Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Manieres De Langage (1396, 1399, 1415)

Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Manieres De Langage (1396, 1399, 1415)

Article excerpt

Manires de langage (1399, 1415), ed. Andres M. Kristol, Anglo-Norman Text Society 53 (London: Anglo-Norman Text Society, 1995). i + 118 pp.

ISBN 0-905 47433-3 L15.00.

This publication is to be welcomed as bringing together for the first time three texts which show the efforts made around the close of the fourteenth century in England to promote the oral use of French in a society that was moving increasingly fast towards the linguistic hegemony of English, a process that would be completed in the next few decades. The texts gathered here had all been published before, but Andres M. Kristol has been able to make corrections (especially to the recent, highly unreliable Fukui edition) and also to bring to the fore manuscript versions neglected by earlier editors. In view of the importance of these late survivors of a vanishing culture, it is a matter for regret that the editor does not situate them more fully in the overall picture of the teaching of French in medieval England. For example, the phrase `douce frances, qu'est la plus beale et la plus gracious la#gage et la plus noble parler apres latyn de scole (p. 3, lines 9-11) takes one back immediately to Brunetto Latini in the mid-thirteenth century, whilst much of the vocabulary used in the Manires derives from the numerous manuscript versions of Bibbesworth's Tretiz the earliest dating from around the same time as Latini and later ones running right up to the early fifteenth century. Comparisons with the All Souls version of the Tretit and with Femina in particular, could have been highly rewarding. …

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