Middle English V5

Old English >>> Middle English
450 - 1066 AD >>> 1066 - 1500 AD
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EngelsMiddelbare schoolvwoLeerjaar 5

This lesson contains 31 slides, with interactive quizzes, text slides and 3 videos.

Items in this lesson

Old English >>> Middle English
450 - 1066 AD >>> 1066 - 1500 AD

Slide 1 - Slide

Today's schedule
- recap Old English
- timeline Middle English
- literary genres & highlights
- most prominent writers
- personal experience

Slide 2 - Slide

What do you remember from Old English?

Slide 3 - Mind map

Anglo-Saxon Britain
- Different small kingdoms
- Wars between the kingdoms 
- Viking invasions and Danelaw

- development of Old English also known as Anglo-Saxon English
- Beowulf, the epic poem

Slide 4 - Slide

Migration of the Peoples

Slide 5 - Slide

Slide 6 - Slide

Middle Ages

Slide 7 - Mind map

The Middle English Period: 1066-1500

Slide 8 - Slide

The Middle English Period
  • 1066-1485: (later) Medieval England
  • The Norman Conquest 
  • Social change: the feudal system
  • A long war in France: the Hundred Years' War (1337-1453)
  • A bloody war at home: the Wars of the Roses (1455-1485)
  • 1485: beginning of the Tudor Period
  • Linguistic change: a new language

Slide 9 - Slide

William the Conqueror

Slide 10 - Slide

Norman Conquest

Slide 11 - Slide

Middle English (1) - History
  • 1066 - c. 1300: two languages side by side
  • Norman French: language of court, government, the law and trade
  • Old English: language of the common people (peasants, townspeople)
  • the two slowly merge into one language
  • c. 1300: Middle English
  • c. 1480: towards (Early) Modern English

Slide 12 - Slide

English - Lots of “French” influences:​

- Germanic endings were lost​
- About 10.000 French words were added ​
- Aristocracy spoke French (beef instead of cow)​
- Pronunciation changed​
Grammar changed (f.e. word order)

Slide 13 - Slide

Slide 14 - Video

Which language was spoken at court?

Slide 15 - Quiz

feudal system
the Nobility 

the Clergy - Church

the Commoners

Slide 16 - Slide

- ballads: story in simple language about betrayal, lost love, revenge and death. Short sentences and repetition
- romances: an English-language story about chivalrous adventures and romantic love, in verse form

Slide 17 - Slide


Sir Patrick Spens - Unknown Arthur
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight - unknown author
The Canterbury Tales (Wife of Bath) - Geoffrey Chaucer

Slide 18 - Slide

Sir Patrick Spens

- Ballad about the loss of a ship full of nobles returning from a royal wedding in Norway in 1281

Slide 19 - Slide

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
- Celebrated Romance - Late 14th century
- Lifestyle of the French aristocracy and French romances
- The story is derived largely from French Arthurian tales
- About a knight dressed in Green who challenges Arthur's knights, and Sir Gawain is willing to take up the challenge

Slide 20 - Slide

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
For he was clad all in green, with a straight coat, and a mantle above; all decked and lined with fur was the cloth and the hood that was thrown back from his locks and lay on his shoulders. Hose had he of the same green, and spurs of bright gold with silken fastenings richly worked; and all his vesture was verily green. Around his waist and his saddle were bands with fair stones set upon silken work, 'twere too long to tell of all the trifles that were embroidered thereon–birds and insects in gay gauds of green and gold.

Slide 21 - Slide

Slide 22 - Video

The Canterbury Tales - Geoffrey Chaucer (1343-1400)
“The Father of English Literature”​
- He wrote in the vernacular, the speech of the common people​
- Chaucer in the film A Knight’s Tale: pay attention to the way he talks, how he plays with words and what he says!

Slide 23 - Slide

Slide 24 - Video

The Canterbury Tales 
The framing device for the collection of stories is a pilgrimage to the shrine of Thomas Becket in Canterbury, Kent. The 30 pilgrims who undertake the journey gather at the Tabard Inn in Southwark, across the Thames from London. They agree to engage in a storytelling contest as they travel, and Harry Bailly, host of the Tabard, serves as master of ceremonies for the contest. 

Slide 25 - Slide

The Wife of Bath's Tale
The tale concerns a knight accused of rape, whose life shall be spared if in one year he discovers what women most desire. He eventually turns to an ugly old witch who promises him the answer that will save his life if he will do the first thing she asks of him. The answer—that it is “maistrie,” or sovereignty over men, that women desire—is accepted in court, and the witch then demands that the knight marry her. In bed she asks him if he would wish her ugly yet faithful or beautiful and faithless. He insists the choice must be hers. This concession of her mastery restores her youth and beauty, and they live happily ever after.

Slide 26 - Slide

Sir Patrick Spens is a

Slide 27 - Quiz

The Canterbury Tales
was all written in French
is a frame story
is a good representation of commoners only
was written by the Archbishop of Canterbury

Slide 28 - Quiz

Personal experience
- courteous love such as in A Knight's Tale
- influences of all the different languages on the English language

Slide 29 - Slide

Slide 30 - Slide

• Anonymous, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Trans. Jessie Weston, https://d.lib.rochester.edu/camelot/text/weston-sir-gawain-and-the-green-knight . Retrieved from the World Wide Web on 13 October 2022.
• Anonymous, Sir Patrick Spens, The Guardian: poem of the week. Poem of the week: Sir Patrick Spens | Poetry | The Guardian, retrieved from the World Wide Web on 13 October 2022.
• Augustyn, Adam. The Canterbury Tales: work by Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales | Summary, Characters, & Facts | Britannica, retrieved from the World Wide Web on 13 Oktober 2022.
• The Middle Ages – English version, Alquin: Literature, pp.18-
• Kuiper, Kathleen. The Canterbury Tales: work by Chaucer, The Wife of Bath’s Tale. The Wife of Bath’s Tale | story by Chaucer | Britannica, retrieved from the World Wide Web on 13 October, 2022.

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