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Approaches to Middle English

Variation, Contact and Change


Juan Camilo Conde-Silvestre and Javier Calle-Martín

This volume contains a selection of papers presented at the 8th International Conference of Middle English, held in Spain at the University of Murcia in 2013. The contributions embrace a variety of research topics and approaches, with a particular interest in multilingualism, multidialectalism and language contact in medieval England, together with other more linguistically-oriented approaches on the phonology, syntax, morphology, semantics and pragmatics of Middle English. The volume gives a specialized stance on various aspects of the Middle English language and reveals how the interdisciplinary confluence of different approaches can shed light on manifold evidences of variation, contact and change in the period.
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Que ma langue lor est salvaige. The status of French in medieval England: An attitude study: Melanie Borchers


Melanie BorchersUniversity of Duisburg-Essen

Que ma langue lor est salvaige. The status of French in medieval England: An attitude study


The languages spoken in medieval England have been at issue in Middle English studies for a long time. However, in line with Rothwell (2001: 9), I still consider the picture not ideally framed. To better understand, for instance, the imprint that the French language has left on the English language, this paper will shed some more light on the status of the French language in England through the study of contemporary attitudes towards French. While the assumption that Middle English was a creole (see Bailey and Maroldt 1977; Milroy 1984) has long been discarded, there are two opposing interpretations still. Whereas Rothwell (1991), Dahood (1994), Trotter (2003) or Ingham (2006) consider French in medieval England a properly intact variety of French, there are also some specialists who consider it to be degenerate by the year 1204 (see, for instance, Kibbee 1991, Thomason and Kaufman 1991, Baugh and Cable 2012).

The following interdisciplinary study will focus on eye-witness accounts. Contemporaries’ attitudes towards their language(s) and that / those of others will thus prove invaluable to the (re)interpretation of the French language spoken in medieval England.

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