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The Lexical Contribution of Wycliffe’s Bible English to the History of the English Language

The Lexical Contribution of Wycliffe’s Bible English to the History of the English Language

Lee, Youngjoo (Korean Bible University)

Language and Linguistics, Vol.35 (2005)

Abstract

The purpose of this study is to show that the English of the Wycliffe Bible, translated in the late fourteenth century, 100 years earlier than chancery English,) was the true forerunner of standard English. Freeborn (1992:75) affirms that there was no standard language in London before chancery standard. In Middle English, there was no recognized standard form. In the beginning of the fifteenth century, however, the speech type of London was emerging as a new standard English. This new standard English spread to all of England through the chancery throughout the fifteenth century by the promotion of Henry V.) To show the lexical contribution of Wycliffe Bible English to the history of English, I investigate the characteristics of the English in the Wycliffe Bible, and compare texts of the two subsequent English Bible versions with the Wycliffe Bible. Luke 15:15-24, the story of the Prodigal Son, and I Corinthians 13, the chapter of love, are randomly chosen because they are well-known passages to people.

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