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By Simon Horobin

This authoritative survey bargains a concise description of center English, the language of Chaucer, throughout the interval from 1100 to 1500. center English is mentioned on the subject of either past and later phases within the background of English and in regard to different languages with which it got here into touch. The booklet covers the valuable positive aspects of center English spelling, pronunciation, grammar, and vocabulary and likewise introduces heart English textual stories.

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How can we use this model for a past state of the language where there is no direct access to the spoken mode? Reconstructing the sound-systems of past states of a language is a complex matter, and depends on bringing together a number of different types of evidence. Our discussion of the ME sound-system will be based on the following kinds of evidence: 1. Evidence arrived at through comparative reconstruction, whereby other languages, and later states of the same language, are used to reconstruct the sound-system of ancestral forms of the language.

I trow the schrew can paynt, the dewyll myght hym hang! Ich shall make complaynt, and make you all to thwang At a worde, And tell euyn how ye doth. 1 Pastor. Bot, Mak, is that sothe? Now take outt that Sothren tothe, And sett in a torde! 1 Pastor. 2 Pastor. 3 Pastor. Mak. 201 205 211 tythyng NEWS ylkon EACH ONE thyng THINGS ich I (pronoun) sond MESSENGER qwaynt CUNNING wrang WRONG lyst ye saynt? DO YOU WANT TO PLAY THE SAINT? lang LONG (TO DO SO; verb) I trow the schrew can paynt, the dewyll myght hym hang!

More subtly, the word knight, for instance, used to be pronounced [knxt] during the ME period; however, sound-changes since the end of the fifteenth century mean that the symbols and are now ‘silent’. , in the sequence , has developed a diacritic function in PDE, flagging a diphthongal pronunciation of the preceding . Another example is to do with the letter in cut or put. In present-day Southern English dialects, the vowels in these two words are now distinct: [ ] and [υ].

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