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Thread: Reading My 1560 Geneva Bible ... !!!

  1. #1
    Registered User vja4Him's Avatar
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    I just got my new 1560 Geneva Bible several weeks ago. Have been reading many chapters ... Does anyone here know, or have an educated guess, how certain words would have been pronounced back then?

    I'm doing pretty good reading the 1560 Geneva Bible, but have some questions. I know that they didn't have the letter "j" back then, and used the letter "i" instead of "j" but ...

    Just how would those words be pronounced? Were they prounounced with the sound of our modern "j" ? I'm assuming not ...

    I have some questions regarding the language found in my 1560 Geneva Bible. Someone from another forum told me that the English used in the 1560 Geneva Bible is really Early Modern English.

    I have looked at Middle English, and it seems that would be true ...

    I have some questions regarding spelling found in the 1560 Geneva Bible. Why are some words (even the same words) sometimes spelled with a capital letter, and other times not?

    Example:

    Psalm 9:7, "iudgement"

    Psalm 10:5, "Iudgeméts"

    Which brings up another question. Why the use of the accent on the e? I've noticed that accent is used to indicate sometimes the letter "m" and sometimes the letter "n" ?

    I rather enjoy reading the 1560 Geneva Bible, and have noticed the Geneva Bible is very similar to the King James Bible. And when the words differ, the meaning seems to be the same.
    - vja4Him

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    Bibliophile JBI's Avatar
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    Try looking them up in the Oxford English dictionary, or a reference about the actual time period. Those words are rather obscure, and the text is rather uncommon.

    As for capitals - the Old Testament doesn't actually have capitals, as Hebrew Doesn't have capitals. Then it just becomes a stylistic convention of the translator, deciding what warrants a capital, and what doesn't.
    Last edited by JBI; 11-17-2008 at 11:51 PM.

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    Registered User vja4Him's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JBI View Post
    Try looking them up in the Oxford English dictionary, or a reference about the actual time period. Those words are rather obscure, and the text is rather uncommon.

    As for capitals - the Old Testament doesn't actually have capitals, as Hebrew Doesn't have capitals. Then it just becomes a stylistic convention of the translator, deciding what warrants a capital, and what doesn't.
    So, back in the days (1500s), writers had a lot more freedom when writing, with regards to spelling and grammar ....

    I really wanted my question to deal more with the actual grammitcal aspects of the older phase of English (Middle English - Early Modern English). I am interested in the stages of development of the English language, just how the grammar and spelling was being reformed, and who, if anyone, was trying to reform the rules of spelling and grammar.

    I notice that many writers even in the 1700s and 1800s were still capitalizing many words that we would never capitalize! Was there any convention regarding which words a writer capitized? Or was it really up to the writer to capitalize any word they wanted to?

    Perhaps the reason why writers capitalized certain words was to emphasize those words, and concepts ... ??? Rather than any particular rule of grammar?

    Another question I have is regarding the letter "s" that looks like the letter "f". I notice that there seems to be no exact rule of grammar concerning the usage of this odd written form ...

    Sometimes the letter "f" is used for the letter s, and sometimes not ... Does anyone know more about this? What exactly happened to the usage of the letter "f" as an "s"? When and why did writers stop this style of writing (using the letter "f" for an "s")?
    - vja4Him

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    Bibliophile JBI's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vja4Him View Post
    Another question I have is regarding the letter "s" that looks like the letter "f". I notice that there seems to be no exact rule of grammar concerning the usage of this odd written form ...

    Sometimes the letter "f" is used for the letter s, and sometimes not ... Does anyone know more about this? What exactly happened to the usage of the letter "f" as an "s"? When and why did writers stop this style of writing (using the letter "f" for an "s")?
    A common thing at the time - the Shakespeare texts which survive follow the same pattern.

