Word pairs in late Middle English prose

Tani, Akinobu (2010) Word pairs in late Middle English prose. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

Due to Embargo and/or Third Party Copyright restrictions, this thesis is not available in this service.
Printed Thesis Information: https://eleanor.lib.gla.ac.uk/record=b2929928


Word Pairs in Late Middle English Prose investigates the use of word pairs (WPs)
occurring in various English prose texts in the late Middle English period, i.e. in the
fourteenth- and fifteenth-centuries. The research question addressed is a stylistic one: is
there a relationship between the use of WPs and the genres of these texts? Characteristics
of WPs investigated in the study include (1) the normalized frequency of WPs, (2) the
etymological makeup of WPs and (3) repetition of WPs.
First, the analysis of WPs in all Chaucer’s prose texts is conducted in comparison with two
controls as a preliminary study to examine the different uses of WPs in each prose text and
the relationship between these texts in terms of the use of WPs, and to check the validity of
the methodology used in the analysis of late medieval English prose. After having
ascertained the validity of the methodology, the analyses of WPs follow in a range of other
texts with a wider circulation: the Mirror of the Blessed Life of Jesus Christ, Trevisa’s On
the Properties of Things, the Brut or the Chronicles of England, English Wycliffite
Sermons, the History of Reynard the Fox, Paris and Vienne, the Works of Sir Thomas
Malory, Fortescue’s the Governance of England. Next, the analyses of WPs follow in
texts with a more limited audience in mind such as An Anthology of Chancery English, and
Paston Letters and Papers of the Fifteenth Century. Through the analysis of the WPs in
these texts, the characteristics of WPs in each text are identified. Then characteristics in
what are thought to be similar texts are compared. Statistical methods such as principal
component analysis and cluster analysis are then applied to the WP data to investigate and
demonstrate generic and stylistic relationships.
The results of the study point to a contrast between curial style and traditional native style
based on speech, the difference between which can be characterized as the abundance or
dearth of WPs and the different ratio of Old French (OF)+OF vs. Old English (OE)+OE
types of WPs, respectively. Certain characteristics peculiar to individual prose texts are
also revealed. Lastly, the reasons for the use of WPs in different texts are considered. This
study reveals the complex use of WPs in different texts, and offers a study of the subject
which is more nuanced and delicate than has been previously achieved.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PE English
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts > School of Critical Studies > English Language and Linguistics
Supervisor's Name: Caie, Prof. Graham and Smith, Prof. Jeremy J.
Date of Award: 2010
Embargo Date: 31 December 2023
Depositing User: Mr Toby Hanning
Unique ID: glathesis:2010-3323
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 13 Apr 2012
Last Modified: 09 Nov 2020 14:12
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/3323

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