Then and today. The Language of Chaucer's Standard Prologue

Then simply and Now:

Chaucer's English inside the Canterbury Tales:, General Debut

Veronica Perry


Professor: David Makhanlall

March 6, 2013

The Canterbury Tales simply by Chaucer is over 600 years of age, yet it really is still being read and discussed today. What makes this still relevant? History, it gives us track of Middle The english language and how it absolutely was used during the time. The primary concern that most reader's of Chaucer's General Debut experience is definitely understanding the terminology. Although, Chaucer's English is usually centuries old it really is still recognizable. After learning the language, I discovered the main big difference between Central and Contemporary English is the pronunciation of long vowels that is mirrored by the Superb Vowel Shift. The Great Vowel Shift caused the difference in vowel pronunciation. English continues to be spoken in britain since around 450. To be more correct, a set of types of West Germanic has been spoken. The three primary groups were Angles, Saxons and Jutes (Benson). From the twelfth and carrying on until the eighteenth century (main effects in the fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries) the sounds in the long stressed vowels in English changed their places of articulation. (Benson) The pronunciations of short vowels are very comparable in Midsection and Contemporary English. The consonants remain generally the same, though Chaucer rolled his r's, at times dropped his aitches and pronounced equally elements of consonant combinations, including " kn, ” which were later made easier. (Benson). Understanding these differences is the key to understanding the beat and audio of Chaucer's Prologue. As an example, the Debut begins:

Whan that Aprill, with his shoures soote

The droghte of March hath perced to the roote (Chaucer 1)

Modern day English translation:

When in April the sweet showers fall

And pierce the drought of March for the root, and everything (Coghill)

You can see the...

Cited: Benson, L. Deb. " Chaucer Page. ” Harvard University, 27 July 2150. Web 4 Oct. 2013

Chaucer, Geoffrey. The Canterbury Tales: General Prologue. New york city: Simon and Schuster 1954. Print.

Harper, Douglas. Etymology Online Book. 2013. Web 2 March. 2013.

" A brief history of the English Language”. Univ. of Duisburg Stadt an der ruhr (umgangssprachlich). April 2013. Web 4 Oct. 2013.