Piers Plowman Tutorial Website

Welcome to the Piers Plowman tutorial website, which will guide you through Passus XVIII of the B-text of Langland's poem. This site is designed as a teaching aid, for students to work with in private, in order to improve their skills at translating Middle English. The text used is not, for copyright reasons, the text to be used in the examination. The examination text is Piers Plowman: A Critical Edition of the B-Text, ed. A. V. C. Schmidt, second edition (London, 1995). This text differs in significant detail from the text used on this site. For examination purposes, the edition of Schmidt should be consulted. The kinds of information provided on the website are listed below, together with instructions on how to access that information. For further information on vocabulary, students should consult the Middle English Dictionary, which is online through the Middle English Compendium on the website of the Cambridge University Library (if using the university network). Students can also consult the Oxford English Dictionary, also available online.
Vocabulary: Glossed words are displayed in bold. To call up a definition of a Middle English word, move the cursor over it and the gloss will appear in a small box next to that word. Words which are both glossed and parsed grammatically are displayed as bold blue hyperlinks.
Grammar: Grammatical information is displayed in a separate layer at the foot of the screen and can be accessed by clicking on individual words in the main text. Within that layer are other levels: grammatical paradigms (i.e. examples of typical patterns) can be accessed by clicking on blue hypertext links; a glossary of grammatical terms can be accessed by positioning the cursor over an underlined term (underlining simply in black) and waiting for a text bubble to appear.
Latin: Translations of the Latin phrases are provided in italics to the right of the main text.
Syntax: For help with the syntax of whole sentences or phrases, rather than simply the grammar of individual words, click on the 'N' icon to the left of the main text. A suggested translation will then appear at the foot of the screen.
You will soon familiarise yourself with all the different levels and techniques needed if you take a few minutes to explore the site for yourself. Then you will be ready to begin studying. So CLICK HERE to start now. Please note that the webpage takes a few seconds to download, so please be patient! Please also note that the webpage is best viewed on a PC machine, not an Apple Macintosh. Some of the links, notably those to grammatical terms definitions, will not display on Macintosh machines.

The original dialect of the poem is likely to have been that of South West Worcestershire; the poem was, however, copied by scribes from many other areas and the dialect of the text used here is characteristic of London.


Last updated: 30 July 2003
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