Early 15 th -century English

Early Modern English:
language (I)
Shanghai International Studies University
1 English in the 15th century
• Early 15th-century English (East Midland)
The Boke of Margery Kempe
1 English in the 15th century
• Early 15th-century English (East Midland)
The Boke of Margery Kempe
1 English in the 15th century
• Late 15th-century English (East Midland)
Margery Brews to John Paston (Feb. 1477) from the Paston letters
Vn-to my ryght welbelouyd Voluntyn John Paston, squyer, be þis bill + delyuered, &c.
Ryght reuerent and wurschypfull and my ryght welebeloued Voluntyne, I recommande me vn-to
yowe full hertely, desyring to here of yowr welefare, whech I beseche Almyghty God long for to
preserve vn-to hys plesure and ʒowr hertys desyre. And yf it please ʒowe to here of my welefare,
I am not in good heele of body ner of herte, nor schall be tyll I here from yowe;
For þer wottys no creature what peyn þat I endure,
And for to be deede I dare it not dyscure.
And my lady my moder hath labored þe mater to my fadure full delygently, but sche can no more
gete þen ʒe knowe of, for þe whech God knowyth I am full sory. But yf that ʒe loffe me, as I tryste
verely that ʒe do, ʒe will not leffe me þerfor; for if þat ʒe hade not halfe þe lyvelode þat ʒe hafe,
for to do þe grettyst labure þat any woman on lyve myght, I wold not forsake ʒowe.
And yf ʒe commande me to kepe me true where-euer I go
Iwyse I will do all my myght ʒowe to love and neuer no mo.
And yf my freendys say þat I do amys, þei schal not me let so for to do,
Myn herte me byddys euer more to love ʒowe Truly ouer all erthely thing.
And yf þei be neuer so wroth, I tryst it schall be bettur in tyme commyng.
No more to yowe at this tyme, but the Holy Trinité hafe ʒowe in kepyng. And I besech ʒowe þat
this bill be not seyn of non erthely creature safe only ʒour-selfe, &c. And thys lettur was jndyte at
Topcroft wyth full heuy herte, &c.
Be ʒour own M. B.
Margery Brews to John Paston (Feb. 1477) from the Paston letters
Margery Brews to John Paston (Feb. 1477) from the Paston letters
1 English in the 15th century
• Chancery English
1 English in the 15th century
fifteeners / incunabula / incunables
• The beginning of printing
ca.1440 invention of the printing press by
Johannes Gutenberg
ca.1455 The Gutenberg Bible (in
German) printed
ca.1475 Recuyell of the Historyes of
Troye (in English) printed by
William Caxton in Bruges
1476 Setting-up of William Caxton’s
printing press in London
1476 First edition of The Canterbury
Tales printed
William Caxton
the first book printed in English
the first book printed in England
1 English in the 15th century
• The beginning of printing
And that comyn englysshe that is spoken in one
shyre varyeth from another. In so moche that in
my dayes happened that certayn marchauntes
were in a shippe in Tamyse, for to haue sayled
ouer the see into Selande, and for lacke of
wynde thei taryed atte Forlond, and wente to
lande for to refreshe them; And one of theym
named Sheffelde, a mercer, cam in-to an hows
and axed for mete; and specyally he axyed after
eggys; and the goode wyf answerde, that she
coude speke no frenshe, And the marchaunt
was angry, for he also coude speke no frenshe,
but wolde haue hadde ‘egges’ and she
vunderstode hym not. And theene at laste
another sayd that he wolde haue ‘eyren’ then
the good wyf sayd that she vnderstod hym wel.
Loo, what sholde a man in thyse dayes now
wryte, ‘egges’ or ‘eyren’?
