Dialect and Grammar.
Recapitulates and extends the researches of Samuels, “Langland’s Dialect,” MAE 54 (1985): 232-47 (for which see YLS 1 :170). Notes that WL used heo, sche and a for “she” (heo a western form) and he and a for “he. ” Alliteration and relict forms suggest for third person plural _ei and hij, as to be expected in S. Worcestershire, a border area between Midlands heo and hy. WL is likely to have made some use of grammatical -e. In Chaucer’s London English, -e_ (third sing. pres. indicative) was virtually replaced by -en, but in S. Worcestershire this did not occur until after WL was dead. WL is also more conservative than Chaucer in certain verb-forms, e.g., the survival of older metathesized forms for “run”; survival of the ending -ye, ie (from CIE -ian class); retention of double consonants in infinitive and present stems of habbe(n), libben, etc. But WL’s use of the negative is more progressive than Chaucer’s: whereas the latter retains the older ne … nat and ne … no3t construction, WL normally uses the simple nau3t or not.