Al þe comonys with o voys atonys: Multilingual Latin and Vernacular Voice in Piers Plowman.
Somerset seeks to demonstrate that L’s juxtaposition of different varieties of Latin, each specific to a given social institution and form of education or training, is in part (like so many aspects of his linguistic usage) a form of social commentary. In L’s verse, as in his cultural milieu, Latin and vernacular are not distinct and mutually unintelligible, but mingle and interpenetrate in terms of both meaning and function, even for speakers and readers with no formal training in Latin. In presenting this argument, this essay examines the B Prologue’s Coronation scene in terms of the Latin idioms and poetic forms as well as the sources on which it draws and suggests that this episode is perhaps L’s fullest exploration of the possibilities multilingual poetry might offer.
YLS, 19 (2005), 107–36.