Monday, July 31, 2017

Canterbury Tales-Second Year University Students!

Canterbury Tales- Plot Overview
General Prologue
At the Tabard Inn, a tavern in Southwark, near London, the narrator joins a company of twenty-nine pilgrims. The pilgrims, like the narrator, are traveling to the shrine of the martyr Saint Thomas Becket in Canterbury. The narrator gives a descriptive account of twenty-seven of these pilgrims, including a Knight, Squire, Yeoman, Prioress, Monk, Friar, Merchant, Clerk, Man of Law, Franklin, Haberdasher, Carpenter, Weaver, Dyer, Tapestry-Weaver, Cook, Shipman, Physician, Wife, Parson, Plowman, Miller, Manciple, Reeve, Summoner, Pardoner, and Host. (He does not describe the Second Nun or the Nun’s Priest, although both characters appear later in the book.) The Host, whose name, we find out in the Prologue to the Cook’s Tale, is Harry Bailey, suggests that the group ride together and entertain one another with stories. He decides that each pilgrim will tell two stories on the way to Canterbury and two on the way back. Whomever he judges to be the best storyteller will receive a meal at Bailey’s tavern, courtesy of the other pilgrims. The pilgrims draw lots and determine that the Knight will tell the first tale.
The Knight’s Tale
Theseus, duke of Athens, imprisons Arcite and Palamon, two knights from Thebes (another city in ancient Greece). From their prison, the knights see and fall in love with Theseus’s sister-in-law, Emelye. Through the intervention of a friend, Arcite is freed, but he is banished from Athens. He returns in disguise and becomes a page in Emelye’s chamber. Palamon escapes from prison, and the two meet and fight over Emelye. Theseus apprehends them and arranges a tournament between the two knights and their allies, with Emelye as the prize. Arcite wins, but he is accidentally thrown from his horse and dies. Palamon then marries Emelye.
The Miller’s Prologue and Tale
The Host asks the Monk to tell the next tale, but the drunken Miller interrupts and insists that his tale should be the next. He tells the story of an impoverished student named Nicholas, who persuades his landlord’s sexy young wife, Alisoun, to spend the night with him. He convinces his landlord, a carpenter named John, that the second flood is coming, and tricks him into spending the night in a tub hanging from the ceiling of his barn. Absolon, a young parish clerk who is also in love with Alisoun, appears outside the window of the room where Nicholas and Alisoun lie together. When Absolon begs Alisoun for a kiss, she sticks her rear end out the window in the dark and lets him kiss it. Absolon runs and gets a red-hot poker, returns to the window, and asks for another kiss; when Nicholas sticks his bottom out the window and farts, Absolon brands him on the buttocks. Nicholas’s cries for water make the carpenter think that the flood has come, so the carpenter cuts the rope connecting his tub to the ceiling, falls down, and breaks his arm.
The Reeve’s Prologue and Tale
Because he also does carpentry, the Reeve takes offense at the Miller’s tale of a stupid carpenter, and counters with his own tale of a dishonest miller. The Reeve tells the story of two students, John and Alayn, who go to the mill to watch the miller grind their corn, so that he won’t have a chance to steal any. But the miller unties their horse, and while they chase it, he steals some of the flour he has just ground for them. By the time the students catch the horse, it is dark, so they spend the night in the miller’s house. That night, Alayn seduces the miller’s daughter, and John seduces his wife. When the miller wakes up and finds out what has happened, he tries to beat the students. His wife, thinking that her husband is actually one of the students, hits the miller over the head with a staff. The students take back their stolen goods and leave.
The Cook’s Prologue and Tale
The Cook particularly enjoys the Reeve’s Tale, and offers to tell another funny tale. The tale concerns an apprentice named Perkyn who drinks and dances so much that he is called “Perkyn Reveler.” Finally, Perkyn’s master decides that he would rather his apprentice leave to revel than stay home and corrupt the other servants. Perkyn arranges to stay with a friend who loves drinking and gambling, and who has a wife who is a prostitute. The tale breaks off, unfinished, after fifty-eight lines.
The Man of Law’s Introduction, Prologue, Tale, and Epilogue
The Host reminds his fellow pilgrims to waste no time, because lost time cannot be regained. He asks the Man of Law to tell the next tale. The Man of Law agrees, apologizing that he cannot tell any suitable tale that Chaucer has not already told—Chaucer may be unskilled as a poet, says the Man of Law, but he has told more stories of lovers than Ovid, and he doesn’t print tales of incest as John Gower does (Gower was a contemporary of Chaucer). In the Prologue to his tale, the Man of Law laments the miseries of poverty. He then remarks how fortunate merchants are, and says that his tale is one told to him by a merchant.
