Middle English is the name given to the forms of English in use from the 12th to the 15th century. It is the language of Laȝamon, William Langland, John Wycliffe, Geoffrey Chaucer, John Gower and Thomas Malory, and the bridging stage between Old English and Early Modern English (the language of Shakespeare and the King James Bible). It went through many changes in pronunciation, grammar and vocabulary, experienced the introduction of new writing habits and was strongly influenced by French as a consequence of the Norman conquest of England in 1066. It had many dialects customarily sorted into five groups: Southeast, Southwest, West Midlands, East Midlands and North. Tolkien devoted several important philological works to Middle English. He especially enjoyed its poetry: he was inspired by it for his own poems The Fall of Arthur and The Lay of Aotrou and Itroun and translated into modern verse Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Pearl and Sir Orfeo.
– Pater noster
, a version from Wycliffe’s Bible (end of the 14th
– Salutation to the Holy Virgin, a prefiguration of the Ave Maria
The works of John Ronald Reuel and Christopher Tolkien are under the copyright of their authors and/or rights holders, including their publishers and the Tolkien Estate.
Quotations from other authors, editors and translators mentioned in the bibliography are under the copyright of their publishers, except for those whose copyright term has ended.
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