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제목 : Margery Kempe’s English: “Her Own Language” vs. “Their Own Language”
- 저자 : 강지수    - 조회수 : 855  - Download : 20
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This essay brings attention to the scenes of cross-linguistic communication between speakers of different vernacular languages in The Book of Margery Kempe. It explores what Margery’s interlinguistic ventures reveal about how the Book imagines Margery’s own “choice” of language for her text and the performance of her textual authority. In the process, it argues that Margery’s assertions throughout the text of her linguistic Englishness, that is her identity as an English speaker, has profoundly important ramifications for the linguistic medium of her book. The English language, in which consequently the Book is written down, is portrayed through the episodes of language contact as a distinctive language of her own, comparable to, and in some ways even better than Latin, which is the expected language of a saint’s life the Book aspires to be but never becomes. The Book demonstrates how successful communication is achieved during her travels in Jerusalem and Rome between the purportedly monolingual, English-speaker Margery and foreigners through comownyng in a common tongue. In contrast to an exchange with Latin speakers, Margery’s linguistic exchanges with speakers of other vernacular languages are ultimately pleasant, unifying, and even redeeming. English competency, when deliberately foregrounded in a literary work in the later Middle Ages, likely encompasses strategic importance especially for a figure such as Margery who has lived and travelled a good part of her life in multilingual settings. Margery’s assertions of Englishness are examined in this broad social context as well as in more specific situations described in the Book. The mundane as well as miraculous linguistic interactions that Margery engages in are interesting in themselves because they reveal Margery’s linguistic and cultural sensibility that have not been noticed widely but also because they constitute the drama of her authorization of English to functionally replace Latin. This essay attempts to contribute to the burgeoning discussion of language contact and conflict in the later Middle Ages by recognizing Margery’s sense of English that is simultaneously quite traditional and fascinatingly singular.


▸Key Words: Margery Kempe, The Book of Margery Kempe, the English language, cross-linguistic communication, language contact, common tongue, the vernacular language, textual authorization, England as multilingual


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