Broken English: Dialects and the Politics of Language in Renaissance Writings

Overview

The English language in the Renaissance was in many ways a collection of competing Englishes. Paula Blank investigates the representation of alternative vernaculars - the dialects of early modern English - in both linguistic and literary works of the period. Blank argues that Renaissance authors such as Spenser, Shakespeare, and Jonson helped to construct the idea of a national language, variously known as "true" English or "pure" English or the "King's English," by distinguishing its dialects - and sometimes by ...
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Overview

The English language in the Renaissance was in many ways a collection of competing Englishes. Paula Blank investigates the representation of alternative vernaculars - the dialects of early modern English - in both linguistic and literary works of the period. Blank argues that Renaissance authors such as Spenser, Shakespeare, and Jonson helped to construct the idea of a national language, variously known as "true" English or "pure" English or the "King's English," by distinguishing its dialects - and sometimes by creating those dialects themselves. Broken English reveals how the Renaissance "invention" of dialect forged modern alliances of language and cultural authority. This book will be of interest to scholars and students of Renaissance studies and Renaissance English literature. It will also make fascinating reading for anyone with an interest in the history of the English language.
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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
An investigation of competing English dialects during the Renaissance arguing that Spenser, Shakespeare, and Jonson constructed the idea of a "King's" English by distinguishing between the many forms of English used during the period. Blank English, College of William and Mary broadens the linguistic studies of the period by her discussion of internal contests between different types of English in contrast to other scholarly works which have simply labeled the Renaissance as the time when English triumphed over Latin. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780415137799
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 11/8/1996
  • Series: Politics of Language Series
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 6.14 (w) x 9.21 (h) x 0.56 (d)

Table of Contents

List of figures
Acknowledgments
A note on the texts
Introduction 1
1 The Renaissance Discovery of Dialect 7
2 The Thieves of Language 33
3 Regions of Renaissance English I: South of the Border 69
4 Regions of Renaissance English II: The North Country 100
5 Language, Laws, and Blood: The King's English and His Empire 126
Notes 169
Bibliography 197
Index 207
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