Episode 106: An Illuminating Development

The 12th and 13th centuries saw the saw the transfer of book production from monasteries to professional bookmakers. In this episode, we look at the birth of the Medieval book trade. We also examine how early illuminators worked with color, and how early English dealt with the introduction of new colors terms into the language.

Episode 105: Suffix Summary

In this episode, we explore some of the suffixes that were in common use in the early 1200s at the time the Ancrene Wisse was composed. These include traditional Old English suffixes, as well as several new suffixes that were borrowed from French and Latin. We also examine the longevity of such suffixes in Modern English.

Episode 104: Prefix Preferences

During the early Middle English period, many loanwords from Latin and French were borrowed into English.  Very often, those loanwords came in with prefixes and suffixes that were new to the English language. Many of those new affixes appear for the first time in the Ancrene Wisse.  In this episode, we explore the decline of Old English prefixes and the rise of continental prefixes in the early Middle English period.

Episode 103: Solitary Confinement

The early 13th century saw the rise of a monastic movement in which men and women locked themselves away in secluded cells to practice their religion.  These monks were known as anchorites, and an early Middle English text called the “Ancrene Wisse” was composed as a guide for female anchoresses who adopted this lifestyle.  The text is considered one of the most important works composed in early Middle English period.  It features a large number of common loanwords that were used in English for the first time. In this episode, we examine the historical context of the Ancrene Wisse and some of the common loanwords that were introduced in the manuscript.