Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales Proves How Historical Changes To The English Langue Can Cause Middle English Works Impossible To Read.

1302 words - 5 pages

Chaucer’s fourteenth century story The Canterbury Tales can be considered almost impossible to read by many modern day readers. They tend to struggle thru understanding many of the words, as well as their meanings within this story. As I read The Canterbury Tales I noticed how the rhythm and rhyme differ from modern day English, the vowel are pronounced differently, and many of the words used within this story are no longer used in modern English. Additionally there are three main changes to that can be seen over time within the English language, vocabulary, pronunciation, and sentence structure. The many historical language changes that have happened since the fourteenth century can be found within The Canterbury Tales, and explain why so many people struggle to fully understand the original version of this story.
It is very clear when you sit down and begin to read Chaucer’s work that he constructed his sentences extremely differently from how we construct our today. For example the first four lines of Canterbury Tales reads.
“When that April with his showers soote its showers sweet
The drought of March hath pierced to the root
And bathed every vein in such liquor rootlet / liquid
Of which virtúe engendered is the flower;
When Zephyrus eke with his sweet. breath West Wind also
Inspired hath in every holt and heath grove & field
The tender croppes, and the young. sun young shoots / Spring sun
Hath in the Ram his half. course y-run,3 in Aries / has run
And small. fowles maken melody little birds
That sleepen all the night with open eye Who sleep
(So pricketh them Natúre in their couráges), spurs / spirits
Then longen folk to go on pilgrimáges, people long
And palmers for to seeken strange Strands” ( Chaucer lines 1-13)
Which in modern day English translates to. When April with its sweet showers has pierced the drought of March to the root and bathed every rootlet in the liquid by which the flower is engendered; when the west wind also, with its sweet breath, has brought forth young shoots in every grove and field; when the early sun of spring has run half his course in the sign of Aries, and when small birds make melody, birds that sleep all night with eyes open, (as Nature inspires them to) –THEN people have a strong desire to go on pilgrimages, and pilgrims long to go to foreign shores to distant shrines known in various countries. This is a perfect example of just how much sentence structure has changed. In modern English this would be considered a very long run on sentence. However as I mentioned above sentence structure is one of the main historical language changes. I have attended a few seminars and week long classes the focus directly on Chaucer, and his sentence structure has always been a main topic in comparing his work to modern day works. It is also something many people struggle to understand. When you rad the above passage, if you read each line as once sentence you find yourself becoming confused quickly. However if you...

Find Another Essay On Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales Proves How Historical Changes To The English Langue Can Cause Middle English Works Impossible To Read.

Changes Due to English Evolution Affect Integrity of the Bible

1707 words - 7 pages in the field, and, lo, my sheaf arose and also stood upright, and, behold, your sheaves stood round about and made obeisance to my sheaf.” While the second example of the verse flows better and may make better sense, that doesn’t mean it must be changed. If small changes such as this one are allowed, how can readers be sure that other changes to word translation are completely accurate? In the English language, one or two words can completely

The Pardoner, a Symbol of Greed in Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales

648 words - 3 pages least. Works Cited Chaucer, Geoffrey. The Canterbury Tales. Trans. Theodore Morrison. The Norton Anthology of World Masterpieces. Expanded Edition. Vol 1. Ed. Maynard Mack. NY: Norton, 1995. 1900-1960. Print. Hallissy, Margaret. A Companion to Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. London: Greenwood Press, 1995. Print.

Middle English Overview

1190 words - 5 pages being transcribed from one Middle English dialect to another. For example, the author of the Cursor Mundi, who was from the North, translated the Assumption of Our Lady from Southern English into his own dialect for the benefit of "northern people who can read no other English" (Baugh and Cable, 1993: 184).The North / South DivideThe features that distinguish northern dialects from those of the south are, to varying degrees, pronunciation, inflection

How can those who teach English to young learners also develop their social skills?

