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Text 1. From the Prologue to the CANTERBURY TALES by G. Chaucer (Lines 1-14), London, late 14th c. Read the text observing the rules of pronuncia­tion and the stresses (see the transcription and translation in § 36l). Point out ME innovations in spelling. Study the models of analysis and the commentary.

Lines 1-4

Whan that Aprille with his shoures soote The droghte of March hath perced to the roote,

And bathed every veyne in swich licour,

Of which vertu engendred is the flour...

(continued in § 361)

Model of Grammatical and Etymological Analysis

Words as used in the text Analysis, notes OE or foreign prototype Corresponding NE word, translation
whan that conj OE hwænne, pron in­ter., pæt pron, conj WHEN, THAT ‘when’
Aprille n prop. O Fr avrill, L aprilis APRIL
with prep OE wip prep WITH
his pron poss. OE his pron pers., M., Gen. (or Poss.) c. HIS
shoures n, Comm. c. pl OE scūr M.-a, F.-ō SHOWER
soote adj, pl. OE swōte/swēte SWEET
the def. art. OE sē, sēo, pӕt dem. pron THE
droghte n, Comm, c, sg OE drūʒoð DROUGHT
of prep OE of OF
March n prop. O Fr mars, dial. march, L martius MARCH
hath perced Pres. Perf. of percen, 3rd p. sg OE habban O Fr percier PIERCE
roote n, Comm. c. sg O Scand rót ROOT
and conj OE and AND
bathed Pres. Perf. (hath bathed) of bathen v, w. II OE baðian v, w. II BATHE
veyne n, Comm. c. sg O Fr veine VEIN
swich pron indef. OE swilc SUCH
licour n, Comm. c. sg O Fr licur, L liquor LIQUOR ‘moisture’
vertu n, Comm. c. sg O Fr vertu VIRTUE ‘force’
flour n, Comm. c. sg O Fr flour FLOWER ‘blossoming’

Model of Phonetic Analysis

(the words are selected from Lines 1-14)

Words as used in the text Changes of spelling and sounds
OE   ME   NE
that pæt   that   THAT
  [æ] > [a] > [ӕ]
  [θ]   [θ] > [ð]
  æ, p replaced by a, th
shoures (shour) scur   shour/showr   SHOWER
  [sk’] > [ʃ]   [ʃ]
      [u:r] > [au]
  u, sc replaced by ou/ow, sh
bathed (bathen) baðode   bathed   BATHED
[a]   [a:] > [eɪ]
  [ode] > [ede] > [d]
  ð replaced by th
sonne sunne   sunne/sonne   SUN
  [u]   [u] > [ʌ]
  u replaced by o or retained
foweles (fowel) fuʒol   fowl/foul   FOWL
  [uγ]   [u:] > [au]
nyght neaht/niht   nyght/night   NIGHT
      [ix'] > [i:] > [aɪ]
  h replaced by gh, y by i/y
nature   nature   NATURE
      [a:] > [eɪ]
      [tjur] > [tʃə]
seken sēcan   seken/seeken   SEEK
  [e:]   [e:] > [i:]
  c, e replaced by k, ee.

Notes on Syntax

See § 144.

Notes on Lexis

Etymology. In addition to the loan-words shown in the Model of Grammati­cal analysis above, the first 14 lines of the poem contain the following borrow­ings: Zephirus — from Latin; intpiren, tendre, melodye, nature, cours, corage, pil­grimage, palmere, straunge — from Old French.

Word structure. Most words in the extract are simple. Note foreign affixes in derived words: en-ʒendren, cor-aʒe, pilʒrim-aʒe. palm-ere (-er is also a native suf­fix).

Text 2. From the Prologue to the CANTERBURY TALES by G. Chaucer (Lines 285-304, the Clerk). Read the text and translate it into Mod E using the notes and the Glossary. Reconstruct the history of the italicized words from OE to NE (origin, spelling, pronunciation, grammatical forms, structure). Point out the borrowings.

A Clerk ther was of Oxenford also.

That unto logyk hadde longe y-go.

As leene was his hors as is a rake;

And he has nat right fat, I un­dertake,

But looked holwe, and therto sobrely.

Ful thredbare was his overeste courtepy;

For he hadde geten hym yet no benefice,

Ne was so worldly for to have office.

For hym was levere1 have at his beddes heed

Twenty bookes, clad in blak or reed,

Of Aristotle and his philosophie

Than robes riche, or fithele, or gay sautrie.

But al be that2 he was a philosophre,

Yet hadde he but litel gold in cofre;

But al that he myghte of his freendes hente,

On bookes and his lernynge he it spente.

And bisily gan3 for the soules preye

Of hem that yaf hym wherwith to scoleye;

Of studie took he moost cure and moost heede.

Noght o word spak he moore than was neede,

And that was seyd in forme and reverence.

