Bi- and multilingualism in the early English ballad : francophone influences in the development of the ballad genre in Medieval England

Michael INGHAM

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Abstract

In this paper I posit a connection between the continental European lyric forms of the Italian ballata and the French balade and lais and the early Anglophone ballad via the influence of Anglo-Norman linguistic and cultural practices in the medieval period. The extent to which Anglo-Norman linguistic and cultural presence in Anglophone culture in the medieval period and the contact interface with Middle English were significant factors in the development of the ballad form will also be discussed. The term "ballad", I argue, almost certainly came into the English language from Anglo-Norman cultural assimilation, as Chaucer's individual ballades and John Gower's Cinkante Balades exemplify. The Harley MS collections feature a number of anonymous secular songs/ballads in one or more of Middle English, Anglo-Norman, and Latin, some of them written in bilingual or macaronic versions, as do Thomas Wright's anthology of medieval political songs and I. S. T. Aspin's Anglo-Norman Political Songs compilation for the Anglo-Norman Text Society.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMultilingualism in the Middle Ages and Early Modern Age : Communication and Miscommunication in the Premodern World
Publisherde Gruyter
Pages249-278
Number of pages30
ISBN (Print)9783110471441
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2016

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    INGHAM, M. (2016). Bi- and multilingualism in the early English ballad : francophone influences in the development of the ballad genre in Medieval England. In Multilingualism in the Middle Ages and Early Modern Age : Communication and Miscommunication in the Premodern World (pp. 249-278). de Gruyter. https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110471441-012