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English Language & Linguistics

English Language



Chaucer and his time

Some comments on The General Prologue:

Word order: "shoures soote" , "longen folke" but also "hooly blisful martir". It seems that word order is important and close to modern day, but not entirely fixed.

Classical references: Ram, Zephirus. Education continued in Latin long after English was the accepted language of the country. Study of classical civilisations was the mark of a civilised man.

Inflections and archaic verb forms: "slepen", "longen", "priketh", "goon", "hath", "for to" used for the infinitive, "yronne". There are no significant inflections for nouns here. However note the modern English forms "beaten", "eaten", "stolen", "drunken".

Archaic vocabulary: "strondes", "folk", "kowthe", "holt", "halwes", "eek"

Silent letters pronounced: "roote", "shoures", "croppes", "palmeres", "folk", droghte".