996 words - 4 pages providing them “choice and flexibility” in how they participate or even initiate the social interaction (Plummer, …, 26). Together with that, group working will engage them in problem solving. Stories They are an “invaluable tool for promoting awareness of social competence” (Plummer, 2008, 46), apart from furnishing children with “rich, authentic uses of the foreign language” or reflect society (Cameron, 2001, 159-160). The story can be read by

College English Changes People

1158 words - 5 pages past and report on their significance in my life and how the different events for each student can affect them. With the recalling strategies that I used for my report put in place for this reflection essay, it is relatively easy to think back to everything we have done this entire semester. I can see how I have changed through my writing, not only as a writer but also as a person. As I look back on my first semester of English at Tri-C, I

The Wife Of Bath - Canterbury Tales, how her story is still related to things happening today. Has a few vocab words in it because I had to use them but they can easily be taken out

522 words - 3 pages Wife Of BathThe reason her tale really intrigued me is because even though she was telling a story based on the Mid-evil times, her incongruous story is still relevant today. In her tale a women gets raped and the man gets away with it. That still happens a lot to this day. You always hear on the news about some guy trying to have his way with the women... and he does. But the sad part is you never hear on how the person is caught. That's one

Effect of the Normans on Middle English

2388 words - 10 pages Effect of the Normans on Middle English The year 1066 had a resounding impact on the course of English history. William the First, Duke of Normandy, conquered England and took it as a stronghold in his reign. The French rule over England lasted for several centuries and brought about innumerable changes to the English state, language, culture and lifestyle. William imported French rulers to take over English government and religious posts

The English Language: A Historical Outline

726 words - 3 pages in the south. In brief, the language during five centuries in Britain became more and more "English" and less and less "Saxon".English and Saxon: An Historical ClarificationThe history of the nomenclature of the various stages in English is discussed at this point. In the sixteenth century, attention was paid to the remains of vernacular literature written before the Norman Conquest. The language of such literature was considered a foreign

An analysis of two themes found the film "Becket," and how those themes can be relevant today. Done as a contemporary to Murder in the Cathedrial and Canterbury Tales

852 words - 3 pages Normans. Thomas collaberates with his king, for Nomans live better then the Saxons do. Can honor be found in this betrayal of Thomas' heritage for the sake of comfortable living? Honor is also the cause of the main conflict of the film. Through out it, we see Thomas Becket attempting to honor both his God and his King. It is from honoring a friendship and the wishes of his king that Thomas, whom was not even a priest, agrees to ascend to the

STUDY NOTES: THE ENGLISH TEACHER BY R.K. NARAYAN What themes are central to the novel? How can the complex symbols and motifs used be deciphered?

757 words - 3 pages ' opponents, the Sophists- a group of itinerant teachers- were thought to give their students knowledge.Colonialism•The English Teacher is a social commentary on colonialism in India during the last few years of British rule before the attainment of independence on the 15th August 1947.•The book contains strong anti-colonial sentiments as expressed, for example, by Krishna on page 2 where he confronts Gajapathy on the unrealistic expectations of

The Effect of the Normans on Middle English

2286 words - 9 pages that it spread even to native English words: Old English Middle English hu how hus house hlud loud brun brown While Old English used the diagraph *sc*, French loans used the letter combination *sh*, and this spelling came to entirely replace the earlier spelling. Thus, OE scamu became ME shame. The common French diagraph *ch* replaced the Old English *c* in words such as ceap and cinn. In Middle English, those words came to be spelled cheap and

Similar Essays

How To Read The English Language

546 words - 2 pages War was a correspondent for a London newspaper.Switching from the conservative party to the Liberal party in 1904, he had a small rise through several high government posts in the British government.Although now in a minority party which began in 1935 he warned the House of Commons of "self-preservation but also of the human and the world cause of the preservation of free governments and of Western civilization against the ever advancing sources of

The English Church Exposed In Canterbury Tales

1121 words - 4 pages The 14th Century is a time in which the power of the English Church started to vanish because of multiple reasons. And Geoffrey Chaucer’s greatest work, the Canterbury Tales, can be a good evidence of the profligacy and immorality of the England Church at that time. In this magnificent piece of English literature, Chaucer expresses both his disappointment and admiration for the England Church through many different Church pilgrims form high

Literary Essay: Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales

1681 words - 7 pages One of the most recognized attribute of Chaucer’s narrative was the ability to create characters that embodied features distant from the fiction, making them very real and believable through the writing. To verify this statement it is necessary to examine Chaucer’s work. The most celebrated of them is the collection of stories "The Canterbury Tales" (originally written in Middle English) which were the last work of Geoffrey Chaucer and perhaps

“The Portrait Of Women In Chaucer’s Work, Canterbury Tales”

1611 words - 7 pages Introduction Geoffrey Chaucer’s “The Canterbury Tales” is a collection of stories written between 1387 and 1400. In his literary work, a group of thirty people travel as pilgrims to Canterbury in England and on their way, they tell stories to each other about their lives and experiences. To be more concise, these stories constitute a critique of English society at the time, and particularly of the Church, while women seem to be presented