In the tale, the Muslim sultan of Syria converts his entire sultanate (including himself) to Christianity in order to persuade the emperor of Rome to give him his daughter, Custance, in marriage. The sultan’s mother and her attendants remain secretly faithful to Islam. The mother tells her son she wishes to hold a banquet for him and all the Christians. At the banquet, she massacres her son and all the Christians except for Custance, whom she sets adrift in a rudderless ship. After years of floating, Custance runs ashore in Northumberland, where a constable and his wife, Hermengyld, offer her shelter. She converts them to Christianity.
One night, Satan makes a young knight sneak into Hermengyld’s chamber and murder Hermengyld. He places the bloody knife next to Custance, who sleeps in the same chamber. When the constable returns home, accompanied by Alla, the king of Northumberland, he finds his slain wife. He tells Alla the story of how Custance was found, and Alla begins to pity the girl. He decides to look more deeply into the murder. Just as the knight who murdered Hermengyld is swearing that Custance is the true murderer, he is struck down and his eyes burst out of his face, proving his guilt to Alla and the crowd. The knight is executed, Alla and many others convert to Christianity, and Custance and Alla marry.
While Alla is away in Scotland, Custance gives birth to a boy named Mauricius. Alla’s mother, Donegild, intercepts a letter from Custance to Alla and substitutes a counterfeit one that claims that the child is disfigured and bewitched. She then intercepts Alla’s reply, which claims that the child should be kept and loved no matter how malformed. Donegild substitutes a letter saying that Custance and her son are banished and should be sent away on the same ship on which Custance arrived. Alla returns home, finds out what has happened, and kills Donegild.
After many adventures at sea, including an attempted rape, Custance ends up back in Rome, where she reunites with Alla, who has made a pilgrimage there to atone for killing his mother. She also reunites with her father, the emperor. Alla and Custance return to England, but Alla dies after a year, so Custance returns, once more, to Rome. Mauricius becomes the next Roman emperor.
Following the Man of Law’s Tale, the Host asks the Parson to tell the next tale, but the Parson reproaches him for swearing, and they fall to bickering.
The Wife of Bath’s Prologue and Tale
The Wife of Bath gives a lengthy account of her feelings about marriage. Quoting from the Bible, the Wife argues against those who believe it is wrong to marry more than once, and she explains how she dominated and controlled each of her five husbands. She married her fifth husband, Jankyn, for love instead of money. After the Wife has rambled on for a while, the Friar butts in to complain that she is taking too long, and the Summoner retorts that friars are like flies, always meddling. The Friar promises to tell a tale about a summoner, and the Summoner promises to tell a tale about a friar. The Host cries for everyone to quiet down and allow the Wife to commence her tale.
In her tale, a young knight of King Arthur’s court rapes a maiden; to atone for his crime, Arthur’s queen sends him on a quest to discover what women want most. An ugly old woman promises the knight that she will tell him the secret if he promises to do whatever she wants for saving his life. He agrees, and she tells him women want control of their husbands and their own lives. They go together to Arthur’s queen, and the old woman’s answer turns out to be correct. The old woman then tells the knight that he must marry her. When the knight confesses later that he is repulsed by her appearance, she gives him a choice: she can either be ugly and faithful, or beautiful and unfaithful. The knight tells her to make the choice herself, and she rewards him for giving her control of the marriage by rendering herself both beautiful and faithful.
The Friar’s Prologue and Tale
The Friar speaks approvingly of the Wife of Bath’s Tale, and offers to lighten things up for the company by telling a funny story about a lecherous summoner. The Summoner does not object, but he promises to pay the Friar back in his own tale. The Friar tells of an archdeacon who carries out the law without mercy, especially to lechers. The archdeacon has a summoner who has a network of spies working for him, to let him know who has been lecherous. The summoner extorts money from those he’s sent to summon, charging them more money than he should for penance. He tries to serve a summons on a yeoman who is actually a devil in disguise. After comparing notes on their treachery and extortion, the devil vanishes, but when the summoner tries to prosecute an old wealthy widow unfairly, the widow cries out that the summoner should be taken to hell. The devil follows the woman’s instructions and drags the summoner off to hell.
The Summoner’s Prologue and Tale
The Summoner, furious at the Friar’s Tale, asks the company to let him tell the next tale. First, he tells the company that there is little difference between friars and fiends, and that when an angel took a friar down to hell to show him the torments there, the friar asked why there were no friars in hell; the angel then pulled up Satan’s tail and 20,000 friars came out of his ass.
