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Macmillan Higher Education Palgrave Higher Education

Chaucer's Language

Edition 2nd Edition
ISBN 9780230293793
Publication Date November 2012
Formats Paperback Ebook 
Publisher Palgrave

The English language has changed dramatically over the past 500 years, making it increasingly difficult for students to read Chaucer's works. Assuming no previous linguistic knowledge or familiarity with Middle English, Simon Horobin introduces students to Chaucer's language and the importance of reading Chaucer in the original, rather than modern translation.

Chaucer's Language
- leads the reader gently through basic linguistic concepts with appropriate explanation
- highlights how Chaucer's English differs from present-day English, and the significance of this for interpreting and understanding his work
- provides close analysis and comparison with the writings of Chaucer's contemporaries to show how Chaucer drew on the variety of Middle English to achieve particular poetic effects
- includes sample texts, a glossary of linguistic terminology, a bibliography and suggestions for further reading to aid study.

Authoritative and easy-to-follow, this is an indispensable guide to understanding, appreciating and enjoying the language of Chaucer.

SIMON HOROBIN is Professor of English Language and Literature at the University of Oxford, UK, and a Fellow of Magdalen College. He is the author of An Introduction to Middle English and The Language of the Chaucer Tradition, which was awarded the English Association's Beatrice White Prize for outstanding scholarly work in the field of Medieval and Renaissance studies.

Why Study Chaucer's Language?
Writing in English
What was Middle English?
Spelling and Pronunciation
Language and Style
Discourse and Pragmatics
ConclusionAppendix: Sample Texts
Glossary of Linguistic Terms


Horobin's book is the best short, accessible but rigorous introduction to Chaucer's Middle English on the market.' Anne Laskaya, English Department, University of Oregon, USA 'The author turns linguistic facts into consistently deft critical analysis, making the book useful not just as a 'background' study, but as a stimulus to thinking about Chaucer as a literary author.' Marilyn Corrie, University College London, Department of English, University College London, UKPraise for the first edition: 'A well-written and informative book.'– Robert Boenig, Texas A&M University, USA 'The book is accessibly written and presented, but also maintains rigorous standards of scholarship, and is informed by the most recent research...This will be a valuable teaching and reference tool for courses on Chaucer, Middle English language and literature, and history of the English language, but is also of interest to the general reader.'– Medium Ævum 'Highly recommended' – Times Higher Education Supplement'…accessible and informative…' – Year's Work in English Studies'An excellent resource ... indicative of an author impeccably well versed in the Chaucerian corpus' – Studies in the Age of Chaucer
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