English Language and Literature in the Middle ages English Language and Literature in the Middle Ages English Society of the Middle Ages saw many developments and new trends, but none so plainly as the developments witnessed in the Language and Literature of that time. It began with the Norman Conquest: Literature began to reflect thesechanges in the language, and continued to evolve throughout the Renissance.
Languages used in medieval documents Three main languages were in use in England in the later medieval period — Middle English, Anglo-Norman or French and Latin. Authors made choices about which one to use, and often used more than one language in the same document.
Eventually English emerged as the standard literary medium, but it was not until the eighteenth century that Latin disappeared from legal documents.
Hebrew and Aramaic were used by the medieval Jewish community in England. Anglo-Norman Anglo-Norman had emerged as a distinct dialect of French after the Norman Conquest in established a French-speaking aristocracy in English. It was still dominant in the mid-thirteenth century when Robert of Gretham wrote his advice on moral conduct, the Mirur.
For Robert the appropriate language for lay education was French, but by the late fourteenth century his book had been translated into English. He leaves a wide gap between the first capital letter of each line and the rest of the word. For that language is most in evidence Both among the educated and the uneducated.
Some know French and not Latin Who have frequented the court and lived in it. And some know a bit of Latin Who know French very poorly.
Some understand English Who know neither Latin nor French. But educated and uneducated, old and young, All understand the English tongue.
In contrast, Latin was only understood by those who learnt it at school, and French by those who attended court. These languages were used by particular communities and for specific purposes.
French John Gower, a contemporary and friend of Geoffrey Chaucer in the late fourteenth century, wrote in all three languages. This followed a familiar convention of bilingual presentation.
It became fossilized and degraded, because after the fourteenth century, most of those using the language did not fully understand it. With its fixed grammar and spelling, it was easy to abbreviate without misunderstanding.
It remained the medium for international scholarship until the seventeenth century. The Catholic church used Latin in its services, so all liturgical books were written in this language until the Reformation in the sixteenth century. The theologian John Wycliffe began to translate the Bible into English in the late fourteenth century, but the Lollard movement with which he was associated was persecuted by the authorities, so late medieval Bibles in English are rare.
This bill of complaint Pa L 2 dates from the late fifteenth century and is indeed in English. It was not until the mid-sixteenth century that English began to appear in manorial records, and even then it was often only used to record presentments spoken in that language at the meeting of the manor court.
It was a similar situation in the records of the Nottingham Archdeaconry court. In depositions written inthe words spoken by ordinary people are written in English, as they said them, but the rest of the document explaining the case is in Latin.Yet in the Middle Ages the Old English literature of the subjugated Saxons was leavened by the Latin and Anglo-Norman writings, eminently foreign in origin, in which the churchmen and the Norman conquerors expressed themselves.
English language, West Germanic language of the Indo-European language family that is closely related to Frisian, German, and Dutch (in Belgium called Flemish) languages. English originated in England and is the dominant language of the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, and various island nations in the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean.
The later Middle English and early Renaissance periods. One of the most important factors in the nature and development of English literature between about and was the peculiar linguistic situation in England at the beginning of the period.
Among the small minority of the population that could be regarded as literate, bilingualism and even trilingualism were common.
Middle English Literature: Essays and Articles. Extensive resource of textual criticism, scholarly and student essays, and articles on Medieval texts.
The literary culture of the Middle Ages was far more international than national and was divided more by lines of class and audience than by language. Latin was the language of the Church and of learning.
The Middle Ages is a vast literary time period. It stretches from the collapse of the Roman Empire in Britain (ca. ) to the beginning of the Renaissance (ca. ). The period is subdivided into three parts: Anglo-Saxon literature, Anglo-Norman literature, and Middle English literature.