Variation, Contact and Change
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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