‘Fause Frenche Enough’

Anny Crunelle-Vanrigh
  • January 2015, John Benjamins
  • DOI: 10.1075/bct.73.04cru

What is it about?

The bilingual language lesson scene in Shakespeare’s Henry V has attracted more critical attention for its sexual innuendoes than for its dramatic and linguistic forms, and its political significance. Formally, the scene is closely modeled on early modern language primers. Theatrically, its garbled spelling of French may be identified as a phonetic guide for the stage players. Linguistically, its allegedly faulty French is actually in line not with continental but with Anglo French as it was evolved after the Norman Conquest. This choice contributes to the heightened political significance of the scene in a play chronicling the process that took the French tongue from authority to disempowerment.

Why is it important?

The essay offers fresh perspectives on the nature and the uses of French in Shakespeare's Henry V, departing from previous readings of Shakespeare's faulty knowledge of the language.

The following have contributed to this page: Pr Anny Crunelle-Vanrigh