HD: Langland on the Decline of English
Posted: 04 September 2015 06:57 AM   [ Ignore ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  6324
Joined  2007-01-03

Another misconstrued quotation

Profile
 
 
Posted: 04 September 2015 10:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
Moderator
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  515
Joined  2007-02-13

...to what we know dub a schoolboy…

I think you mean “now”, not “know”, correct. :-)

Profile
 
 
Posted: 04 September 2015 10:26 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  6324
Joined  2007-01-03

Thanx

Profile
 
 
Posted: 05 September 2015 05:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
Moderator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4515
Joined  2007-01-29

Wonderful!  I’ve taken the liberty of posting it at LH.  As I said there, I love this stuff.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 05 September 2015 01:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
Moderator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4515
Joined  2007-01-29

In a comment to my post, Piotr Gąsiorowski said: 

Incidentally, by the time Langland wrote Piers Plowman, there were very few if any speakers of Anglo-Norman as a mother tongue, and AN literature was long past its heyday. English was not so much on the rise as already at the top — a fully developed literary language and the primary medium of communication even among the upper class. When linguists use the term “basilect”, they don’t mean things like Chaucerian English.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 06 September 2015 04:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  6324
Joined  2007-01-03

Yeah, I went back and forth whether or not to use the terms basilect and acrolect. They’re not quite right. But AN was a prestige language.

Yes, English was a fully developed literary language by Langland’s time—it had never really ceased being such, especially outside of London. But Langland and Chaucer were riding the first wave of the English’s resurgence as a literary language in the fourteenth century. Data point: the first (surviving) post-Conquest literary collection written entirely in English is the Auchinleck manuscript, copied in the 1330s.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 06 September 2015 05:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
Moderator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3024
Joined  2007-01-30

Interesting and that jibes with what I recall reading, that Henry IV was the first of the post-Conquest kings to use English predominantly. BTW I don’t think I’ve ever actually read any Anglo-Norman lterature. From Wikipedia I see there’s some interesting stuff out there (hopefully in translation). As someone completely at home in Old and Middle English, Dave, how easy is it for you to read an Anglo-Norman text?

Profile
 
 
Posted: 06 September 2015 05:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  6324
Joined  2007-01-03

I don’t know how extensively Henry IV used English. He was the first post-Conquest king to leave a will written in English. The 1362 Statute of Pleadings made it legal to use English in Parliament, but it seems that French remained the primary parliamentary language until the next century and Henry’s reign.

And Anglo-Norman is an entirely different language. Knowledge of modern French or Latin is more useful in reading it than either Old or Middle English. I recognize a word here or there, but that’s about it.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 06 September 2015 05:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
Moderator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4515
Joined  2007-01-29

Wikipedia on Anglo-Norman literature.

Anglo-Norman texts.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 06 September 2015 02:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  6324
Joined  2007-01-03

I’ve rephrased the final paragraph, removing the terms basilect and acrolect. Gąsiorowski is correct; those terms aren’t really applicable to this situation.

Profile