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  • Print publication year: 1975
  • Online publication date: January 2010



This book treats the Old French of northern France and England as a language in its own right. A knowledge of Latin is not essential, and this work can even be used by medieval scholars who may not be versed in French.

Exercises with a key have been added to the first chapters for illustration and practice; word-lists are given for convenience, but further words will be found in the glossary.

Old French phrases used as examples have been selected where possible for their clarity and general interest. Variant forms have at times been normalised, especially in earlier chapters; translations where added are fairly literal. Three Old French passages have been included for further study.

The norms and rules suggested here have been carefully checked against original texts. All the same they can only provide a rough guide, since Old French was a living, fluctuating language, and the written word could vary according to the year, the region, or the whim of the scribe.

I gratefully acknowledge my debt to the scholars whose works are recorded in the bibliography, and to many others. In particular I would like to thank Professor D. J. A. Ross and Dr C. A. Robson for their interest and valuable advice.

It is hoped that this work will encourage many students to enjoy Old French literature, which is rich and varied, a vivid reflection of the life and thought of the medieval world.