Word of Mouth

Bayeux Tapestry Scene 13

What’s the connection between William the Conqueror, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and lunch at the Ritz? BBC Radio 4’s language programme Word of Mouth today looked at some of the surprising effects of Anglo-Norman French on the English language, as Michael Rosen is joined by Laura Wright and Richard Ashdowne. You can download the programme as a podcast.

Image credit: Bayeux Tapestry (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:BayeuxTapestryScene13.jpg)

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Latin in Medieval Britain

9780197266083We are pleased to announce that Latin in Medieval Britain, edited by Richard Ashdowne and Carolinne White, will be published by the British Academy in April 2017. This volume follows from the conference under the same title held in 2013 to celebrate the completion of the Dictionary.

Latin continued to be used across Europe long after the end of the Roman Empire. This collection considers key issues arising from the use of Latin in Britain from the 6th to the 16th centuries. Latin in this period was not the native language of its users but was nevertheless used extensively for a wide variety of functions from religion, literature, and philosophy to record-keeping and correspondence. It existed alongside a number of everyday native spoken languages, including English, French, and Welsh. The chapters in this collection consider Latin with regard to the various contexts in which it was used, looking beyond narrow comparisons with its Roman ancestor to see what medieval users did with Latin and the changing effects this had on the language.

The fifteen chapters by expert contributors are divided into three parts. The chapters of the first part consider important examples of Latin usage in Britain during four successive periods, the pre-Conquest period, the 12th century, the long 14th century, and the 15th and 16th centuries. In the second part, different spheres of use are considered, including the law, the church, music, and science. In the final part the use of Latin is considered alongside the many spoken native languages of medieval Britain, looking at how the languages had different roles and how they influenced each other. In all the many contexts in which Latin was used, this use reveals continuity matched with adaptation to circumstance, not least in the development of new vocabulary for the language. Between these two poles, users of Latin steered a course that suited their own needs and those of their intended audience.

The contributors are:

Richard Ashdowne, Former Editor, Dictionary of Medieval Latin from British Sources
Paul Brand FBA, Emeritus, All Souls College, University of Oxford
Charles Burnett FBA, Warburg Institute, University of London
Wendy Childs, Emeritus, University of Leeds
Philip Durkin, Deputy Chief Editor, Oxford English Dictionary
Leofranc Holford-Strevens, former Consultant Scholar-Editor, Oxford University Press
David Howlett, Former Editor, Dictionary of Medieval Latin from British Sources
Paul Russell, University of Cambridge
Samantha Schad, Oxford English Dictionary
Richard Sharpe FBA, Wadham College, University of Oxford
Robert Swanson, University of Birmingham
David Trotter, Aberystwyth University
Carolinne White, former Assistant Editor, Dictionary of Medieval Latin from British Sources
Laura Wright, University of Cambridge
Neil Wright, Girton College, University of Cambridge

The book can be ordered directly from OUP or from all good booksellers. It will also be available on British Academy Scholarship Online later this year.

We will be publishing the abstracts of the chapters on this blog over the coming weeks (Part I, Part II, Part III).

Dictionary display at Bodleian closes

Bodleian Display

Bodleian Display

Our Latin in Medieval Britain display at the Bodleian Library in Oxford has now been taken down. However, it remains available to view in virtual format on our website, where you can also find the lecture by David Howlett, ‘Making the Dictionary’. Our thanks go to the Library for hosting the display and in particular to Sallyanne Gilchrist of the Bodleian Conservation team and Shelagh Sneddon of the DMLBS team for their hard work in putting it together.

Picture credit: Sallyanne Gilchrist

Last chance to see Bodleian display

DMLBS display poster

DMLBS display poster

This week is the last chance to see our Latin in Medieval Britain display at the Bodleian Library in Oxford. It will remain available to view in virtual format on our website, where you can also find the lecture by David Howlett, ‘Making the Dictionary’.