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    rat in a strange garret Whifflingpin's Avatar
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    "Sometimes the letter "f" is used for the letter s, and sometimes not ... Does anyone know more about this? What exactly happened to the usage of the letter "f" as an "s"? When and why did writers stop this style of writing (using the letter "f" for an "s")?"

    Well - it's not an F, it's a "long S" - if you look closely, the f generally has a crossbar and the long s doesn't. Once you get used to it there is no confufion.

    Generally the long s is used at the beginnings of words, and elsewhere where it would not be overshadowed by the previous letter. So, for instance, the short s would follow t, d, or a long s. (The long s + short s is still used in German printing for ss)

    The long s faded out between about 1750 & 1850. Why have 2 concurrent forms of the same letter?

    "Why the use of the accent on the e?"
    Again, not really an accent - there is a term for it that I've forgotten - it just indicates that the following letter or letters have been omitted. Mediaeval scribes commonly used the squiggle (that's not the technical term) to save space and time in w'ds that would be easily recogn'd.

    "I am interested in the stages of development of the English language, just how the grammar and spelling was being reformed, and who, if anyone, was trying to reform the rules of spelling and grammar."
    I think there are really no "stages" in the development of English - only a flow. Certain events had an impact over a period of time. Examples of this are the rule of the Danish king Canute, which caused written Saxon of Wessex to be simplified, and the rule of French speaking kings that introduced many French words, and an odd way or tendency of writing many words in English/French pairs. But there was no sudden change, where people woke up one morning speaking Middle Modern English. And there is, indeed still no universally accepted set of grammatical rules or spelling.

    I understand that Johnson in England and Webster in USA wrote the most influential dictionaries, so they set the standards for spelling, in their respective countries, almost by accident. The dictionaries were meant to give meanings of words, but if you don't spell the same way as the lexicographer you can't find the words.

    I think that grammar, as a subject, was more or less reserved for the teaching of foreign languages, particularly Latin & Greek. English was sometimes shoe-horned by pedagogues into Latin grammatical rules. William Cobbett wrote an English grammar, based (I'm guessing) on English practice, in the early 1800s. Otherwise, I'd say that any attempt to teach English grammar on any large scale started with the later Victorians and stopped, in England at least, in the 1970s.
    Last edited by Whifflingpin; 11-18-2008 at 03:54 PM.
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    in angulo cum libro Petrarch's Love's Avatar
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    Hi, vga4Him--Glad you're enjoying looking at your Geneva Bible. Looks like JBI and Whifflingpin have already answered some of your questions. I study and teach literature from the Middle Ages through the Renaissance, and so am very familiar with the language from that time. You are right that the Geneva Bible is Early Modern English, from roughly the same period as Shakespeare. It is much different from Middle English, the language of Chaucer, and even more different from Old English, the language of Beowulf.

    In terms of the s/f usage, Whifflingpin has already given a good account of the short versus long s, also known as the miniscule and uncial s respectively. As he pointed out, the character for the long s looks like an f, but doesn't actually have a stroke all the way through the letter. This is a pretty clear image where you can see the difference:



    The use of the long s derives from the look of the s in late Roman script. Here's an example from about the 4th century, though variations that looked like this occur throughout the middle ages:



    The mixed use of short and long s developed in the manuscript tradition of the Middle Ages, much like many of the characteristics of early printing.
    Why the use of the accent on the e? I've noticed that accent is used to indicate sometimes the letter "m" and sometimes the letter "n" ?
    Yes, you're right that the abbreviation mark usually indicates a letter m or n to follow a vowel. A common mark is the little wavy line, called a tilde (~) over the vowel. The use of this abbreviation was, again, a practice that developed in Medieval manuscripts. It was partly just a way to make writing faster, the way we currently use apostrophes for abbreviation. In addition to convenience, one reason for using abbreviations in both manuscripts and early print was that the ink and paper required were expensive so space saving measures were important (there are even more complex abbreviations in medieval manuscripts to get as much use as possible out of each page). You may also notice that some words are written partly in superscript to save space, especially with common abbreviations like "wt" witha superscript "t" for the word "with."

