LANGUAGE--GENERAL                       

[Cross-references included at the bottom of the page]

 

96. BATESON, F.W. "Could Chaucer Spell?" Essays in Criticism 25 (1975):2-24.

Attributes much of Chaucer's metrical richness and his variant spellings to his oral delivery. Spelling and elision indicate the poet's willingness to modify "superficial syllables" with more natural stresses. The G text of Prologue to Legend of Good Women seems to best record Chaucer's mature spelling habits. Compare to Samuels (entry 105).

97. BRADDY, HALDEEN. "Chaucer's Bilingual Idiom." Southern Folklore Quarterly 32 (1968):1-6. Reprinted in Geoffrey Chaucer : Literary and Historical Studies (Port Washington, N.Y.: Kennikat Press, 1971), pp. 140-45.

Surveys Chaucer's idiomatic expressions, ribald language, and oaths to show how his "earthy" tales "reproduce faithfully the speech of fourteenth-century England" which combined English and French elements.

98. BURNLEY, DAVID. A Guide to Chaucer's Language. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press; London: Macmillan Press, 1983, 279 pp.

Introduces the complexity of reading Chaucer by describing contemporary grammar and syntax and exploring his evocative use of vocabulary in various registers and collocational sets. Part One describes the basics of Chaucer's language in some detail, discussing such features as parts of speech and techniques of negation and coherence. Part Two defines the resources available to Chaucer for representing diverse dialects and social registers by explaining the place of his late Middle English in linguistic history. It also demonstrates how Chaucer achieves rich poetic effects by capitalizing upon the fluid state of English in his day and by manipulating the lexical assumptions of his audience, especially those assumptions triggered by specific terms or sets of terms.

99. BURNLEY, DAVID. "Inflexion in Chaucer's Adjectives." Neuphilologische Mitteilungen 83 (1982):169-77.

Demonstrates that the use of inflectional -e of monosyllabic adjectives in the Hengwrt manuscript is very regular, even though extended into "environments where it is not etymologically correct." The Ellesmere is much less regular, evidence that it is later than the Hengwrt although by the same scribe.

100. ELLIOTT, RALPH W.V. Chaucer's English. The Language Library. London: Andre Deutsch, 1974, 447 pp.

Surveys the significant aspects of Chaucer's language by discussing his pronunciation, grammar, syntax, and especially his lexicon, documenting his deviation from contemporary norms. Demonstrates the flexibility of his grammar and syntax in the service of rhyme and meter and identifies his broad range of rhetorical ornaments, including puns, plays on names, classical tropes, alliteration, and use of synonyms. Analyzes how in Chaucer's prose works syntax and vocabulary produce the "pedagogic tone" of Treatise on the Astrolabe and Parson's Tale in contrast to the abstruseness of Boece and the intentional irony of Tale of Melibee. Describes Chaucer's colloquial language, oaths, and technical terminology in individual chapters and closes with a valuable assessment of how he manipulates speech and dialogue to suggest the individuality of characters.

101. KERKHOF, J. Studies in the Language of Geoffrey Chaucer. 2d ed. Leidse Germanistische en Anglistische Reeks van de Rijksuniversiteit te Leiden, no. 1. Leiden: E.J. Brill and Leiden University Press, 1982, 515 pp.

A descriptive analysis of Chaucer's grammar and usage, organized according to the traditional parts of speech and providing examples from Chaucer's works. Describes in intelligible linguistic terminology the nature and functions of Chaucer's usage, noting the influence of prosody and rhetoric upon his language and his place in the development of the history of English. Provides bibliography for each category, including the various tenses, aspects, and moods of verbs, and the functions of nouns, pronouns, articles, adjectives, adverbs, numerals, interjections, and conjunctions, and functional shift from one part of speech to another.

102. KOKERITZ, HELGE. A Guide to Chaucer's Pronunciation. Stockholm: Almqvist & Wiksell; New Haven, Conn.: Whitlock's, 1954. Reprint. Medieval Academy Reprints for Teaching, no. 3. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1978, 32 pp.

A standard, traditional introduction to Chaucer's pronunciation, including commentary on phonology, word contraction, stress, and final -e. Includes selections from Canterbury Tales in simple phonetic transcription.

103. ROSCOW, G.H. Syntax and Style in Chaucer's Poetry. Chaucer Studies, no. 6. Cambridge: D.S. Brewer; Totowa, N.J.: Rowman & Littlefield, 1981, 168 pp.

Compares Chaucer's syntax to that of contemporary romances, observing variations from Old English and Modern English syntactical patterns, and suggesting ways in which his "loose syntax" effects immediacy or colloquial flavor. Considers word-order, idiomatic usage, pleonasm, ellipsis, relative clauses, coordination, and parataxis, drawing examples from a range of Chaucerian works.

104. SALTER, ELIZABETH. "Chaucer and Internationalism." Studies in the Age of Chaucer 2 (1980):71-79.

Views Chaucer use of English, not as a "triumph of English over French," but as a natural development of French models produced in the English court. The milieu of the court, its patronage, and the French models encouraged Chaucer's use of English.

105. SAMUELS, M.L. "Chaucer's Spelling." In Middle English Studies: Presented to Norman Davis in Honour of his Seventieth Birthday. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1983, pp. 17-37.

Through comparison with the Gower manuscripts, demonstrates that the spelling of Chaucerian manuscripts Hengwrt and Ellesmere is scribal rather than authorial, and argues that the manuscript of Equatorie of the Planets reflects Chaucer's own spelling. Uses rhymes and dialectical evidence, corroborating them with parallels from manuscripts of Boece and Treatise on the Astrolabe. Compare to Bateson (entry 96).

106. SPEARING, A.C. "Chaucer's Language." In An Introduction to Chaucer. By Maurice Hussey, A.C. Spearing, and James Winny. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1965, pp. 89-114.

A concise and specific introduction to Chaucer's language and verse which places his dialect historically, clarifies in traditional fashion the details of his grammar, pronunciation, and versification, and summarizes the importance of medieval rhetorical principles in his poetry.

See also entries: 123-24, 130, 181, 259, 692. For colloquial speech: 114, 131, 145-50, 191, 290, 332, 379, 395, 793, 814, 892.

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