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Imagining Medieval English
Language Structures and Theories, 500–1500

$99.99 (C)

Part of Cambridge Studies in Medieval Literature

Tim William Machan, Seth Lerer, Jeremy Smith, Christopher M. Cain, Merja Stenroos, Ad Putter, Simon Horobin, Cynthia L. Allen, Colette Moore, Andrew Galloway, Helen Cooper, David Matthews
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  • Date Published: January 2016
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107058590

$ 99.99 (C)

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About the Authors
  • Imagining Medieval English is concerned with how we think about language, and simply through the process of thinking about it, give substance to an array of phenomena, including grammar, usage, variation, change, regional dialects, sociolects, registers, periodization, and even language itself. Leading scholars in the field explore conventional conceptualizations of medieval English, and consider possible alternatives and their implications for cultural as well as linguistic history. They explore not only the language's structural traits, but also the sociolinguistic and theoretical expectations that frame them and make them real. Spanning the period from 500 to 1500, and drawing on a wide range of examples, the chapters discuss topics such as medieval multilingualism, colloquial medieval English, standard and regional varieties, and the post-medieval reception of Old and Middle English. Together, they argue that what medieval English is, depends, in part, on who's looking at it, how, when and why.

    • Evaluates theoretical frameworks for understanding medieval English
    • Includes wide-ranging essays from leading scholars in the field
    • Integrates literary and linguistic approaches to both Old and Middle English language and literature
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    Product details

    • Date Published: January 2016
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107058590
    • length: 322 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 158 x 24 mm
    • weight: 0.63kg
    • contains: 8 b/w illus. 1 map 9 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. Introduction:
    1. The metaphysics of medieval English Tim William Machan
    Part II. Organizing Ideas:
    2. What was medieval English? Seth Lerer
    3. The evolution of Old and Middle English texts: linguistic form and practices of literacy Jeremy Smith
    4. Snakes, ladders, and standard language Tim William Machan
    Part III. The Continuities of Language:
    5. 'þæt is on englisc': performing multilingualism in Anglo-Saxon England Christopher M. Cain
    6. Regional language and culture: the geography of Middle English linguistic variation Merja Stenroos
    7. The linguistic repertoire of medieval England, 1100–1500 Ad Putter
    Part IV. The Discontinuities of English:
    8. The nature of material evidence Simon Horobin
    9. Sifting through the evidence: principles and pitfalls Cynthia L. Allen
    10. Everyday English in late medieval England Colette Moore
    11. Imagining the literary in medieval English Andrew Galloway
    Part V. Retrospection:
    12. 'The most excellent creatures are not ever born perfect': early modern attitudes to Middle English Helen Cooper
    13. Ideas of medieval English in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries David Matthews

  • Editor

    Tim William Machan, University of Notre Dame, Indiana
    Tim William Machan is Professor of English at the University of Notre Dame, Indiana. He has published extensively on historical linguistics, medieval English, and Old Norse, with a particular focus on language contact and change. His most recent books include What Is English? And Why Should We Care? (2013) and Language Anxiety: Conflict and Change in the History of English (2009).


    Tim William Machan, Seth Lerer, Jeremy Smith, Christopher M. Cain, Merja Stenroos, Ad Putter, Simon Horobin, Cynthia L. Allen, Colette Moore, Andrew Galloway, Helen Cooper, David Matthews

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