    Just how would those words be pronounced? Were they prounounced with the sound of our modern "j" ? I'm assuming not ...
    Actually, words like judgement were usually pronounced with a "J" sound, though they were spelled with an "i". The same letter was used for two sounds the way that in modern English the letter "c" can be both soft (cipher, city) or hard (caper, cat). The letters "y" and "i" are also often used interchangeably, and "v" and "u" were also often typed as "v" in this period, and you'll sometimes come across two "v"'s tped one after another, or a double u. Hence our modern "w." Another confusing usage you may come across is the use of "ye" for "the." "Ye" was actually still pronounced the way the modern "the" is, but was using the "y" as a replacement for the thorn, originally an Old English character for the "th" sound that persisted through the Middle Ages and looked much like a "y" in late Medieval manuscripts. An example of a 12th century manuscript thorn:



    As both JBI and Whiffling have pointed out, spelling and grammer in this period was not strictly regulated, and spelling in particular was just not considered an important convention in the way it is now. It wasn't until the 18th century that you see real attempts to come up with standardized spelling and the like. Similarly, there weren't strict conventions in terms of capitalization. The use of capital letters is fairly idiosyncratic in the period. Some texts use capitalization more consistently than others. In some texts capitalization appears to have been applied quite randomly where the author wished to create emphasis. My memory of the text of the Geneva bible was that it utilized capitalization to apply emphasis to possibly significant words in the scripture.

    I think that covers most of your questions. Feel free to post any others you may have about Early Modern texts or related concerns.

    "In rime sparse il suono/ di quei sospiri ond' io nudriva 'l core/ in sul mio primo giovenile errore"~ Francesco Petrarca
    "Follies and nonsense, whims and inconsistencies do divert me, I own, and I laugh at them whenever I can."~ Jane Austen

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    Artist and Bibliophile stlukesguild's Avatar
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    Petrarch... I have always been fascinated by the inconsistencies... and hence the freedoms... that this period in British literature afforded. It is one of the reasons I have despised the modernized and standardized texts of writers such as Spenser, Trayherne... and even William Blake. If I remember from my studies of Goethe (quite some time ago) he acted as the catalyst for German literature... inventing numerous words and word usages (not unlike Shakespeare... albeit to an even greater extent). I suspect the same was similar of Dante (although I would not swear to it). How standardized (or not) was the Italian that he was working with. I largely imagine it wasn't De vulgari eloquentia? While standardization certainly has its usages, the freedom and possibilities of this earlier era does lead you to truly appreciate the efforts at wordplay by Carroll (Twas brillig, and the slithy toves/Did gyre and gimble in the wabe), Edward Lear, James Joyce, Anthony Burgess, Charles Olson, Christian Morgenstern, and the like.
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    Registered User vja4Him's Avatar
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    Learning Middle English Online ...

    Petraarch -- Wow ... !!! You are really a trove for linguistic treasure ... !!! Thanks so much for your commentary ... You brought up several other questions I was going to post as well, concerning the superscripts and thorn.

    I'm still struggling a bit with the superscripts in the Geneva Bible, although it's not terribly frustrating. I am fluent with Khmer, which uses superscripts and subscripts quite frequently (even more than Laos, Thai, or Sanskrit). Khmer also uses another system of writing which I don't know the technical term for. The best way I can describe it is back and forth spelling (and reading!) ... While reading, jumping backwards, then passing up letters and reading in the front, then looping around, up and down ....

    I always read my 1560 Geneva Bible outloud, which helps tremendously. That way I can catch myself, and make the necessary corrections. Sometimes I have to stop and think a bit, and there are a few words that I haven't been able to decipher yet ....

    I would love to be able to read Middle English fluently someday!! Do you know of any good online resources that will allow me to study Middle English online, or even download? I can't afford to purchase any materials, so I'm limited to studying online.

