John Gower’s French verse has been seen as diverging from that of his Anglo-Norman predecessors, and he has often been considered as more continental in his affiliation. In this study we consider how distinctive Gower was, linguistically, in terms of the system levels of language, i.e. phonology and syntax. These aspects are investigated with respect to linguistic variables which show that where insular French diverged from continental usage, Gower’s practice was to follow Anglo-Norman rather than continental French. These findings are assessed from the perspective of his presumed authorial stance, as it developed from his earlier to his later work. Throughout his writing in French, Gower’s latent English identity remains a constant in his use of insular language forms.
- Continental French
- Gower Anglo-Norman identity