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Word Studies in the Renaissance$
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Gabriele Stein

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198807377

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198807377.001.0001

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John Palsgrave as a sixteenth-century contrastive linguist

John Palsgrave as a sixteenth-century contrastive linguist

(p.160) 6 John Palsgrave as a sixteenth-century contrastive linguist
Word Studies in the Renaissance

Gabriele Stein

Oxford University Press

John Palsgrave is the first English lexicographer known by name. As a teacher of French to Henry VIII’s sister Mary, he set himself the task to ‘reduce the French language to rule’. His Lesclarcissement de la langue francoyse (1530) is an outstanding linguistic achievement which describes French pronunciation, explains the rules of French grammar, and includes an English–French dictionary of some eight hundred pages. Himself a dedicated teacher, Palsgrave helped his English countrymen to understand the foreign language by explicit comparisons between the differences of expression, explaining them and illustrating them with examples. The chapter presents the most striking grammatical comparisons in the use of pronouns, questions, and negation, and then focuses on the lexicon: contrasts in semantic range, idiomatic usage, sense-dependent complementation, and construction patterns.

Keywords:   English–French lexicography, conducive questions, lemma structure, phraseology, verb complementation

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