Weâ€™re going to read selections from Geoffrey Chaucerâ€™s The Canterbury Tales primarily in modern translation, but before doing that, youâ€™ll spend some time becoming familiar with the way it was written originally, in what today we call Middle English. You’ll learn later the historical significance of Middle English and what Chaucerâ€™s poetry signifies for the evolution of the English language, but for now explore how much you understand of the original without referring to any translation aids. In other words, begin by immersing yourself in Chaucerâ€™s language and seeing what makes sense to you.Click the web link â€œGeneral Prologue in Middle Englishâ€ and read the first 207 lines of the prologue.After reading, complete and submit responses to the following questions. Be as specific as you can. Include details:What is the setting? What is the action? Who are the characters?What words, sentences, sections of the reading are the most difficult for you to understand? What is it about the language in these places that makes it difficult?What words, sentences, sections of the reading are the easiest for you to understand? What is it about the language in these places that makes it easy?Once youâ€™ve finished and submitted your responses, go back and read the first 34 lines aloud.Now click the web link “The Canterbury Tales, General Prologue, ll. 1-34” (youâ€™ll have to scroll down a bit on this page to find the audio file) and listen to the prologue read to you in Middle English. Follow the text provided as you listen.Listen then to the audio file a second time, but this time follow along instead in Modern English in your Oxford World’s Classics edition.General Prologue in Middle English:http://sacred-texts.com/neu/eng/mect/mect00.htmThe Canterbury Tales, General Prologue, II. 1-34: http://alanbaragona.wordpress.com/the-criyng-and-the-soun/the-canterbury-tales-general-prologue-ii-1-34/
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