinguistics.... An eloquent and extended reminder that there are other ways to look at the medieval writing we prize than the ways we have grown accustomed to."--Speculum


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Book Description Oxford University Press, United Kingdom, 2005. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Professor Machan explores for the first time fully a new dimension in the understanding of the role of the English language in medieval England. He is rigorous and sceptical in his examination of assumptions that have come to be too easily accepted - about the rise of standard English, about linguistic nationalism , about the role of Lollardy in fostering the vernacular, about the intrinsic funniness of regional dialects. He uses literary texts well, and offers, from his particular linguistic vantage-point, new and compelling interpretations of the dialect northernisms in Chaucer s Reeve s Tale and of the subtleties of the sociolect of courtly love-conversation in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Derek Pearsall , Harvard University What did people in England in the Middle Ages think about language? What was their view of English, French, and Latin, and how did this influence the way they communicated? This book uses these questions as a basis for a ground-breaking investigation into the use and status of the English language in medieval England. Professor Machan suggests that many linguistic, literary, and historical considerations of medieval statements on language have significantly failed to take into account the social and linguistic contexts of their production. In this volume he explores not only medieval ideas about language but also the discursive traditions which generated them. English in the Middle Ages draws upon a wide range of documentary evidence, including most notably the royal letters issued in 1258 prior to the Barons War. The author also analyses the language spoken by Chaucer s pilgrims, the conversations in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight , and many other chronicles, poems, and commentaries. The book concludes with a consideration of the post-medieval history of the status of English in law, literature, and education. The book will interest scholars from a range of disciplines - particularly linguistics, literature, and history - and is written in clear, non-technical language. Bookseller Inventory # AOP9780199282128

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Book Description Oxford University Press, United Kingdom, 2005. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Professor Machan explores for the first time fully a new dimension in the understanding of the role of the English language in medieval England. He is rigorous and sceptical in his examination of assumptions that have come to be too easily accepted - about the rise of standard English, about linguistic nationalism , about the role of Lollardy in fostering the vernacular, about the intrinsic funniness of regional dialects. He uses literary texts well, and offers, from his particular linguistic vantage-point, new and compelling interpretations of the dialect northernisms in Chaucer s Reeve s Tale and of the subtleties of the sociolect of courtly love-conversation in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Derek Pearsall , Harvard University What did people in England in the Middle Ages think about language? What was their view of English, French, and Latin, and how did this influence the way they communicated? This book uses these questions as a basis for a ground-breaking investigation into the use and status of the English language in medieval England. Professor Machan suggests that many linguistic, literary, and historical considerations of medieval statements on language have significantly failed to take into account the social and linguistic contexts of their production. In this volume he explores not only medieval ideas about language but also the discursive traditions which generated them. English in the Middle Ages draws upon a wide range of documentary evidence, including most notably the royal letters issued in 1258 prior to the Barons War. The author also analyses the language spoken by Chaucer s pilgrims, the conversations in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight , and many other chronicles, poems, and commentaries. The book concludes with a consideration of the post-medieval history of the status of English in law, literature, and education. The book will interest scholars from a range of disciplines - particularly linguistics, literature, and history - and is written in clear, non-technical language. Bookseller Inventory # AOP9780199282128

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