Representations of French linguistic borrowing in early modern England
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- Student papers (HF-IKS) 
This thesis examines the early modern debates surrounding the incorporation of French loanwords into the English vocabulary through an analysis of the prefaces of a variety of early modern English dictionaries and a selection of Restoration plays, political pamphlets and periodical essays. It considers the long seventeenth century, starting with Robert Cawdrey’s dictionary of ‘hard words’, A Table Alphabeticall (1604) and ending with Samuel Johnson’s A Dictionary of the English Language (1755). The thesis is not concerned with whether particular words are in fact French loans, nor with the chronology of their usage, but rather examines the debates surrounding linguistic borrowing identified as French by contemporaries. Neither is the emphasis on the actual words themselves, as much as on the attitudes towards their use and the portrayal of those that use them. The thesis analyses the representation of French linguistic borrowing in three domains of discourse (dictionaries, Restoration satire, political pamphlets and periodical essays), paying particular attention to the metaphors and images that are employed in these representations. Taking into consideration ideas of linguistic purism and language corruption, it explores how representations of French borrowing can be situated within a larger historical context of English nation building and fluctuating Anglo-French relations.
Master's thesis in Literacy studies