— William Caxton’s prologue to Eneydos
2 Early ModE paleography
• Handwriting
Book hand (楷书)
Text hand
Court hand (行书)
Chancery hand (<Anglicana)
Secretary hand
Italic hand / humanistic hand
Bastard Secretary
Round hand
Sir William Kingston to Lord Lisle,
26 Sept. 1533
Secretary hand
Shakespeare’s signatures
Willm Shakp
William Shakspēr
Wm Shakspē
William Shakspere
Willm Shakspere
William Shakspeare
Secretary hand
2 Early ModE paleography
• Handwriting
Book hand (楷书)
Text hand
• Printing fonts
 Black letter
 17th-century print
• Punctuation
/ virgule
, comma
. prick
: colon
? question
! exclamation
( ) parentheses
John Hart’s An Orthographie (1569)
3 Pronunciation and orthography
• Evidence
Books on pronunciation and orthography
John Hart’s An Orthographie (1569)
William Bullokar’s Boke at Large (1580)
Fox & Hooke’s Instructions for Right Spelling (1673)
Christopher Cooper’s The English Teacher (1687)
Meter and rhyme in poetry
John Dryden’s translation of Aeneis (1697)
John Hart’s An Orthographie (1569)
John Dryden’s translation of Aeneis (1697)
John Dryden’s translation of Aeneis (1697)
John Dryden’s translation of Aeneis (1697)
John Dryden’s translation of Aeneis (1697)
John Dryden’s translation of Aeneis (1697)
Early Modern English vowels
Long vowels: The Great Vowel Shift
Long vowels: The Great Vowel Shift
Short vowels
Early Modern English consonants
gh (silent) / [f]
[θ] / [ð]
Early Modern English consonants
Other changes:
final [mb] > [m]
OE climban > climben [ˈkliːmbən] > climb [klʌɪm]
final [nd] > [n]
OF launde >
laund [laʊnd]
s(o)un [suːn]
> sound [sʌʊnd]
OE talian
talken [ˈtalkən]
talk [tɔːk]
OE healf
half [half]
half [hæːf]
OE folc
folk [fɔlk]
folk [foʊk]
initial [kn] > [n]
OE cnawan > knowen [ˈknɔːwən] >
know [noʊ]
initial [gn] > [n]
OE gnagan > gnawen [ˈɡnaːwən] >
gnaw [nɔː]
[n] > [nd]
L sonus >
[alC] > [aʊC]
[æːC] (C=f/v/m)
[ɔlC] > [oʊC] (C=m/k)
F son
lawn [lɔːn]
suffix [ɪŋɡ] > [ɪn]
t [t] > th [θ]
L thronus > OF trone >
trone [ˈtrɔːnə]
throne [θroːn]
aut > ault
L fallere > OF faute >
faute [ˈfaʊtə]
fault [fɔːt]
4 Reading practice (V)
Clo. Why sir, his hide is so tan’d with his
Trade, that he will keepe out water a great
while. And your water, is a sore Decayer
of your horson dead body. Heres a Scull
now: this Scul has laine in the earth three
& twenty years.
Ham. Whose was it?
小丑甲 因为,先生,他的皮硝得比人
哈姆莱特 它是谁的骷髅?
Clo. A whoreson mad Fellowes it was;
小丑甲 是个婊子养的疯小子;你猜是
Whose doe you thinke it was?
哈姆莱特 不,我猜不出。
Ham. Nay, I know not.
小丑甲 这个遭瘟的疯小子!他有一次
Clo. A pestlence on him for a mad rogue,
a pou’rd a Flaggon of Renish on my head
once. This same Scull Sir, this same Scull
sir, was Yoricks Scull, the King’s jester.
Ham. This?
Clo. E’ene that.
哈姆莱特 这就是他!
小丑甲 正是他。
Ham. Let me see. Alas poor Yorick, I knew
him Horatio, a fellow of infinite Iest; of most
excellent fancy, he hath borne me on his
backe a thousand times: And how abhorred
my Imagination is, my gorge rises at it. Heere
hung those lipps, that I haue kist I know not
how oft, Where be your Iibes now? Your
Gambals? Your Songs? Your flashes of
Merriment that were wont to set the Table on
a Rore? No one now to mock your own
Ieering? Quite chopfalne? Now get you to my
Ladies Chamber, and tell her, let her paint an
inch thicke, to this fauour she must come.
Make her laugh at that: prythee Horatio tell
me one thing.
Hor. What’s that my Lord?
Ham. Dost thou thinke Alexander lookt o’this
fashion i’th’ earth?
Hor. E’ene so.
哈姆莱特 让我看。(取骷髅)唉,可怜的
霍拉旭 什么事情,殿下?
哈姆莱特 你想亚历山大在地下也是这副形
霍拉旭 也是这样。
Ham. And smelt so? Puh.
哈姆莱特 也有同样的臭味吗?呸!(掷下
Hor. E’ene so, my Lord.
霍拉旭 也有同样的臭味,殿下。
Ham. To what base vses we may returne
Horatio. Why may not Imagination trace the
Noble dust of Alexander, till he find it stopping a
哈姆莱特 谁知道我们将来会变成一些什么
Hor. ’Twere to consider: to curiously consider
霍拉旭 那未免太想入非非了。
Ham. No faith, not a iot. But to follow him
thether with modestie enough, & likeliehood to
lead it; as thus. Alexander died: Alexander was
buried: Alexander returneth into dust; the dust is
earth; of earth we make Lome, and why of that
Lome (whereto he was conuerted) might they
not stopp a Beere-barrell?
Imperial Cæsar, dead and turn’d to clay,
Might stop a hole to keepe the winde away.
Oh, that that earth, which kept the world in awe,
Should patch a Wall, t’expell the winters flaw.
But soft, but soft, aside; heere comes the King.
哈姆莱特 不,一点不,我们可以不作怪论、
Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Act V Scene I
Related flashcards
Create Flashcards