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Middle English Language - Book Report/Review Example

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The Auchinleck manuscript is one of the most famous manuscripts surviving from the medieval period. It is an extensive collection of Middle English that contains forty-four texts including seventeen romances. It was compiled around 1330-40 and copied by six scribes in some kind of "bookshop" in London…
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Middle English Language
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"Middle English Language"

Download file to see previous pages It is present in variant versions in two other manuscripts, London British Library, Harley 3810, a manuscript dated to the fifteenth century with an origin in WarWickshire; and Oxfored, Bodleian Library, Ashmole 61, a late fifteenth- and early sixteenth- century volume, possibly of Northeast Midlands origin. The first thirty eight lines of the romance are missing in the Auchinleck manuscript; however, they are repeated later in the manuscript as an introduction to another Romance, The Lay le Freyne. The poem belongs to the Breton Lay sub-genre of Romance. The Breton Lay written Format was first adopted by a twelfth century poet, Marie de France. That genre is usually sang by a minstrel and accompanied by music. Indeed, this is the case in Sir Orfeo. The lyrical nature of the text is proven by its composition as it is arranged in rhyming couplets. The theme of Sir Orfeo revolves around an arthurian knight;"Sir Orfeo is a mediavlized account of the classical legend of Orpheus and Eurydice, told by Virgil and Ovid, and later recontextualized by Boethius in his Consolation of Philosophy". This version of the romance transforms the classical version favouring a happy non allegorical resolution rather than the tragic classical style. There are many proposed sources for parts of Sir Orfeo including a non-extant french lay about the hero. The narrative composition in inspired by Celtic sources particularly in the account of fairies and the otherworld. 1

The language of the Sir Orfeo text has traits of Middle English. The scholarly title "Middle English" represents a transitional level between Old and Modern English. However, Middle English can be considered by itself a new language. It is characterized by its low status as well as by the impact of Danish, French and Latin. Middle English came to end around 1450 with the emergence of standardizing government usage and the publishing of first European press. The preceding factors led to the creation of a more elevated English, early modern English. 2

Middle English, being the element of the tripartite that precedes and introduces modern English, can be approach in two different ways. On one hand, Middle English has inherited many traits of the Old English language. On the other hand, Middle English can be looked at as a link to Modern English. In fact, Middle English conatains a lot of words spelled the same way as they are in present time English although meanings may not be the same. Throughout the Sir Orfeo romance, we can find words that are still used in the everyday English language of the twenty-first- century, of those we can mention: Fairy, Love, Himself, melody, king, precious and a lot of others. All the latter words are used in their modern meaning.
Middle English is characterized by its blending of Germanic and Romance in sound, spelling, and vocabulary. In San Orfeo, "The word fairy here and elsewhere in the poem means "land of the fays" or the "fays" themselves. The word fay comes from Old French fe derived from the Latin fata, "the Fates". Many other words of French origin can be detected, of which we can point some examples: layes, auentours, meruailes and sir. A notable feature of present-day English vocabulary first emerged in Middle English: parallel pairs of Germanic and French-cum Latin words, such as freedom/liberty, hearty/cordial, knight/chevalier, lawful/legal". We notice the usage of the word "Knighte" in Sir Orfeo favouring ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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