    Do you know of any good examples of Middle English Bible texts that I could learn to read online? I've looked at some examples, but they would be much too difficult for me at this point ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Petrarch's Love View Post
    Hi, vga4Him--Glad you're enjoying looking at your Geneva Bible. Looks like JBI and Whifflingpin have already answered some of your questions. I study and teach literature from the Middle Ages through the Renaissance, and so am very familiar with the language from that time. You are right that the Geneva Bible is Early Modern English, from roughly the same period as Shakespeare. It is much different from Middle English, the language of Chaucer, and even more different from Old English, the language of Beowulf.

    In terms of the s/f usage, Whifflingpin has already given a good account of the short versus long s, also known as the miniscule and uncial s respectively. As he pointed out, the character for the long s looks like an f, but doesn't actually have a stroke all the way through the letter. This is a pretty clear image where you can see the difference:



    The use of the long s derives from the look of the s in late Roman script. Here's an example from about the 4th century, though variations that looked like this occur throughout the middle ages:



    The mixed use of short and long s developed in the manuscript tradition of the Middle Ages, much like many of the characteristics of early printing.


    Yes, you're right that the abbreviation mark usually indicates a letter m or n to follow a vowel. A common mark is the little wavy line, called a tilde (~) over the vowel. The use of this abbreviation was, again, a practice that developed in Medieval manuscripts. It was partly just a way to make writing faster, the way we currently use apostrophes for abbreviation. In addition to convenience, one reason for using abbreviations in both manuscripts and early print was that the ink and paper required were expensive so space saving measures were important (there are even more complex abbreviations in medieval manuscripts to get as much use as possible out of each page). You may also notice that some words are written partly in superscript to save space, especially with common abbreviations like "wt" witha superscript "t" for the word "with."



    Actually, words like judgement were usually pronounced with a "J" sound, though they were spelled with an "i". The same letter was used for two sounds the way that in modern English the letter "c" can be both soft (cipher, city) or hard (caper, cat). The letters "y" and "i" are also often used interchangeably, and "v" and "u" were also often typed as "v" in this period, and you'll sometimes come across two "v"'s tped one after another, or a double u. Hence our modern "w." Another confusing usage you may come across is the use of "ye" for "the." "Ye" was actually still pronounced the way the modern "the" is, but was using the "y" as a replacement for the thorn, originally an Old English character for the "th" sound that persisted through the Middle Ages and looked much like a "y" in late Medieval manuscripts. An example of a 12th century manuscript thorn:



    As both JBI and Whiffling have pointed out, spelling and grammer in this period was not strictly regulated, and spelling in particular was just not considered an important convention in the way it is now. It wasn't until the 18th century that you see real attempts to come up with standardized spelling and the like. Similarly, there weren't strict conventions in terms of capitalization. The use of capital letters is fairly idiosyncratic in the period. Some texts use capitalization more consistently than others. In some texts capitalization appears to have been applied quite randomly where the author wished to create emphasis. My memory of the text of the Geneva bible was that it utilized capitalization to apply emphasis to possibly significant words in the scripture.

    I think that covers most of your questions. Feel free to post any others you may have about Early Modern texts or related concerns.
    Last edited by vja4Him; 11-19-2008 at 10:16 AM.
    - vja4Him

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    Registered User vja4Him's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stlukesguild View Post
    Petrarch... I have always been fascinated by the inconsistencies... and hence the freedoms... that this period in British literature afforded. It is one of the reasons I have despised the modernized and standardized texts of writers such as Spenser, Trayherne... and even William Blake. If I remember from my studies of Goethe (quite some time ago) he acted as the catalyst for German literature... inventing numerous words and word usages (not unlike Shakespeare... albeit to an even greater extent). I suspect the same was similar of Dante (although I would not swear to it). How standardized (or not) was the Italian that he was working with. I largely imagine it wasn't De vulgari eloquentia? While standardization certainly has its usages, the freedom and possibilities of this earlier era does lead you to truly appreciate the efforts at wordplay by Carroll (Twas brillig, and the slithy toves/Did gyre and gimble in the wabe), Edward Lear, James Joyce, Anthony Burgess, Charles Olson, Christian Morgenstern, and the like.
    I have worked with children for many years. Nearly 12 years as a Paraprofessional, and nine years as a substitute. I've noticed that many children get very frustrated with spelling, and often don't get much done because they put so much effort and time into spelling.

