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The Familiar EnemyChaucer, Language, and Nation in the Hundred Years War$
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Ardis Butterfield

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199574865

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199574865.001.0001

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A Common Language?

A Common Language?

(p.66) 3 A Common Language?
The Familiar Enemy

Ardis Butterfield (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

explores how certain writings represent people interacting across language differences. This involves trying to gain a sense of how people thought about their own language use, what they understood by linguistic barriers, and what significance they attached to them. When they heard one another speak, what did they hear? How did an English speaker of French hear continental French, and how did a continental French speaker hear Anglo‐French? Through close reading of several ‘Anglo‐French’ fabliaux and other textes en jargon franco‐anglais in which writers display a self‐conscious humour about the differences between kinds of French, the chapter argues, with reference to Derrida, that issues of identity are performed through differences in pronunciation. With subtle comedy, these writers show that sharing a language can be a rich source of social distinction, yet also an unreliable means of wielding power.

Keywords:   French pronunciation, Anglo‐French, fabliaux, Derrida, jargon, franco‐anglais

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