In the Summoner’s Tale, a friar begs for money from a dying man named Thomas and his wife, who have recently lost their child. The friar shamelessly exploits the couple’s misfortunes to extract money from them, so Thomas tells the friar that he is sitting on something that he will bequeath to the friars. The friar reaches for his bequest, and Thomas lets out an enormous fart. The friar complains to the lord of the manor, whose squire promises to divide the fart evenly among all the friars.
The Clerk’s Prologue and Tale
The Host asks the Clerk to cheer up and tell a merry tale, and the Clerk agrees to tell a tale by the Italian poet Petrarch. Griselde is a hardworking peasant who marries into the aristocracy. Her husband tests her fortitude in several ways, including pretending to kill her children and divorcing her. He punishes her one final time by forcing her to prepare for his wedding to a new wife. She does all this dutifully, her husband tells her that she has always been and will always be his wife (the divorce was a fraud), and they live happily ever after.
The Merchant’s Prologue, Tale, and Epilogue
The Merchant reflects on the great difference between the patient Griselde of the Clerk’s Tale and the horrible shrew he has been married to for the past two months. The Host asks him to tell a story of the evils of marriage, and he complies. Against the advice of his friends, an old knight named January marries May, a beautiful young woman. She is less than impressed by his enthusiastic sexual efforts, and conspires to cheat on him with his squire, Damien. When blind January takes May into his garden to copulate with her, she tells him she wants to eat a pear, and he helps her up into the pear tree, where she has sex with Damien. Pluto, the king of the faeries, restores January’s sight, but May, caught in the act, assures him that he must still be blind. The Host prays to God to keep him from marrying a wife like the one the Merchant describes.
The Squire’s Introduction and Tale
The Host calls upon the Squire to say something about his favorite subject, love, and the Squire willingly complies. King Cambyuskan of the Mongol Empire is visited on his birthday by a knight bearing gifts from the king of Arabia and India. He gives Cambyuskan and his daughter Canacee a magic brass horse, a magic mirror, a magic ring that gives Canacee the ability to understand the language of birds, and a sword with the power to cure any wound it creates. She rescues a dying female falcon that narrates how her consort abandoned her for the love of another. The Squire’s Tale is either unfinished by Chaucer or is meant to be interrupted by the Franklin, who interjects that he wishes his own son were as eloquent as the Squire. The Host expresses annoyance at the Franklin’s interruption, and orders him to begin the next tale.
The Franklin’s Prologue and Tale
The Franklin says that his tale is a familiar Breton lay, a folk ballad of ancient Brittany. Dorigen, the heroine, awaits the return of her husband, Arveragus, who has gone to England to win honor in feats of arms. She worries that the ship bringing her husband home will wreck itself on the coastal rocks, and she promises Aurelius, a young man who falls in love with her, that she will give her body to him if he clears the rocks from the coast. Aurelius hires a student learned in magic to create the illusion that the rocks have disappeared. Arveragus returns home and tells his wife that she must keep her promise to Aurelius. Aurelius is so impressed by Arveragus’s honorable act that he generously absolves her of the promise, and the magician, in turn, generously absolves Aurelius of the money he owes.
The Physician’s Tale
Appius the judge lusts after Virginia, the beautiful daughter of Virginius. Appius persuades a churl named Claudius to declare her his slave, stolen from him by Virginius. Appius declares that Virginius must hand over his daughter to Claudius. Virginius tells his daughter that she must die rather than suffer dishonor, and she virtuously consents to her father’s cutting her head off. Appius sentences Virginius to death, but the Roman people, aware of Appius’s hijinks, throw him into prison, where he kills himself.
The Pardoner’s Introduction, Prologue, and Tale
The Host is dismayed by the tragic injustice of the Physician’s Tale, and asks the Pardoner to tell something merry. The other pilgrims contradict the Host, demanding a moral tale, which the Pardoner agrees to tell after he eats and drinks. The Pardoner tells the company how he cheats people out of their money by preaching that money is the root of all evil. His tale describes three riotous youths who go looking for Death, thinking that they can kill him. An old man tells them that they will find Death under a tree. Instead, they find eight bushels of gold, which they plot to sneak into town under cover of darkness. The youngest goes into town to fetch food and drink, but brings back poison, hoping to have the gold all to himself. His companions kill him to enrich their own shares, then drink the poison and die under the tree. His tale complete, the Pardoner offers to sell the pilgrims pardons, and singles out the Host to come kiss his relics. The Host infuriates the Pardoner by accusing him of fraud, but the Knight persuades the two to kiss and bury their differences.
