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Latin in Medieval Britain$
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Richard Ashdowne and Carolinne White

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780197266083

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197266083.001.0001

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From Chronicles to Customs Accounts: The Uses of Latin in the Long 14th Century

From Chronicles to Customs Accounts: The Uses of Latin in the Long 14th Century

(p.85) 4 From Chronicles to Customs Accounts: The Uses of Latin in the Long 14th Century
Latin in Medieval Britain

Wendy R. Childs

British Academy

The 14th century continued to see a predominantly trilingual society in England, with a number of vernaculars used alongside English, French, and Latin. Latin was the most widely written language and its use in the church, scholarship, and administration provides an immense range of Latin sources for the medievalist, from the highly literary to the practical. This chapter focuses on chronicles and customs accounts for shipping. The chroniclers consciously used classical styles, vocabulary, and quotations, while nonetheless incorporating the changes inevitably occurring in a living language. The customs collectors used plain, often formulaic, Latin and introduced vernaculars, but always within an accurate Latin matrix. Together they illustrate the range of content, style, and vocabulary found in 14th-century Latin sources.

Keywords:   chronicles, customs accounts, Latin, shipping, vernaculars

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