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English in the Middle Ages$
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Tim William Machan

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780199282128

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199282128.001.0001

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What’s a Dialect Before It’s a Dialect?

What’s a Dialect Before It’s a Dialect?

(p.111) 4 What’s a Dialect Before It’s a Dialect?
English in the Middle Ages

Tim William Machan (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter considers how the status of a language can figure in cultural activity by looking at two late-medieval poems: Chaucer's Reeve's Tale and the anonymous Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Their implications for the significance of social and regional variation in Middle English are considered.

Keywords:   Middle English, linguistic beliefs, linguistic repertoire, Chaucer, Reeve's Tale, social variation, regional variation

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