The Shipman’s Tale
The Shipman’s Tale features a monk who tricks a merchant’s wife into having sex with him by borrowing money from the merchant, then giving it to the wife so she can repay her own debt to her husband, in exchange for sexual favors. When the monk sees the merchant next, he tells him that he returned the merchant’s money to his wife. The wife realizes she has been duped, but she boldly tells her husband to forgive her debt: she will repay it in bed. The Host praises the Shipman’s story, and asks the Prioress for a tale.
The Prioress’s Prologue and Tale
The Prioress calls on the Virgin Mary to guide her tale. In an Asian city, a Christian school is located at the edge of a Jewish ghetto. An angelic seven-year-old boy, a widow’s son, attends the school. He is a devout Christian, and loves to sing Alma Redemptoris (Gracious Mother of the Redeemer). Singing the song on his way through the ghetto, some Jews hire a murderer to slit his throat and throw him into a latrine. The Jews refuse to tell the widow where her son is, but he miraculously begins to sing Alma Redemptoris, so the Christian people recover his body, and the magistrate orders the murdering Jews to be drawn apart by wild horses and then hanged.
The Prologue and Tale of Sir Thopas
The Host, after teasing Chaucer the narrator about his appearance, asks him to tell a tale. Chaucer says that he only knows one tale, then launches into a parody of bad poetry—the Tale of Sir Thopas. Sir Thopas rides about looking for an elf-queen to marry until he is confronted by a giant. The narrator’s doggerel continues in this vein until the Host can bear no more and interrupts him. Chaucer asks him why he can’t tell his tale, since it is the best he knows, and the Host explains that his rhyme isn’t worth a turd. He encourages Chaucer to tell a prose tale.
The Tale of Melibee
Chaucer’s second tale is the long, moral prose story of Melibee. Melibee’s house is raided by his foes, who beat his wife, Prudence, and severely wound his daughter, Sophie, in her feet, hands, ears, nose, and mouth. Prudence advises him not to rashly pursue vengeance on his enemies, and he follows her advice, putting his foes’ punishment in her hands. She forgives them for the outrages done to her, in a model of Christian forbearance and forgiveness.
The Monk’s Prologue and Tale
The Host wishes that his own wife were as patient as Melibee’s, and calls upon the Monk to tell the next tale. First he teases the Monk, pointing out that the Monk is clearly no poor cloisterer. The Monk takes it all in stride and tells a series of tragic falls, in which noble figures are brought low: Lucifer, Adam, Sampson, Hercules, Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar, Zenobia, Pedro of Castile, and down through the ages.
The Nun’s Priest’s Prologue, Tale, and Epilogue
After seventeen noble “falls” narrated by the Monk, the Knight interrupts, and the Host calls upon the Nun’s Priest to deliver something more lively. The Nun’s Priest tells of Chanticleer the Rooster, who is carried off by a flattering fox who tricks him into closing his eyes and displaying his crowing abilities. Chanticleer turns the tables on the fox by persuading him to open his mouth and brag to the barnyard about his feat, upon which Chanticleer falls out of the fox’s mouth and escapes. The Host praises the Nun’s Priest’s Tale, adding that if the Nun’s Priest were not in holy orders, he would be as sexually potent as Chanticleer.
The Second Nun’s Prologue and Tale
In her Prologue, the Second Nun explains that she will tell a saint’s life, that of Saint Cecilia, for this saint set an excellent example through her good works and wise teachings. She focuses particularly on the story of Saint Cecilia’s martyrdom. Before Cecilia’s new husband, Valerian, can take her virginity, she sends him on a pilgrimage to Pope Urban, who converts him to Christianity. An angel visits Valerian, who asks that his brother Tiburce be granted the grace of Christian conversion as well. All three—Cecilia, Tiburce, and Valerian—are put to death by the Romans.
The Canon’s Yeoman’s Prologue and Tale
When the Second Nun’s Tale is finished, the company is overtaken by a black-clad Canon and his Yeoman, who have heard of the pilgrims and their tales and wish to participate. The Yeoman brags to the company about how he and the Canon create the illusion that they are alchemists, and the Canon departs in shame at having his secrets discovered. The Yeoman tells a tale of how a canon defrauded a priest by creating the illusion of alchemy using sleight of hand.
The Manciple’s Prologue and Tale
The Host pokes fun at the Cook, riding at the back of the company, blind drunk. The Cook is unable to honor the Host’s request that he tell a tale, and the Manciple criticizes him for his drunkenness. The Manciple relates the legend of a white crow, taken from the Roman poet Ovid’s Metamorphoses and one of the tales in The Arabian Nights. In it, Phoebus’s talking white crow informs him that his wife is cheating on him. Phoebus kills the wife, pulls out the crow’s white feathers, and curses it with blackness.
