Fourteenth-century English was talked (and written) in a range of dialects. Middle English speakers well-known three distinct dialects -- Northern, Midlands, and Southern:

 Also, English though they had from the start three way of decided -- Southern, Northern, and Middle speech in the center of the land, together they come from three manner of world in Germany .

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Modern scholars differentiate five dialects (see map). 


The clerks in the Reeve"s Tale space from Strother, in the Northern language area (north that the flow Humber, which divides the north from the eastern Midland dialect area). The Reeve himself is from Norfolk, in the northern eastern Midlands. is from London. Top top the Thames, which divides the Kentish and East Midlands dialect areas; that is a unique area on its own.

The Parson claims he is a "Southern man," indigenous the area south of the Thames; but he speaks in the London Dialect. He claims he can not even understand the alliterative poetry typical in the north -- he offers nonsense rate to explain it:

 I kan nat geeste `rum, ram, ruf," through lettre, (Parson"s Prologue, X.43).

He may have actually shared john of Trevisa"s mindset toward north Speech:

All the language of the Northumbrians, and also specially at York, is so sharp, piercing, rasping, and also unshapely the we southerly men have the right to hardly know that language. I intend this is due to the fact that they space nigh to foreign men and aliens who speak strangely, and likewise because the majesties of England dwell constantly far from the country.

The dialect of London, the commercial, intellectual, and political center of power, was ending up being the call dialect. The idea that "the King"s English" underlies Trevisa"s discuss the north dialect, and it shows up directly in"s treatise on the Astrolabe for the an initial time:

 God save the king, that is lord of this langage <(Astr Pro.56-57)>

By the fifteenth century, London English was firmly established as the dialect spoken by the denizens of power, a fact used for comic effect in The 2nd Shepherds" Play.

The literature language that smashville247.nethioned end up being the traditional written language of elegant writers and the language of London came to be the written traditional for every formal English. (It is, of course, more facility than this; because that an progressed discussion see: john H. Fisher, "Chancery and the appearance of traditional Written English in the Fifteenth Century," Speculum, Vol. 52, No. 4. (Oct., 1977), pp. 870-89.)

 In the so late fifteenth century, the printer William Caxton, who substantially influenced what is currently Standard written English complained around the transforms in the language because earlier times and its diverse dialects:

take it an old book and also read therein, and also certainly the English was so rude and wide that I could not well recognize it. And likewise my lord Abbot the Westminster had presented to me recently specific evidences written in old English for to analyze it right into our English currently used. And also certainly the was written in such a manner that it was much more like Dutch 보다 English. I could not translate it nor lug it to it is in understood.

And definitely our language now used varies far from that which was provided and talked when ns was born. For we Englishmen room born under the dominination the the Moon, which is never ever steadsmashville247.nett but ever wavering, waxing one season, and also wanes and decreases another season

And that common English that is talked in one shire varies from another. Insomuch the in my days happened that particular merchants to be inb a delivery in the Thames, for to have sailed end the sea right into Zeeland, and for absence of wind lock tarried at foreland and also went to land for to refreshing themselves. And also one the them called Sheffelde, a mercer, came into a house and also asked for food; and also especially that asked because that eggs. And the great wife answered that she could speak no French.

And the vendor was angry, for he additionally could speak no French, but wanted come have had actually eggs, and also she taken him not. And also then at last another said that he woulkd have "eyren." then the good wife taken him well.

Lo, what should a guy in these days now write, "eggs" or "eyren"?

T. Culley ... And also F.J. Furnivall, London, a EETS, 1890 .

 Caxton addressed the problem by using London English and thus set the typical that other printers would follow.

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His puzzlement end the changes English had actually undergone in his life time will stir the sympathy that students first encountering"s language. But the difficulty is not all that difficult. The fifteenth century was the moment of The great Vowel Shift, i m sorry accounts because that the greatest difference between modern English and"s English, the joint of the "long vowels.