ME pronunciation: Reading Chaucer


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


<Knyght> /knIt/

<yonge> /jUηg*/

<specially> /spεsjali/

<condicioun> /k)ndisiun/


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

<hostelrye> /)st*lri*/


There are some systematic differences with the short vowels


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


<vertu> /vεrty/

<erly> /εrli/


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


<come> /kUm/

<yonge> /jUηg*/


Remember that long vowels are pronounced very differently

-havent gone through the Great Vowel Shift

-like modern European languages / the IPA symbols:

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


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

<bathed> /ba:*d/

<made> /ma:d*/

<take> /ta:k*/


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

<day> /di/

<lay> /li/


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


<slepen> /slep*n/

<seke> /sek*/

<degree> /d*gre/


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

In ME, its pronounced like a long version of the e in pet: /ε:/


<breeth> /br ε:θ/

<heeth> /h ε:θ/

<seson> /s ε:zun/


ME long <i,y> /i/:

<shires> /ir*z/

<ryse> /riz*/

<devyse> /d*viz*/


ME long <o> /o/:

<soote> /sot*/

<roote> /rot*/


ME long <ou> /u/:

<shoures> /ur*z/

<flour> /flur/

<resoun> /rεzun/