Academic journal article Medium Aevum

John Palsgrave as Renaissance Linguist

Academic journal article Medium Aevum

John Palsgrave as Renaissance Linguist

Article excerpt

Gabriele Stein, John Pa/sgrave as Renaissance Linguist, Oxford Studies in Lexicography and Lexicology (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1997). 511 pp. ISBN -x9--823505-4. k.

Although any authoritative assessment of this immensely rich book must come from Renaissance specialists, it cannot be ignored by anyone concerned with the development of French and English in the medieval period. Gabriele Stein not only sets out comprehensively the linguistic context which produced Palsgrave and which he in turn helped to mould, but she realizes that his work can only be properly understood against the background of the development of French and English in earlier centuries. Her lengthy account of this controversial subject is both well researched and perceptive, so that her readers can appreciate fully the remarkable degree of innovation that Palsgrave brought to all aspects of his task. Medievalists will be able to follow in detail the crucial changes that led from their glossaries to this early but remarkably modern dictionary.

However, the debate about standardization, dialect, and scripta in later medieval French and English still goes on, so any future edition of what will surely be an essential work of reference for many years to come might usefully take account of the new ideas of B. Cerquiglini and A. R. Lodge on the standardization of French, as well as the writings of Gossen and Dees on the question of dialect and scripta in medieval France that continue well beyond the dates given in the bibliography. Also, recent work by both Merrilees and Kristol is still advancing our knowledge of the actual manuals for teaching French in later medieval England. …

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