The Parson’s Prologue and Tale
As the company enters a village in the late afternoon, the Host calls upon the Parson to give them a fable. Refusing to tell a fictional story because it would go against the rule set by St. Paul, the Parson delivers a lengthy treatise on the Seven Deadly Sins, instead.
Chaucer’s Retraction
Chaucer appeals to readers to credit Jesus Christ as the inspiration for anything in his book that they like, and to attribute what they don’t like to his own ignorance and lack of ability. He retracts and prays for forgiveness for all of his works dealing with secular and pagan subjects, asking only to be remembered for what he has written of saints’ lives and homilies.

Canterburry Tales 02nd Year Students (Internal) Rajarata Unversity of Sri Lanka-2017

In April, with the beginning of spring, people of varying social classes come from all over England to gather at the Tabard Inn in preparation for a pilgrimage to Canterbury to receive the blessings of St. Thomas à Becket, the English martyr. Chaucer himself is one of the pilgrims. That evening, the Host of the Tabard Inn suggests that each member of the group tell tales on the way to and from Canterbury in order to make the time pass more pleasantly. The person who tells the best story will be awarded an elegant dinner at the end of the trip. The Host decides to accompany the party on its pilgrimage and appoints himself as the judge of the best tale.
Shortly after their departure the day, the pilgrims draw straws. The Knight, who draws the shortest straw, agrees to tell the first story — a noble story about knights and honor and love. When the Knight finishes his story, the Host calls upon the Monk. The drunken Miller, however, insists that it is his turn, and he proceeds to tell a story about a stupid carpenter. At the end of his story, everyone roars with laughter — except the Reeve, who had once been a carpenter. To get back at the Miller, the Reeve tells a lowbrow story about a cheating miller. At the end of The Reeve's Tale,the Cook, Roger, promises to tell a true story, but he doesn't complete his tale.
By now, the first day is rapidly passing, and the Host hurries the pilgrims to get on with their tales. Using the best legalese that he knows, he calls upon the Man of Law for the next tale. The Man of Law proceeds to tell the tale of Constancy. The Host is very pleased with the tale and asks the Parson to relate another one just as good. The Parson declines, however, and rebukes the Host for swearing and ridiculing him (the Parson). The Shipman breaks in and tells a lively story to make up for so much moralizing.
The Wife of Bath is the next to tell a story, and she begins by claiming that happy marriages occur only when a wife has sovereignty over her husband. When the Wife of Bath finishes her story, the Friar offers his own tale about a summoner. The Host, however, always the peacekeeper, admonishes the Friar to let the Summoner alone. The Summoner interrupts and says the Friar can do as he likes and will be repaid with a tale about a friar. Nevertheless, the Friar's tale about a summoner makes the Summoner so angry that he tells an obscene story about the fate of all friars and then continues with an obscene tale about one friar in particular.
After the Friar and Summoner finish their insulting stories about each other, the Host turns to the Clerk and asks for a lively tale. The Clerk tells a story about Griselda and her patience — a story that depicts the exact opposite of The Wife of Bath's Tale. The Merchant comments that he has no wife as patient and sweet as Griselda and tells of tale of a young wife who cheats on her old husband. After the Merchant's tale, the Host requests another tale about love and turns to the Squire, who begins a tale of supernatural events. He does not finish, however, because the Franklin interrupts him to compliment the Squire on his eloquence and gentility. The Host, interested only get in getting the next story told, commands the Franklin to begin his tale, which he does. The Franklin tells of a happy marriage.
Then the Physician offers his tale of the tragic woe of a father and daughter — a story that upsets the Host so much that he requests a merry tale from the Pardoner. The Pardoner tells a tale in which he proves that, even though he is not a moral man, he can tell a moral tale. At the end of the tale, the Pardoner invites the pilgrims to buy relics and pardons from him and suggests that the Host should begin because he is the most sinful. This comment infuriates the Host; the Knight intercedes between the Host and the Pardoner and restores peace.
The pilgrims then hear a story by the Prioress about a young martyr. After the seriousness of this tale, the Host turns to Chaucer and asks him for something to liven up the group. Chaucer begins a story about Sir Topas but is soon interrupted by the Host, who exclaims that he is tired of the jingling rhymes and wants Chaucer to tell a little something in prose. Chaucer complies with the boring story of Melibee.