    On the other hand, I see some kids who just write, and don't seem to be bothered, or even care, much for spelling. When they are finished their writing can look sloppy, with many words spelled wrong, but you can make good sense of what they want to say!
    - vja4Him

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    Artist and Bibliophile stlukesguild's Avatar
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    The first complete English translation of the Bible is that of John Wyclif. Outside of that all that you would have would be fragments or selections by various translators. I don't see Wyclif as being at all difficult... but then again I have already worked at reading Chaucer in the original Middle-English and so I understand some of the spelling conventions, vocabulary, etc... Seriously I don't think it would be too difficult to read Wyclif's Bible as long as one had a good vocabulary. A complete translation in a Pdf can be found here:

    http://wesley.nnu.edu/biblical_studies/wycliffe/

    But no vocabulary that I see. Actually... its not all that hard...

    Be not youre herte affraied, ne drede it. Ye bileuen in god, and bileue ye in me. In the hous of my fadir ben many dwellyngis: if ony thing lasse I hadde seid to you, for I go to make redi to you a place. And if I go and make redi to you a place, eftsone I come and I schal take you to my silf, that where I am, ye be. And whidir I go ye witen: and ye witen the wey. (John 14:1-4)

    http://wesley.nnu.edu/biblical_studies/wycliffe/
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  11. #11
    in angulo cum libro Petrarch's Love's Avatar
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    vja4Him--Glad my post could be helpful to you.

    I would love to be able to read Middle English fluently someday!! Do you know of any good online resources that will allow me to study Middle English online, or even download? I can't afford to purchase any materials, so I'm limited to studying online.
    The best open online site I know is the Chaucer page at Harvard: http://www.courses.fas.harvard.edu/~chaucer/ If you click on the "Chaucer's language" link in the menu to the right it will take you to some exercises to help learn Middle English pronunciation and so on. If you poke around the site, it also has a ton of background information on both Middle English and on Chaucer. As St. Luke's suggests, once you learn a few pronunciation differences and look up a few antiquated words, many Middle English dialects are quite easy to read.
    Do you know of any good examples of Middle English Bible texts that I could learn to read online? I've looked at some examples, but they would be much too difficult for me at this point ...
    Well, there really is only one translation of the bible into English during the Middle English period. The church in the Middle Ages (the Catholic Church was the only church in western Europe during this time) had strict regulations about the text of the bible, and only the Latin vulgate version was considered acceptable. Latin was, at this time the universal language for educated people in Europe. The church was interested in having one standard edition of the bible so all of its priests, no matter where they came from, would know the same version of the word, and also so that they didn't have to worry about corrupted or bad translations being produced. On the other hand, there were some who later criticized them for wanting to keep the bible in Latin so that the educated clergy who knew Latin would be the only ones with access to the word of God, giving them a source of power over the lay people who would have to depend on them for their religious understanding. At any rate, you don't start getting any kind of substantial numbers of vernacular language (the languages that people spoke commonly such as English, French, German etc.) translations until the Protestant Reformation, which started about 1517 when Luther tacked his 95 theses to the door of the Church in Wittenberg. Luther then began a trend by translating the bible into his vernacular German, arguing that all people should have access to the scripture in their own native tongue. It was then across the 16th century (1500's) that multiple vernacular translations of the bible began to pop up.

