Chaucer’s Contribution to English Language & Literature
The literary language that Chaucer fashioned become the standard written language of elegant writers and the language of London became the written standard for all formal English. (It is, of course, more complicated than this; for an advanced discussion see: John H. Fisher, "Chancery and the Emergence of Standard Written English in the. Chaucer chose to focus on rhyme, which was unusual for an English language poet of his time, but not completely original. Also, did Chaucer write in Middle English? The best known writer of Middle English, Geoffrey Chaucer, wrote in the second half of the 14th century in the emerging London dialect, although he also portrays some of his.
Fourteenth-century English was spoken and written in a variety of dialects. Middle English speakers recognized three distinct dialects -- Northern, Midlands, and Southern:.
Also, English though they had from the beginning three manner of speech -- Southern, Northern, groffrey Middle speech in the middle of the land, as they come from three manner of people in Germany [i. Modern scholars distinguish five dialects see map.
The clerks in the Reeve's Tale are from Strother, in the Northern dialect area north of the river Humber, which divides the Northern from the East Midland dialect area.
The Reeve himself is from Norfolk, in the northern East Midlands. Chaucer is wha London. The Parson says he is a "Southern man," from the area south of the Thames; but he speaks in the London Dialect. He claims he can not even understand the alliterative poetry common in the North -- he uses nonsense syllables to describe it:. He may have shared John of Trevisa's attitude toward Northern Speech:.
All the language of the Northumbrians, and specially at York, is so sharp, piercing, rasping, and unshapely that we Southern men can hardly understand that language. I suppose this is because they are nigh to foreign men [i. The dialect of London, the commercial, intellectual, and political center of power, was becoming the prestige dialect.
The idea of "the King's English" underlies Trevisa's comment on the Northern dialect, and it appears directly in Chaucer's Treatise on the Astrolabe for the first time:.
God save the king, that is lord of this langage [ Astr Pro. By the fifteenth century, London English was firmly established as the dialect spoken by the denizens of power, laanguage fact used for comic effect in The Second Shepherds' Play. The literary language that Chaucer fashioned become the standard written language of elegant writers and the language of London became the written standard for all formal English.
It is, of course, more complicated than this; for an advanced discussion see: John H. In the late fifteenth century, the printer William Caxton, who greatly influenced what is now Standard Written English complained about the changes in the language since earlier times and its diverse dialects:.
And also my lord Abbot of Westminster had shown to me recently certain evidences written in old English for to translate it into our English now used. And certainly it was written in such a manner that it was more like Dutch than English.
I could not translate it nor bring it to be understood. And certainly our language now used varies far from that which was used and spoken when I was born. For we Englishmen are born under the dominination of the Moon, which is never steadfast but ever wavering, waxing one season, and wanes and decreases another season. And that common English that is spoken in one shire varies from another. Insomuch that in my days happened that certain merchants were inb a ship in the Thames, for to have sailed over the sea into Zeeland, and for lack of wind they tarried at foreland and went to land for to refresh themselves.
And geodfrey of them named Sheffelde, a mercer, came into a house and asked for food; and especially he asked for eggs. And the good wife answered that she could speak no French. And the merchant was vhaucer, for he also could speak no French, but wanted to have had eggs, and she understood him not. And then at last another said that he woulkd have "eyren. Lo, what should a man in these days now write, "eggs" or "eyren"? Englisht geofdrey the French Liure des Eneydes, Caxton solved the problem by using London English and thus set the standard that other printers would follow.
His puzzlement over the changes English had undergone in his lifetime will stir the sympathy of students first encountering Chaucer's language.
But wroet problem is not all that difficult. The fifteenth century was the time of The Great Vowel Shift, which accounts for the greatest difference between Modern English and Chaucer's English, the pronunciation of the "long vowels. Skip to main content. Main Menu Utility Menu Search. Middle English speakers recognized three distinct dialects -- Northern, Midlands, and Southern: Also, English geoffreey they had from the beginning three manner of speech -- Southern, Northern, and Middle speech in the middle of the land, as they come whst three manner of people in Germany [i.
He may have shared John of Trevisa's attitude toward Northern Speech: All the language of the Northumbrians, and specially at York, is so sharp, piercing, rasping, and unshapely that what does ya mean in korean Southern men can hardly understand that language.
The idea of "the King's English" underlies Trevisa's comment on the Northern dialect, and it appears directly in Chaucer's Treatise on the Astrolabe for the first time: God save the king, that is lord of this langage [ Astr Pro. In the late fifteenth century, the printer William Caxton, who greatly influenced what is now Standard Written English complained about the changes in the language since earlier times and its diverse dialects: [I] took an old book and read how to get an attorney with no money, and certainly the English was so rude and broad that I could not well understand it.
For we Englishmen are born under the dominination of the Moon, which is never steadfast but ever wavering, waxing one season, what is the definition of captivating wanes and decreases another season And that common English that is spoken in one shire varies from another.