After the tale of Melibee, the Host turns to the merry Monk and demands a story that he confidently expects to be a jovial and happy tale. Instead, the Monk relates a series of tales in which tragedy befalls everyone. The Knight joins in with the Host in proclaiming that the Monk's tales are too much to bear and requests a merry tale. But the Monk refuses, and the Host turns to the Nun's Priest and calls for a tale. Thus the Nun's Priest relates the tale of the barnyard rooster, Chaunticleer, his lady, and a fox. The Second Nun then offers a tale that befits her station — a retelling of the events in the life of St. Cecilia.
Suddenly, two men approach the pilgrims. One is a canon; the other his yeoman (servant). The Host welcomes them and asks whether either has a tale to tell. The Canon's Yeoman answers that his master has many strange tales filled with mirth and laughter, yet when he begins to tell of their life and actions, the Canon slips away embarrassed and frightened.
As the party nears Canterbury, the Host demands a story from the Manciple, who tells of a white crow that can sing and talk. Finally, the Host turns to the last of the group, the Parson, and bids him to tell his tale. The Parson agrees and proceeds with a sermon. The Tales end with Chaucer's retraction.

Syntax-English Language-Internal Students of Rajarata University

In linguistics, syntax refers to the rules that govern the ways in which words combine to form phrasesclauses, and sentences. Adjective: syntactic.
More simply, syntax can be defined as the arrangement of words in a sentence. The term syntax is also used to mean the study of the syntactic properties of a language. 
Syntax is one of the major components of grammar. Traditionally, linguists have recognized a basic distinction between syntax and morphology (which is primarily concerned with the internal structures of words).
However, this distinction has been somewhat disrupted by recent research in lexicogrammar.
From the Greek, "arrange together"
  • "Colorless green ideas sleep furiously."(Linguist Noam Chomsky created this sentence—which is grammatically correct but incomprehensible—to demonstrate that the rules governing syntax are distinct from the meanings words convey.)
  • Chomsky on Syntax
    "Syntax is the study of the principles and processes by which sentences are constructed in particular languages. Syntactic investigation of a given language has as its goal the construction of a grammar that can be viewed as a device of some sort for producing the sentences of the language under analysis."
    (Noam Chomsky, Syntactic Structures, 1971)
  • Burgess on Syntax
    "And the words slide into the slots ordained by syntax, and glitter as with atmospheric dust with those impurities which we call meaning. . . .

    "It is syntax that gives the words the power to relate to each other in a sequence . . . to carry meaning—of whatever kind—as well as glow individually in just the right place."
    (Anthony Burgess, Enderby Outside, 1968)
"[I]t is a mistake to believe that some English speakers follow rules in their speech and others do not. Instead, it now appears that all English speakers are successful language learners: they all follow unconscious rules derived from their early language development, and the small differences in the sentences that they prefer are best understood as coming from small differences in these rules.
. . . The differences of the sort that we are looking at here follow lines of social class and ethnic group rather than geographical lines. Thus we can speak of social varietiesor social dialects." (Carl Lee Baker, English Syntax, 2nd ed. MIT Press, 1995)
"Many kinds of spoken language . . . have a syntax that is very different from the syntax of formal writing. It is essential to understand that the differences exist not because spoken language is a degradation of written language but because any written language, whether English or Chinese, results from centuries of development and elaboration by a small number of users . . .. In spite of the huge prestige enjoyed by written language in any literate society, spoken language is primary in several major respects." (Jim Miller, An Introduction to English Syntax. Edinburgh University Press, 2002)
"Within traditional grammar, the syntax of a language is described in terms of a taxonomy (i.e. the classificatory list) of the range of different types of syntactic structures found in the language. The central assumption underpinning syntactic analysis in traditional grammar is that phrases and sentences are built up of a series of constituents (i.e. syntactic units), each of which belongs to a specific grammatical category and serves a specific grammatical function.
Given this assumption, the task of the linguist analysing the syntactic structure of any given type of sentence is to identify each of the constituents in the sentence, and (for each constituent) to say what category it belongs to and what function it serves. . . .
"In contrast to the taxonomic approach adopted in traditional grammar, [Noam] Chomsky takes a cognitive approach to the study of grammar. For Chomsky, the goal of the linguist is to determine what it is that native speakers know about their native language which enables them to speak and understand the language fluently: hence, the study of language is part of the wider study of cognition (i.e. what human beings know). In a fairly obvious sense, any native speaker of a language can be said to knowthe grammar of his or her native language." (Andrew Radford, English Syntax: An Introduction.
