English in the Middle Ages
By (author) Tim William Machan
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English in the Middle Ages by Tim William Machan
Book Description"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.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780199282128
(234mm x 156mm x 12mm)
Imprint: Oxford University Press
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publish Date: 5-May-2005
Country of Publication: United Kingdom
Books By Author Tim William Machan
What is English?, Paperback (March 2016)
Tim Machan explores the nature of English present and past, and its role in shaping the identity of those who speak it. He pursues his object through episodes in its history around the globe, from Caxton to Churchill and from rural America to colonial Australia. This is a book for everyone interested in English and the role of language in society.
Imagining Medieval English, Hardback (January 2016)
A wide-ranging study of medieval English from 500 to 1500, exploring forms and ideas about language in a literary and cultural context.
Language Anxiety, Hardback (January 2009)
This engaging and wide-ranging history of language anxiety ranges from the Tower of Babel to the internet. It shows how worry about language results from and causes linguistic change, as well as fuelling perennial concerns about class, culture, identity, and social change.
English in the Middle Ages, Hardback (June 2003)» View all books by Tim William Machan
This is an enquiry into the use and status of English in medieval England. It is concerned with English relative to French and Latin and with its regional and social varieties in relation to each other. It considers how people then viewed language and how their notion of the significance of English influenced the way they used it.
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Author Biography - Tim William Machan
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, Oxford University Press, 1992).
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