And short, and quyk, and ful of hy sentence;

Sownynge in moral vertu was his speche.

And gladly wolde he lerne and gladly teche.

Notes to Text 2

1 hym was levere ‘it was more pleasing for him’ — impersonal construction with lewer, Comp. degree of ME leef adj., NE lief

2 al be that, usually al be it, a concessive clause which changed into a conjunction, lit ‘all though it be that...’, NE albeit

3 gan, Past of ME ginnen (OE on-ʒinnan, NE begin) was used with Infini­tives of other verbs to emphasise the meaning or to indicate the beginning of an action, here gan ... preye ‘prayed’

Text 3. From the Preface to the ENEYDOS by W. Caxton (late 15th c ). Read the text bearing in mind the state of the sound system in the late 15th c. Render it in Mod E (despite some fluctuations the written forms of the words resemble their modern forms; the words which are difficult to identify are given in the Glossary), Trace the development of the italicized words from OE to NE (spel­ling, pronunciation, grammatical forms, morphological structure). Point out the borrowings.

After dyverse werkes made, translated, and achieved, havyng noo werke in hande, I, sittyng in my studye where as laye many dyverse paumflettis and bookys, happened that to my hande came a lytyl booke in frenshe, whiche late was translated aute of latyn by some noble clerke of fraunce, whiche booke is named Eneydos... And whan I had advysed me in this sayd boke, I delibered and concluded to translate it into englysshe, and forthwyth toke a penne and ynke, and wrote a leef or tweyne, whyche I oversawe agayn to correcte it. And whan I sawe the fayr and straunge termes therin I doubted that it sholde not please some gentylman whyche late blamed me, sayeing that in my translacyons I had over curyous termes which coude not be understande of comyn peple and desired me to use olde and homely termes in my translacyons. And fayn wolde I satisfye every man, and so to doo to­ke an olde booke and redde therin, and certaynly the Englysshe was so rude and brood that I coude not well understande it. And also my lorde abbot of Westmynster ded do shewe to me late certayn evydences wryton in olde Englysshe for to reduce it in to our Englysshe now usid. And certaynly, it was wreton in suche wyse that it was more lyke to Dutche than Englysshe; I coude not reduce ne brynge it to be understonden. And certaynly, our language now used varyeth ferre from that which was used and spoken whan I was borne... Certynly it is harde to playse every man by cause of dyversitie and chaunge of langage. For in these dayes every man that is in ony reputacyon in his countre wyll utter his comyncacyon and maters in such maners and termes that fewe men shall understonde theym. And som honest and grete clerkes have ben wyth me and desired me to wryte the moste curyous termes that I coude fynde. And thus bytwene playn, rude, and curyous, I stande abasshed. But in my judgemente the comyn termes that be dayli used ben lyghter to be understonde than the olde and auncyend Englysshe. And for as moche as this present booke is not for a rude uplondyssh man to laboure therein, ne rede it, but onely for a clerke and a noble gentylman, that feleth and understondeth in faytes of armes, in love, and in noble chyvalrye, therefor in a meane bytwene bothe I have reduced and translat­ed this sayd booke in to our Englysshe, not over rude ne curyous, but in such termes as shall be understanden by Goddys grace accordynge to my copye.

Glossary to Texts 2 and 3

The order of words in the Glossary is alphabetical, except that I and Y are treated as one letter, as they are often interchangeable. The forms of personal pronouns and of the verb to be are not included as they can be found in the tables on p. 103, 258. The words included in the Glossary to OE texts are sup­plied with references to OE prototypes.


armes n pl ARMS ‘weapons’ (from O Fr arme)

auncyend adj ANCIENT (from O Fr ancien)


bisily adv BUSILY (OE bysiʒ adj, -lice adv. suffix)

borne, form of beren v str. 4 (OE beran)


comyn adj COMMON (from O Fr comun, L commūnis)

comyncacyon/comunycacioun COMMUNICATION (from L communicātio)

coude/couthe, forms of can CAN, COULD, see forms of OE cunnan, p. 123)

courtepy n ‘short coat’ (from Dutch korte pie)

cure n CURE (from O Fr cure) ME also ‘care’


ded, do, forms of doon, anom. v DO (OE dōn, dyde, ʒe-dōn)

deliberen v w.II DELIBERATE (from L deliberare)


fayr/fair adj FAIR (OE fӕʒer)

fayt/feet n FEAT (from O Fr fet)

felan v w.I FEEL (OE fēlan w.I)

ferre comp. of fer adv, adj FAR (OE feor)


gentylman n GENTLEMAN (from O Fr gentil, OE mann)

geten v str. 5, GET (from OE ʒytan and O Scand geta)

y-go/goon Part.II of goon v anom. GO (OE ʒān, ēode, ʒe-ʒān)


happenen v w. HAPPEN (from O Scand happ)

haven, havyng, see OE habban

henten v w.I HINT (OE hentan v. w.I.) ‘get’

hy/high/heigh adj HIGH (OE hēah)

