Germanic and French adjectives in The Canterbury Tales How are etymologically different adjectives used in the General Prologue of the Canterbury Tales?
The aim of this paper is to investigate how etymologically different adjectives are used in the General Prologue of "The Canterbury Tales". Are etymologically French adjectives used for people of higher society and are therefore the Germanic ones reserved for the people of a lower social class? In Order to find out, "The Canterbury Tales" was read in its original 14th century language and the adjectives were taken out and investigated. The etymology of the adjectives were researched and subsequently composed on each character, after which I compared the individual results with each other. The conclusion of this investigation is that Chaucer definitely used adjectives with French etymology for certain people, however the usage of them has nothing to do with social class. Instead he simply used the most appropriate adjectives in order to create nuanced and rich characters and sometimes satire. He must therefore have been aware and knowledgeable of the etymology of the adjectives, but utilized that not in order to reflect class but to differentiate between the characters and their individual personalities.