Download Broken English: Dialects and the Politics of Language in by Paula Blank PDF

By Paula Blank

The English language within the Renaissance was once in lots of methods a suite of competing Englishes. Paula clean investigates the illustration of different vernaculars - the dialects of early sleek English - in either linguistic and literary works of the interval. clean argues that Renaissance authors comparable to Spenser, Shakespeare and Jonson helped to build the belief of a countrywide language, variously referred to as 'true' English or 'pure' English or the 'King's English', by way of distinguishing its dialects - and occasionally by means of developing these dialects themselves. damaged English unearths how the Renaissance 'invention' of dialect cast smooth alliances of language and cultural authority. This e-book can be of curiosity to students and scholars of Renaissance experiences and Renaissance English literature. it's going to additionally make attention-grabbing studying for an individual with an curiosity within the background of English language.

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Extra info for Broken English: Dialects and the Politics of Language in Renaissance Writings (Routledge Politics of Language Series)

Sample text

I begin with Shakespeare’s Prince Hal, or rather return to his example: Stephen Greenblatt, notably, has made Hal the chief exemplar of a dominant Elizabethan culture predicated on the “mastery” of others’ words. 24–5) than the few simple phrases necessary to his trade. 98–9). 12 34 THE THIEVES OF LANGUAGE Hal’s business in these plays, we might say, is to acquire power in a political economy where one man’s gain is predicated on another’s loss. His aim, as he details it in the famous soliloquy of Act 1, scene 2, is to “redeem” the time, to recover, in an economic as well as a moral sense, the time he has wasted in the taverns, as well as the crushing political debt incurred by his father’s usurpation of the crown.

In the chapters that follow, I will explore some of the “uncommon” dialects recreated by Renaissance authors, including southern and northern words, old words and new words, varieties of English that were controversial insofar as they were construed as strange or foreign—that is, as samples of a “broken” language. It would be misleading, however, to suggest that Renaissance English literary writers advanced specific dialects of the vernacular as part of a larger linguistic movement, as some of their contemporaries on the continent did.

The debate over neologism—the so-called “inkhorn” controversy—was openly engaged by many early modern poets and playwrights as well. Samuel Daniel, at the end of his Defense of Rhyme (1603), reproaches other poets for “counterfeiting” words: We alwayes bewray our selves to be both unkinde and unnaturall to our owne native language, in disguising or forging strange or unusuall wordes, as if it were to make our verse seeme another kind of speach out of the course of our usuall practise, displacing our wordes, or inventing new, onely upon a singularitie….

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