I and Y

yaf, form of yeven/given (from OE ʒyfan and O Scand gefa)


laye, form of lyen v str. 5, LIE (OE licʒan v)

leef n LEAF (OE lēaf N. -a)

leene adj LEAN (OE hlǣne)


matere n MATTER (from O Fr matiere)

myght/mighte, see OE maʒan

moore, moost, see OE micel


nas, form of ben, ne + was

nat/not/noght, neg. particle NOT (OE nā-wiht)


overest(e) superl, of over adj, ado OVER (OE ofer)


rake n RAKE (OE raca n, M. -n)

reden v w.I READ (OE rǣdan v, str. 7, w.I)

robe n ROBE (from O Fr robe, from G)


shall, sholde, see OE sculan (p. 123)

short adj SHORT (OE sceort)

some pron indef. SOME (OE sum)

soul(e) n SOUL (OE sāwol n, F. -ō)

sownen/sounden v, w.II, SOUND (from O Fr soner)

spech(e) n SPEECH (OE sprǣc/spǣc n, F. -ō)

speken v, str. 4 SPEAK (OE sprecan v, str. 5)


techen v w.I, TEACH (OE tǣcan)

terme/tearm n TERM (from O Fr terme)

toke/took, Past of taken v, str. 6, TAKE (from 0 Scand taka)

translacyon n TRANSLATION (from O Fr translation, L translātio, Acc. translationem)

translaten v w. TRANSLATE (from O Fr translater, L translatio)

tweyne num TWAIN, TWO (OE twā, tweʒen, F.)


uplondyssh adj (OE up-lend-isc) ‘rural’


wherwith ‘with which’ (OE hwǣr, wið)

wyll, wolde forms of willen, see OE willan

Text 4. W. Shakespeare, Sonnet 2.

Supply a historical explanation for the underlined words: probable origin, spelling, pronunciation, grammatical forms and their meanings. Point out the ditferences from Mod E.

When forty winters shall besiege thy brow,

And dig deep trenches in thy beauty's field,

Thy youth’s proud livery, so gaz’d on now.

Will be a tatter’d weed, of small worth held.

Then being ask’d where all thy beauty lies,

Where all the treasure of thy lusty days

To say, within thine own deep-sunken eyes,

Were an all-eating shame, and thriftless praise

How much more praise deserv’d thy beauty's use,

If thou couldst answer ‘This fair child of mine

Shall sum my count, and make my old excuse,’

Proving his beauty by succession thine!

This were to be new made when thou art old,

And see thy blood warm when thou feel'st it cold.

Text 5. From INCOGNITA: LOVE AND DUTY RECONCIL’D by W. Congreve (late 17th c.). Pick out words and Forms for historical commentary and account for all the features which can be explained by resorting to history. Note the dif­ferences from Mod E.

Being come to the House, they carried him to his Bed, and hav­ing sent for Surgeons Aurelian rewarded and dismissed the Guard. He stay'd the dressing of Claudio's Wounds, which were many, though they hop’d none Mortal: and leaving him to his Rest, went to give Hippolito an Account of what had happened, whom he found with a Table before him, leaning upon both his Elbows, his Face covered with his Hands, and so motionless, that Aurelian concluded he was asleep; seeing several Papers lie before him, half written and blotted out again, he thought to steal softly to the Table, and discover whathe had been employed about. Just as he reach'd forth his Hand to take up one of the Papers, Hippolito started up so on the suddain, as surpriz'd Aurelian and made him leap back; Hippolito, on the oth­er hand, not supposing that any Body had been near him, was so disordered with the Appearance of a Man at his Elbow, (whom his Amaze­ment did not permit him to distinguish) that he leap’d hastily to his Sword, and in turning him about, overthrew the Stand and Candies. Here were they both left in the Dark, Hippolito groping about with his Sword and thrusting at every Chair that he felt oppose him. Aurelian was scarce come to himself, when thinking to step back to­ward the Door that he might inform his Friend of his Mistake, with­out exposing himself to his blind Fury; Hippolito heard him stir, and made a full thrust with such Violence, that the Hill of the Sword meeting with Aurelian's Breast beat him down, and Hippolito a top of him, as a Servant alarm’d with the noise, came into the Chamber with a Light. The Fellow trembled, and thought they were both Dead, till Hippolito raising himself, to see whom he had got under him, swoon’d away upon the discovery of his Friend. But such was the extraordinary Care of Providence in directing the Sword, that it only past under his Arm giving no Wound to Aurelian, but a little Bruise between his Shoulder and Breast with the Hilt.

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