ME pronunciation: Reading Chaucer

 

Assume that every letter counts: // is still around, /ŋg/ hasnt become /η/, and you pronounce the <i> in words ending in <-ion>

 

<Knyght> /knɪt/

<yonge> /jUŋg*/

<specially> /spεsjali/

<condicioun> /kɔndisiun/

 

Except perhaps for word-initial /h/ in French words!

<hostelrye> /ɔsətlriə/

 

There are some systematic differences with the short vowels

 

<er> is /ɛr/, not /ər/ (/r/ does weird things to the preceding vowel, cf. university and varsity, person and parson)

 

<vertu> /vɛrty/

<erly> /ɛrli/

 

/U/ (OE <u>, ME <o> or <u>) is still rounded in words like come

 

<come> /kUm/

<yonge> /jUŋgə/

 


Remember that long vowels are pronounced very differently

 

-havent gone through the Great Vowel Shift

-like modern European languages / the IPA symbols:

-basically, space /ɑ:/, seke /e/, ryse /i/, soote /o/, flour /u/

 

So, long <a> /a:/ roughly as in father, car

<bathed> /ba:əd/

<made> /ma:də/

<take> /ta:kə/

 

And <ay> is lower too: roughly /i/

<day> /di/

<lay> /li/

 

There are 2 long es: one from OE /e/ and /eo/, often PDE /e/, later spelled <ee>

<slepen> /slepən/

<seke> /sekə/

<degree> /dəgre/

 

And one from the OE <:> that ends up as PDE <ea>

In ME, its pronounced like a long version of the e in pet: /ɛ:/, to be spelled <ea>

 

<breeth> /brɛ:θ/

<heeth> /hɛ:θ/

<seson> /sɛ:zun/

 


ME long <i,y> /i/:

<shires> /irəz/

<ryse> /rizə/

<devyse> /dəvizə/

 

ME long <o> /o/:

<soote> /sotə/

<roote> /rotə/

 

ME long <ou> /u/:

<shoures> /urəz/

<flour> /flur/

<resoun> /rɛzun/

 

 

Online readings:

 

http://academics.vmi.edu/english/audio/audio_index.html

 

http://pages.towson.edu/duncan/chaucer/indexn.htm