Animal vocalization and human polyglossia in Walter of Bibbesworth’s thirteenth-century domestic treatise in Anglo-Norman French and Middle English

William Sayers


Walter of Bibbesworth’s late thirteenth-century versified treatise on French vocabulary relevant to the management of estates in Britain has the first extensive list of animal vocalizations in a European vernacular. Many of the Anglo-Norman French names for animals and their sounds are glossed in Middle English, inviting both diachronic and synchronic views of the capacity of these languages for onomatopoetic formation and reflection on the interest of these social and linguistic communities in zoosemiotics.

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SIGN SYSTEMS STUDIES. ISSN 1406-4243 (print), 1736-7409 (online). E-mail: Postal address: Sign Systems Studies, Dept. of Semiotics, University of Tartu, Jakobi St. 2, 51014 Tartu, Estonia