Cambridge University Press, 2004)
"Syntactic change—change in the form and order of words—is . . . sometimes described as 'an elusive process as compared to sound change.' Its apparently puzzling nature is partly due to its variety. Word endings can be modified. Chaucer's line And smale foweles maken melodye shows that English has changed several of them in the last 600 years. The behaviour of verbs can alter. Middle English I kan a noble tale 'I know a fine story' reveals that can could once be used as a main verb with a direct object. And word order may switch. The proverb Whoever loved that loved not at first sight? indicates that English negatives could once be placed after main verbs. These are just a random sample of syntactic changes which have occurred in English in the last half-millennium or so." (Jean Aitchison, Language Change: Progress or Decay?3rd ed. Cambridge University Press, 2001)
"Syntax is a word which comes from the Greek. It means, in that language, the joining of several things together; and, as used by grammarians, it means those principles and rules which teach us how to put words together so as to form sentences. It means, in short, sentence-making. Having been taught by the rules of Etymology what are the relationships of words, how words grow out of each other, how they are varied in their letters in order to correspond with the variation in the circumstances to which they apply, Syntax will teach you how to give all your words their proper situations or places, when you come to put them together into sentences."
(William Cobbett, A Grammar of the English Language in a Series of Letters: Intended for the Use of Schools and of Young Persons in General, but More Especially for the Use of Soldiers, Sailors, Apprentices, and Plough-Boys, 1818)
"In a second-class car, along with some abandoned homework, [Trevor] found a much-disintegrated copy of Finnegans Wake (James Joyce; 1939), a novel that, when he opened it and selected a random paragraph, made him feel like he'd just had a stroke.
He spoke English, but this didn't feel like English—it felt like sound effects. Still, the paragraph burned itself into his brain.
Sian is too tall for Shemus as Airdie is fiery for Joachem. Two toughnecks still act gettable, and feign that as an embryo he was worthy of starving (he was an outlier straddling the walls of Donegal and Sligo, and a vassal to Corporal. Mr. Llyrfoxh Cleath was among his savoured invitations) but every fair thee well to night blindness came uninvited. He was in the wilds of the city of today; coals that his night-embered life will not beg being anthologized in black and white. Adding lies and jest together, two toughneck shots may be made at what this abundant wallflower. Sian's nighttime wardrobe, we believe, a handful of ring fingers, a callow stomach, a heart of tea and cakes, a goose liver, three-fourths of a buttock, a black adder truncated—as young Master Johnny on his first louche moment at the birth of prethinking, seeing himself Lord this and Lord that, playing with thistlecracks in the hedgerow.
"He sat down and went through the paragraph over and over. It could have said"
. . . Whaam! Smash! Ahooogah! Ding! Grunt! Sploosh! Doinggg! Thud! Bamm! Shazaam! Glub! Zing! Blbbbtt! Thump! Gonggg! Boom! Kapow!
"Joyce's paragraph made no sense, and yet it made a kind of sense. Trevor realized that the odd thing about English is that no matter how much you screw sequences word up, you understood, still, like Yoda, will be. Other languages don't work that way. French? Dieu! Misplace a single le or la and an idea vaporizes into a sonic puff. English is flexible: you can jam it into a Cuisinart for an hour, remove it, and meaning will still emerge.” (Douglas Coupland, Generation A. Random House Canada, 2009)

Hamlet-Summary-Internal Students-Rajarata University of Sri Lanka-02nd Year Students

Prince Hamlet is depressed. Having been summoned home to Denmark from school in Germany to attend his father's funeral, he is shocked to find his mother Gertrude already remarried. The Queen has wed Hamlet's Uncle Claudius, the dead king's brother. To Hamlet, the marriage is "foul incest." Worse still, Claudius has had himself crowned King despite the fact that Hamlet was his father's heir to the throne. Hamlet suspects foul play.
When his father's ghost visits the castle, Hamlet's suspicions are confirmed. The Ghost complains that he is unable to rest in peace because he was murdered. Claudius, says the Ghost, poured poison in King Hamlet's ear while the old king napped. Unable to confess and find salvation, King Hamlet is now consigned, for a time, to spend his days in Purgatory and walk the earth by night. He entreats Hamlet to avenge his death, but to spare Gertrude, to let Heaven decide her fate.
Hamlet vows to affect madness — puts "an antic disposition on" — to wear a mask that will enable him to observe the interactions in the castle, but finds himself more confused than ever. In his persistent confusion, he questions the Ghost's trustworthiness. What if the Ghost is not a true spirit, but rather an agent of the devil sent to tempt him? What if killing Claudius results in Hamlet's having to relive his memories for all eternity? Hamlet agonizes over what he perceives as his cowardice because he cannot stop himself from thinking. Words immobilize Hamlet, but the world he lives in prizes action.