    This was also true, for the most part in England. Previous to the Protestant Reformation era, there had been a 9th century translation into Old English, or Anglo Saxon (which is substantially different from either Middle or Modern English, and really can't be understood without putting in some hard study time) and then a long period in the Middle Ages until the Wycliffe translation into a Middle English version in the 1380's. This was a manuscript translation (printing didn't come about until around 1450) that was circulated mostly among Wycliffe's followers. Wycliffe headed a proto-reformation group that became known as Lollards or Wycliffites, and many of their activities, including the English translation of the bible, brought on the very active disapproval of the Catholic Church. As a vivid example of how rebellious the English translation was considered, when they burned Wycliffe's follower, John Hus at the stake they used copies of the English Bible as the kindling for the fire!

    In the 16th century the Reformation on the continent inspired new interest in translating the bible into English. William Tyndale was the first to print a copy of the New Testament in English in 1525, though he was forced to flee England to the continent in order to do so (he was later burned as a heretic). In about 1532 English became a Protestant country after Henry VIII broke with the Catholic Church (primarily because he wanted a divorce from his first wife that the church wouldn't grant). Miles Coverdale, a follower of Tyndale, produced the first published full translation of the bible in 1535, and a few years later Coverdale was instrumental in putting together the so called "Great Bible" in 1539 that Henry VIII authorized as the bible for the new Church of England. After this period comes the publication of the 1560 Geneva Bible which you've been looking at. This was published (as the name suggests) in Geneva because Henry's daughter, Mary, had turned England back to Catholicism during her reign (1553-1558) and so most of the work for the preparation and publication of the bible had to take place in the Protestant friendly community in Switzerland. In the 1580's the Catholic Church finally decided it was hurting them more than it was helping them to try to keep the bible solely in Latin, so they produced the Douay-Rheims English version in 1589, and then in 1611 we get the famous King James translation in England, authorized by (who else?) King James I.

    "In rime sparse il suono/ di quei sospiri ond' io nudriva 'l core/ in sul mio primo giovenile errore"~ Francesco Petrarca
    "Follies and nonsense, whims and inconsistencies do divert me, I own, and I laugh at them whenever I can."~ Jane Austen

  12. #12
    in angulo cum libro Petrarch's Love's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stlukesguild View Post
    Petrarch... I have always been fascinated by the inconsistencies... and hence the freedoms... that this period in British literature afforded. It is one of the reasons I have despised the modernized and standardized texts of writers such as Spenser, Trayherne... and even William Blake. If I remember from my studies of Goethe (quite some time ago) he acted as the catalyst for German literature... inventing numerous words and word usages (not unlike Shakespeare... albeit to an even greater extent). I suspect the same was similar of Dante (although I would not swear to it). How standardized (or not) was the Italian that he was working with. I largely imagine it wasn't De vulgari eloquentia? While standardization certainly has its usages, the freedom and possibilities of this earlier era does lead you to truly appreciate the efforts at wordplay by Carroll (Twas brillig, and the slithy toves/Did gyre and gimble in the wabe), Edward Lear, James Joyce, Anthony Burgess, Charles Olson, Christian Morgenstern, and the like.
    Yes, I think that kind of freedom is true of most vernacular languages during the Renaissance period. It's this fascinating middle time between the vernacular becoming acceptable as languages for literature and the vernacular languages becoming the standard languages for literature, with an accompanying interest in having them formally standardized. The contrast between this newly flowering freedom in the language and later standardization is even more sharp in some languages. I was recently speaking with a French professor, who said that the vocabulary of the French language actually shrank significantly following the establishment of l'Académie française in the mid 17th century and that the language had its largest and most varied vocabulary in the 16th century. That freedom of language, and interest in exploring the language, adding to the language, of changing, and mutating and molding it, that goes on in the Renaissance is certainly part of what drew me to the period.