Geoffrey Chaucer wrote in the form of English that is now called Middle English. This was the language of the common people of the time. What language did Chaucer write his verse in and why is. Oct 18, · The type of Middle English Geoffrey Chaucer used in his work is somewhat closer to Modern English than other Middle English dialects. What Major Works Did Chaucer Write in Middle English. Chaucer was one of the most prominent figures in the literature of Middle English. Jun 12, · English poet Geoffrey Chaucer wrote the unfinished work, 'The Canterbury Tales.' It is considered one of the greatest poetic works in English.
It was Rev. John Dart, who called Chaucer as the father of poetry in the history of English literature due to his unforgettable contributions to the English language and literature.
There is something in the literary works of Chaucer that John Dart was compelled to compose a very lengthy poem in his praise. He praises Chaucer in the following lines:. To Chaucer's Name eternal Trophies raise. And load the antique Stone with wreaths of Bays. Father of Verse! One of the most important contributions that Chaucer made is his contribution to the English language. It was all due to his treatment of English language in his poetry that English secured a prominent position amongst the languages of the world not only today but in that time as well.
It was Chaucer, who preferred English language over Latin and French. It was a fashion and vogue of the time to use Latin and French languages in church, courts and in any literary work, but Chaucer refused to adopt these languages for his poetry. Though, the English language was in raw form, yet he ventured upon using the English Language for his poetry. It was not as polished and full of vocabulary as Latin and French. Lowell says in this regard:. He transformed the East Midland dialect into a full-fledged language of England.
Chaucer knew that Latin and French, due to its complex grammar, would lag behind English language. He was pretty sure about the bright future of English language.
That is why; he adopted English language in his poetry. He shaped it into a fit instrument for his use. In the age of Chaucer, most of the poets used to compose allegorical poetry.
It was a poetry, which had no relationship with the reality of the time. In the beginning, Chaucer also followed his predecessor and wrote poetry in their manner. But later on, he came to know that any piece of literature must deal with real life. That is why; The Canterbury Tales is the product of this change. It deals directly with life as it was in his age. He describes every character in its true colours. He does not exaggerate or underrate any character.
Rather, he paints every character in words as it was before him. In the field of versification, the English poets owe much to Chaucer. He was the first poet, who tried his hands on English poetry. During his time, poetry was in its raw shape. He made several experiments in versification and gave it a new shape. His contemporaries were sued to too much alliteration in their poetry. Chaucer could not withstand with it and brought about drastic changes in alliteration.
In the old fashioned alliteration, the number of syllables was irregular. Chaucer discarded this method of alliteration and introduced a new one, which had regular number of syllables, end rhyme and absence of frequent repetition. Every line in a couplet rhyme with each other.
Chaucer is also famous for his new form of stanza, which is called Chaucerian stanza. He was the first poet, who introduced it into the English literature.
It is a stanza of seven lines having octosyllabic meter. Its rhyme scheme is aba bb cc. Chaucer used this type of stanza in The Books of the Duchesse. Chaucer is also regarded as the originator of heroic couplet. Pope and Dryden perfected the Heroic Couplet to a great extent.
His poetry had something that contributed to the development of drama. Characterization in The Canterbury Tales is said to be the first element of drama that gave rise to drama.
Drama is a collection of dialogues through the mouths of living characters. Characters in The Canterbury Tales are free to talk about everything and the author has very little intervention in their dialogues. This sort of feature is certainly an important element of drama. In drama, the author does not intervene in the dialogues of characters.
A critic asserts in this regard:. Though, there were no signs of novel in the age of Chaucer, yet he was the first poet who augured the era of novel. His poetry is replete with such elements as characterization, plot construction, narration, realism, humour and pictorial qualities that fit into the genera of modern novel.
K Chesterton asserts in this regard:. Like a modern novelist, his description, narration and ways of storytelling are aligned with any novelist. He does not lag behind them at any stage.
That is why; The Canterbury Tales is regarded as the prologue to modern fiction. It has almost all the characteristics that we find in any novel. It has vivid characterization, point of view, humour, realism, pictorial quality and much more that may fit into the genera of novel. It has everything that we associate with novel.
It has characterization, plot construction, action, conflict, physiological analysis and setting, which we normally find in any novel. D Neill has the opinion that:. He may be regarded as the best and first humourist in the history of English literature. His Canterbury Tales reflect his tendency for humour to a great extent. In every characterization, he finds something humourous, which compels him to make fun of him. He makes fun of Fiar, Prioress and other characters in such a manner that the reader cannot help laughing.
Aldous Huxley says in this regard:. Unlike his contemporary poets, Chaucer does not follow the way of didacticism.
He wants to bring about smiles on the faces of his readers. That is why; he endeavours to refrain from didacticism in his poetry. Please don't forget to leave your feedback about this hub. Your opinion, suggestions and comments will certainly help me improving this hub.
If i meet up with mr rafiq ahmad so i ll salute to him as he clear me about chaucer contributions for english literature This is very helpful,I was badly in need of chaucer's contribution on poetry. Your information is so good and easy to get along with. Thank you! Thanx a lot i think it will helpful for my studies but i need more knowledge about chaucer's contribution in english lit Good one buddy. Just a tinge of reference to his Canterbury Tales would have proliferated the ingenuity of your research.
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