chaucer

 

On this day 617 years ago, my favourite author of all time passed away. Geoffrey Chaucer is known to many people simply because they are forced to attempt to read his old English tomes during high school, but I find this sad. I have loved Chaucer ever since my mother gave me a puffin translation when I was very young. Growing up I delved further into the stories and the language and nothing makes me happier, I even collect antique versions of his tales, beautifully decorated treasures hidden on the shelves of dusty antique shops.

We often attribute Shakespeare with the invention of a lot of words but we need to look to Chaucer for the introduction of many too. With Chaucer, we cannot definitely say he invented words, however there are over 2000 words we can attest to him. In fact, one word which is attested to him is ‘autumn’, so it seems entirely appropriate for him to have lost his life during the season. Here are a few more nature related words which we still use today that we can thank Chaucer for first putting into print:

Horizon
Howl
Quack
Riverside
Foal
Swarm
Plumage
Falconer
Fur
Squirrel
Wood
Robin
Fawn
Blossom
Galaxy
Universe
Wildness
Hazelwood

So next time you are reading a piece of prose or poetry that talks about furry fawns frolicking in the blossoming wood whilst ducks quack at the waterside on the horizon, think about the Father of English Literature and how if it weren’t for him, so much of our beautiful language could have been lost.

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