De incolarum linguis. Capitulum quinquagesimum nonum.
As it is i-knowe how meny manere peple beeþ in þis ilond, þere beeþ also so many dyuers*. [dyuers] om. α. and Cx.] longages and tonges; noþeles Walsche men and Scottes, þat beeþ nouȝt i-medled*. [melled beþ, α.] wiþ oþer naciouns, holdeþ wel nyh*. [kepe neygh yet, Cx.] hir firste longage and speche; but ȝif the*. [yet tho, Cx.] Scottes þat were somtyme confederat and wonede wiþ Page 159, vol.2 þe Pictes drawe somwhat after hir speche; but þe Flemmynges þat woneþ in þe weste side of Wales haueþ i-left her straunge speche and spekeþ Saxonliche i-now.*. [speken lyke to Saxons, Cx.] Also Englische men, þey [þei]*. [þei] added from α. and Cx.] hadde from the bygynnynge þre manere speche, nor|þerne,*. [souþorn, norþorn, α.] sowþerne, and middel speche in þe myddel of þe lond, as þey come of þre manere peple of Germania, noþeles by comyxtioun and mellynge firste wiþ Danes and afterward wiþ Normans, in meny*. [many thynges, Cx.] þe contray longage is apayred, and som vseþ straunge*. [So α. and Cx.; strong, MS.] wlafferynge,*. [wlaffyng, Cx.] chiterynge, harrynge, and garrynge grisbayting.*. [grysbitynge, α., Cx.] This apayrynge of þe burþe of þe*. [of þe] om. α.; appayrynge of the langage, Cx.] tunge is bycause of tweie þinges; oon is for children in scole aȝenst þe vsage and manere of alle oþere naciouns beeþ compelled for to leue hire owne langage, and for to construe hir lessouns and here þynges in Frensche, and so þey haueþ seþ*. [seþþe þe, α.] þe Normans come first in to Engelond.*. [Sentence much varied in Cx] Also gentil men children beeþ i-tauȝt to*. [forto, α.] speke Frensche from þe tyme þat þey beeþ i-rokked in here cradel, and kunneþ speke and playe wiþ a childes broche; and vplondisshe men wil likne hym self to gentil men, and fondeþ wiþ greet besynesse for to speke Frensce, for to be i-tolde of.*. [Sentence abbreviated and much varied in Cx.]Treuisa. Þis manere was moche i-vsed to for firste Page 161, vol.2 deth*. [to fore þe firste moreyn, α.] and is siþþe sumdel i-chaunged; for Iohn*. [Sir Iohan, Cx.; who greatly varies the remainder of the extract from Trevisa.] Cornwaile, a maister of grammer,*. [gramyre, α.] chaunged þe lore in gramer scole and construccioun of Frensche in to Englische; and Richard Pen|criche lerned þe*. [þat, α.] manere techynge of hym and of*. [of] om. α.] oþere men of Pencrich; so þat now, þe ȝere of oure Lorde a þowsand þre hundred and foure score and fyue, and of þe secounde kyng Richard after þe conquest nyne, in alle*. [in al, α.; and alle, MS.] þe gramere scoles of Engelond, children leueþ Frensche and construeþ and lerneþ an Englische, and haueþ þerby auauntage in oon side and disauauntage in anoþer side; here auauntage is, þat þey lerneþ her gramer in lasse tyme þan children were i-wo|ned to doo; disauauntage is þat now children of gramer scole conneþ*. [So α.; comeþ, MS.] na more Frensche þan can hir lift heele, and þat is harme for hem and þey schulle passe þe see and trauaille in straunge landes and in many oþer places. Also gentil men haueþ now moche i-left for to teche here children Frensche. ℞. Hit semeþ a greet wonder how Englische, [þat is þe burþe tonge of Englisshe]*. [Added from α.] men and her owne langage and tonge, is so dyuerse of sown*. [soun, α.] in þis oon ilond, and þe langage of Normandie is comlynge of anoþer londe, and hath oon manere soun among alle men þat spekeþ hit ariȝt in Engelond.*. [Cx. amplifies the sentence thus: "And the langage of Normandye is comen oute of another lond, and hath one maner soune among al men that speketh it in Englond; for a man of Kente, southern, western, and northern men speken Frensshe al lyke in sowne and speche; but they can not speke theyr Englyssh so."]Treuisa. Neuerþeles þere is as many dyuers manere Frensche in þe reem of Fraunce as is dyuers manere Englische in þe reem of Engelond. ℞. Also of þe forsaide Saxon tonge þat is i-deled aþre, and is abide scarsliche wiþ fewe vplondisshe Page 163, vol.2 men is greet wonder; for men of þe est wiþ men of þe west,*. [west is, MS. (not α.).] as it were vndir þe same partie of heuene, acordeþ more in sownynge of speche þan men of þe norþ wiþ men of þe souþ; þerfore it is þat Mercii, þat beeþ men of myddel Enge|lond, as it were parteners of þe endes, vnderstondeþ bettre þe side langages, norþerne and souþerne, þan norþerne and souþ|erne vnderstondeþ eiþer oþer.*. [Sentence slightly varied in Cx.]Willelmus de Pontificibus, libro tertio. Al þe longage of þe Norþhumbres, and specialliche at ȝork, is so scharp, slitting, and frotynge and vnschape, þat we souþerne men may þat longage vnneþe vnderstonde. I trowe þat þat is bycause þat þey beeþ nyh to straunge men and naciouns*. [aliens, α. β.] þat spekeþ strongliche,*. [straungleliche, β. and Cx.; which seems right, but the extract from William is so altered, that Caxton's critical authority is here very slight.] and also bycause þat þe kynges of Engelond woneþ alwey fer from þat cuntrey; for þey beeþ more i-torned to þe souþ contray, and ȝif þey*. [he, α. β.] gooþ to þe norþ contray þey gooþ wiþ greet [help]*. [Added from α.] and strengþe. Þe cause why þey beeþ more in þe souþ contrey þan in þe norþ, [is] for hit*. [for hit] om. α. β.; is by cause that ther is, Cx.] may be better corne londe, more peple, more noble citees, and more profitable hauenes.