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The History and Development of the English Language - Essay Example

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The History and Development of the English Language

He translated many of the French and Latin works into the Middle English opening the horizons of knowledge even for the ordinary reader who could understand neither French nor Latin. It is generally believed that Chaucer wrote in the London dialect of the ME of his time; his writings, were, therefore meant for the Londoners (Freeborn 1998, p. 231). This paper seeks to analyse the linguistic features in Chaucer’s The Franklin’s Tale with special reference to its rhyme, metric form, use of suffixes, spelling, vocabulary change, foreign influences, morphological differences, syntax and other grammatical features.
Elaborating on the rhyme and metric form employed by Chaucer Schofield states that “The Franklin’s Tale is in couplets, not strophes, and has only such interpolations as are regular in Chaucer’s work” (Schofield 2006, P. 182). Each of the couplets in the tale rhyme each other: words such as ‘kinrede- drede’, ‘distresse- worthinesse’, ‘obeysaunce- penaunce’, ‘accord-lord’ etc very well show that the poem is written in couplets. One also need to understand that in many cases final (-e) suffixes in these words are not pronounced even though in certain cases they formed a separate syllable. As Freeborn observes, it shows that “in Chaucer’s day, some final (-e) suffixes were pronounced, and some were not, varying from one dialect area to another as the last of Old English suffixes finally disappeared in pronunciation, and so changed the grammar of the language. Chaucer had a choice which helped him in making his lines of verse flow easily. However, when reading his verse, remember that a final (-e) before a word beginning with a vowel or is elided, and not pronounced….” (Freeborn 1998, p. 239). However, one should keep in mind that this final (-e) contributed to an additional syllable in his metric formation.
A close reading of the ...Show more

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Chaucer wrote his poetry at a time when the French Anglo-Saxon and Latin languages dominated the court poetry. During Chaucer’s time the Middle English was used by…
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The History and Development of the English Language essay example
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