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.
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.
In this episode, we explore the notes and translations left behind by scribes in the margins of Medieval manuscripts. Those marginal notes reveal numerous insights about the state of English in the early 1200s. Those early glosses and translations also led to bilingual word lists which were the precursor of modern-day dictionaries.
ENSEMBLE SEQUENTIA – SONGS OF GODRIC
MIRIE IT IS WHILE SUMER ILAST
SUMER IS ICUMEN IN
SUMER IS ICUMEN IN – 1972 MUNICH OLYMPICS
Advances in musical notation allowed the first English folk songs to be preserved in writing in the early 1200s. These songs include “Mirie It Is While Sumer Ilast” and “Sumer Is Icumen In.” In this episode, we explore the Greek contribution to music, and trace those developments to Medieval England and the earliest songs composed in the English language.
In this special 100th episode, we review the major consonant sound changes that have impacted English since the Proto-Indo-European language. These sound changes provide us with a set of general rules that we can use to distinguish loanwords from native Old English words.
The early 13th century saw the arrival of a new wave of Frenchmen on the English shores. Some came as conquerors, and some came as nobles and courtiers looking for land and titles. During this period, Norman French started to lose much of its prestige in England, and it was gradually replaced with the French of Paris and central France. In this episode, we look at this second French invasion and the impact it had on the English language.
Magna Carta is often presented as the culmination of a dispute between King John and his barons, but it didn’t settle the debate. In fact, the charter actually sparked a new debate over the power of the king. That debate was one of many being held during the early 1200s when the art of debate permeated education, the legal profession, and even poetry. This period also witnessed the composition of the first major debate poem in Middle English called “The Owl and the Nightingale.”
The early 13th Century saw a massive increase in the production of government documents, including charters and official letters. In this episode, we explore the changing role of the written word in the Middle Ages. We also examine how King John’s financial exploitation of his barons led to revolt and Magna Carta.
During the early Middle English period, the long vowel sound represented by letter A started to shift to a new sound represented by letter O. In this episode, we explore this early vowel shift, and we also explore the dispute between King John and Pope Innocent III over the selection of a new Archbishop of Canterbury.