The latinity of the Wycliffite Psalters

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The objective of the paper is to re-evaluate the claims reiterated in the literature on the Wycliffite Bible concerning the etymological make-up of the text(s). The Wycliffite Bible, or - rather - its two versions, are late 14th-century Middle English renditions from Latin, commonly regarded as either replete with Latinisms or at least heavily dependent on Latin in terms of vocabulary. These claims, however, have thus far not been corroborated by any evidence. The paper will endeavour to fill this gap by means of an analysis that will focus on the nominal layer of a selected portion of the text(s), i.e. the first fifty Psalms. It will investigate the etymological make-up of each Psalter independently (as they do diverge intermittently) yet always with reference to the Latin source text. This procedure enables one to compare exclusively those lexical items which can be classified as nominal equivalents in all three versions, i.e. the Latin text and the two Wycliffite Psalters. The choice of nouns for this purpose is important due to the tendency among languages to borrow nouns more frequently than items of any other grammatical category. This phenomenon renders the nominal component of the texts the most suitable to vividly illustrate the extent of the presence of Latinisms in the Wycliffite Psalters.
etymology, Latin, loanword, Psalter, Wycliffite, etymologia, łacina, zapożyczenia, Psałterz, Wycliffe
Language change : faces and facets, red. M. Charzyńska-Wójcik, J. Wójcik, A. Bloch-Rozmej, Lublin 2014, s. 129-171