    "In rime sparse il suono/ di quei sospiri ond' io nudriva 'l core/ in sul mio primo giovenile errore"~ Francesco Petrarca
    "Follies and nonsense, whims and inconsistencies do divert me, I own, and I laugh at them whenever I can."~ Jane Austen

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    Registered User vja4Him's Avatar
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    Chaucer Audio Files ....

    Thanks for sharing the audio links. I listened to all the audio files ...Now to start working on learning the vocabulary ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Petrarch's Love View Post
    vja4Him--Glad my post could be helpful to you.



    The best open online site I know is the Chaucer page at Harvard: http://www.courses.fas.harvard.edu/~chaucer/ If you click on the "Chaucer's language" link in the menu to the right it will take you to some exercises to help learn Middle English pronunciation and so on. If you poke around the site, it also has a ton of background information on both Middle English and on Chaucer. As St. Luke's suggests, once you learn a few pronunciation differences and look up a few antiquated words, many Middle English dialects are quite easy to read.


    Well, there really is only one translation of the bible into English during the Middle English period. The church in the Middle Ages (the Catholic Church was the only church in western Europe during this time) had strict regulations about the text of the bible, and only the Latin vulgate version was considered acceptable. Latin was, at this time the universal language for educated people in Europe. The church was interested in having one standard edition of the bible so all of its priests, no matter where they came from, would know the same version of the word, and also so that they didn't have to worry about corrupted or bad translations being produced. On the other hand, there were some who later criticized them for wanting to keep the bible in Latin so that the educated clergy who knew Latin would be the only ones with access to the word of God, giving them a source of power over the lay people who would have to depend on them for their religious understanding. At any rate, you don't start getting any kind of substantial numbers of vernacular language (the languages that people spoke commonly such as English, French, German etc.) translations until the Protestant Reformation, which started about 1517 when Luther tacked his 95 theses to the door of the Church in Wittenberg. Luther then began a trend by translating the bible into his vernacular German, arguing that all people should have access to the scripture in their own native tongue. It was then across the 16th century (1500's) that multiple vernacular translations of the bible began to pop up.

    This was also true, for the most part in England. Previous to the Protestant Reformation era, there had been a 9th century translation into Old English, or Anglo Saxon (which is substantially different from either Middle or Modern English, and really can't be understood without putting in some hard study time) and then a long period in the Middle Ages until the Wycliffe translation into a Middle English version in the 1380's. This was a manuscript translation (printing didn't come about until around 1450) that was circulated mostly among Wycliffe's followers. Wycliffe headed a proto-reformation group that became known as Lollards or Wycliffites, and many of their activities, including the English translation of the bible, brought on the very active disapproval of the Catholic Church. As a vivid example of how rebellious the English translation was considered, when they burned Wycliffe's follower, John Hus at the stake they used copies of the English Bible as the kindling for the fire!

    In the 16th century the Reformation on the continent inspired new interest in translating the bible into English. William Tyndale was the first to print a copy of the New Testament in English in 1525, though he was forced to flee England to the continent in order to do so (he was later burned as a heretic). In about 1532 English became a Protestant country after Henry VIII broke with the Catholic Church (primarily because he wanted a divorce from his first wife that the church wouldn't grant). Miles Coverdale, a follower of Tyndale, produced the first published full translation of the bible in 1535, and a few years later Coverdale was instrumental in putting together the so called "Great Bible" in 1539 that Henry VIII authorized as the bible for the new Church of England. After this period comes the publication of the 1560 Geneva Bible which you've been looking at. This was published (as the name suggests) in Geneva because Henry's daughter, Mary, had turned England back to Catholicism during her reign (1553-1558) and so most of the work for the preparation and publication of the bible had to take place in the Protestant friendly community in Switzerland. In the 1580's the Catholic Church finally decided it was hurting them more than it was helping them to try to keep the bible solely in Latin, so they produced the Douay-Rheims English version in 1589, and then in 1611 we get the famous King James translation in England, authorized by (who else?) King James I.
    - vja4Him

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