HISTORICAL MULTILINGUALISM ANALYSIS – SIR JOHN FORTESCUE’S “THE GOVERNANCE OF ENGLAND” (Term Paper Sample)
The paper required examining the multilingualism aspects in a historical text (The Governance of England) by Sir John Fortescue using a tool called LancsBox.source..
HISTORICAL MULTILINGUALISM ANALYSIS – SIR JOHN FORTESCUE’S “THE GOVERNANCE OF ENGLAND”
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Historical Multilingualism Analysis – Sir John Fortescue’s “The Governance of England”
Multilingualism has been a critical aspect of the communication structures established in various societies. Cultures and communities across the UK have always exhibited the ability of an individual or a group of people to communicate effectively in more than two languages. Usually, multilingualism is designed in the communication devices initiated at an individual’s or community’s exposure to surrounding languages. Nonetheless, multilingual societies are characterised by the base language, usually dominated in cultural devices, and two or more other languages. The continued integrations among cultures have led to the development of multilingual systems across the country, resulting in most people speaking at least two languages (Khanina and Meyerhoff 2018). The potency of advancing to multilingualism is predicated, chiefly, on these bilingual systems. Therefore, a person that has been raised in a bilingual culture is more likely to learn a third language, rendering them multilingual. These systems have been apparent from the inception and development of languages in the country. Understanding the source of multilingualism in the Old English era is a step closer to explicating the variants exhibited in modern society. This paper will identify different phenomena of multilingualism in Sir John Fortescue’s collection of political views in “The Governance of England.”
Results and Analysis
The data selected includes a text published at Oxford’s Clarendon Press encapsulating the recordings of John Fortescue, a Chief Justice of the King’s Bench. The data includes a series of political arguments regarding the British monarchy and its history, written between 1394 and 1476. Particularly, this paper analyses multilingualism in the book’s second chapter. Here, John explicates the two main distinctions between royal dominion (dominium regale) and political and royal dominion (dominium politicum et regale) in respect to the then England statute and monarchy. Throughout the text, the author exhibits conversational code-switching by employing more than two languages to deliver his arguments and elucidations of the subject matter. Context is usually regarded as the most important aspect when analysing multilingualism employed in it (Oliver and Mikelenić 2020). For example, a significant number of texts published in Old English addressed diplomacy concerns, hence the need to switch their codes (Sebba 2013). This analysis, therefore, will explicate the context of the selected text to determine the necessity and reason for the multilingualism that it exhibits. LancsBox was used in analysing the selected section of the text to demystify various multilingualism aspects.
The purpose of the textual analysis of John Fortescue’s text is to elucidate how the words are integrated into a string form, rather than its mere visual or graphic elements. The part of the text exhibits various elements of multilingualism. First, there is a substantial usage of sequences, especially one-word phases (1-Ngram) and two-word phrases (2-Ngram). Figure 1 illustrates these results for the selected text.
Figure SEQ Figure \* ARABIC 1. 2-Ngram analysis of the text.
As shown above, the most repeated two-word strings are “a kynge” and “in his”, each having a frequency of four. The overall corpus rate is 403 per 10,000 words. The author has thus employed a substantial amount of parallelism throughout the chapter. Parallel units have helped combine language variants to convey the intended message objectively. For example, the author combines Elizabethan English with Latin to portray the conjunction of his message to the target audience. Latin has been used across multiple fields alongside English due to several reasons. First, most works produced between 1400 to 1500 derived their motivations from law and religious texts, which were originally written in Latin. Second, the development of literature has been inherently bilingual with occasional multilingual systems.
Additionally, the text shows a significant pattern of wording, based on LancsBox’s lemmatised bigram list. Figure 2 illustrates these patterns as they appear in the text.
Figure SEQ Figure \* ARABIC 2. Word-pattern analysis
The word “and” appears more than any other word in the text, with a frequency of 20. The author also displays a considerable repetition of “that” and “the”, indicating that the text is primarily English and only borrows a few vocabularies for other languages.
Fortescue (1885) has employed multilingualism by encapsulating various bilingual and multilingual elements. The text reflects the literacies and languages of the community to which it is addressed. Notably, the author was addressing various Germanic tribes from whom the English language sparked. Most of these tribes encompassed Angles, Jutes, and Saxon, who had earlier interacted with the Latin-speaking Roman empire. Therefore, in its earlier conception, the Old English contained various Latin colocations and phrases, most of which have been permanently absorbed into the language today (Baumgart and Billick 2018; Goossens 2019). The text also includes several Cognates of German, skilfully incorporated into the text to enrich the text. The virtual and textual presence of these languages greatly influenced the development of a vast array of political and religious works developed in the Middle Ages. Fortescue explicitly displays these amalgamations of various languages into one, through one of his most articulated texts.
Further, it is prudent to note that a significant segment of the text entails the incorporation of the Latin adopted from the religious movements across Europe. Catholic missionaries were instrumental in the spread of Latin religious terms, which were later accepted as part of the common language usage in England (Bianco 2020). The combination of these words and phrasing created an important pattern, as indicated in the Lemmalised version of the text below.
Figure SEQ Figure \* ARABIC 3. Lemmalised text showing the patterns.
Fortescue’s use of parallelism is unmistakably evident throughout the text not only through single or two-gram patterns but also three-word patterns (3-Ngrams). There exist more than 10 three-word strings, including examples such as “politicum et regate” and “reigned vppon thaim” (Fortescue 1885, p.109). Notably, these strings are dominantly Latin-English combinations, which is expectedly a non-trivial adaptation of the society multilingualism development. The readers of the text at the time of its development were a mixture of various multilingual attributions of language and culture as a whole.
Importantly, Fortescue’s text exhibits an important distinction between written and spoken text in Old English. Luxemburgish dominates the spoken functions of multilingualism in medieval England (Purschke 2020). However, the written forms have always adopted French, Latin, and German variants. This observation is particularly the case in the selected text as it enkindles Latin and German throughout the writing. Luxemburgish was for a long time banned in literary contexts (Raos 2018). The text is also written to enhance translation by conjoining languages constructively for the intended purpose of communicating political and religious aspects of the England monarchy. It is worth noting that the book has since been translated to several languages internationally for its iconic elucidation of governance. The author has also attempted to employ a 4-Ngram string of the text (see Figure 4) to delve deeper into his multilingualism. The phrase “that reigned vppon thaim” has been used twice to stress the distinction between dominium regale and dominium politicum et regale.
Figure SEQ Figure \* ARABIC 4. 4-Ngram analysis of the text
Further, the text reveals a significant application of contrastive linguistics by coherently demonstrating family relations among cognate languages. The author’s adaptation of English, Latin, and German, among other languages, illustrates the historical developments of these languages in the Middle Ages as well as the dawn of human civilisation. The work has been instrumental in showing the distinction between languages in their ex
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