In order to test the Ghost's sincerity, Hamlet enlists the help of a troupe of players who perform a play called The Murder of Gonzagoto which Hamlet has added scenes that recreate the murder the Ghost described. Hamlet calls the revised play The Mousetrap, and the ploy proves a success. As Hamlet had hoped, Claudius' reaction to the staged murder reveals the King to be conscience-stricken. Claudius leaves the room because he cannot breathe, and his vision is dimmed for want of light. Convinced now that Claudius is a villain, Hamlet resolves to kill him. But, as Hamlet observes, "conscience doth make cowards of us all."
In his continued reluctance to dispatch Claudius, Hamlet actually causes six ancillary deaths. The first death belongs to Polonius, whom Hamlet stabs through a wallhanging as the old man spies on Hamlet and Gertrude in the Queen's private chamber. Claudius punishes Hamlet for Polonius' death by exiling him to England. He has brought Hamlet's school chums Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to Denmark from Germany to spy on his nephew, and now he instructs them to deliver Hamlet into the English king's hands for execution. Hamlet discovers the plot and arranges for the hanging of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern instead. Ophelia, distraught over her father's death and Hamlet's behavior, drowns while singing sad love songs bemoaning the fate of a spurned lover. Her brother, Laertes, falls next.
Laertes, returned to Denmark from France to avenge his father's death, witnesses Ophelia's descent into madness. After her funeral, where he and Hamlet come to blows over which of them loved Ophelia best, Laertes vows to punish Hamlet for her death as well.
Unencumbered by words, Laertes plots with Claudius to kill Hamlet. In the midst of the sword fight, however, Laertes drops his poisoned sword. Hamlet retrieves the sword and cuts Laertes. The lethal poison kills Laertes. Before he dies, Laertes tells Hamlet that because Hamlet has already been cut with the same sword, he too will shortly die. Horatio diverts Hamlet's attention from Laertes for a moment by pointing out that "The Queen falls."
Gertrude, believing that Hamlet's hitting Laertes means her son is winning the fencing match, has drunk a toast to her son from the poisoned cup Claudius had intended for Hamlet. The Queen dies.
As Laertes lies dying, he confesses to Hamlet his part in the plot and explains that Gertrude's death lies on Claudius' head. Finally enraged, Hamlet stabs Claudius with the poisoned sword and then pours the last of the poisoned wine down the King's throat. Before he dies, Hamlet declares that the throne should now pass to Prince Fortinbras of Norway, and he implores his true friend Horatio to accurately explain the events that have led to the bloodbath at Elsinore. With his last breath, he releases himself from the prison of his words: "The rest is silence."
The play ends as Prince Fortinbras, in his first act as King of Denmark, orders a funeral with full military honors for slain Prince Hamlet.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? External Degree Program-Bhiksu University of Sri Lanka-2017

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?-18 William Shakespeare (1564 – 1616)
Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate.
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date.
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimmed;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature’s changing course, untrimmed;
But, thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st,
Nor shall death brag thou wand’rest in his shade,
When in eternal lines to Time thou grow’st.
So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Shall I compare you to a summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
You are more lovely and more constant:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
Rough winds shake the beloved buds of May
And summer's lease hath all too short a date:
And summer is far too short:
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
At times the sun is too hot,
And often is his gold complexion dimm'd;
Or often goes behind the clouds;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
And everything beautiful sometime will lose its beauty,
By chance, or nature's changing course, untrimm'd;
By misfortune or by nature's planned out course.
But thy eternal summer shall not fade
But your youth shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow'st;
Nor will you lose the beauty that you possess;
Nor shall Death brag thou wander'st in his shade,
Nor will death claim you for his own,
When in eternal lines to time thou grow'st;
Because in my eternal verse you will live forever.
So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long as there are people on this earth,
So long lives this and this gives life to thee.
So long will this poem live on, making you immortal.


temperate (1): i.e., evenly-tempered; not overcome by passion. 
the eye of heaven (5): i.e., the sun. 
every fair from fair sometime declines (7): i.e., the beauty (fair) of everything beautiful (fair) will fade (declines). Compare to 
Sonnet 116: "rosy lips and cheeks/Within his bending sickle's compass come." 
nature's changing course (8): i.e., the natural changes age brings. 
that fair thou ow'st (10): i.e., that beauty you possess. 
in eternal lines...growest (12): The poet is using a grafting metaphor in this line. Grafting is a technique used to join parts from two plants with cords so that they grow as one. Thus the beloved becomes immortal, grafted to time with the poet's cords (his "eternal lines"). For commentary on whether this sonnet is really "one long exercise in self-glorification", please see below. 
Sonnet 18 is the best known and most well-loved of all 154 sonnets. It is also one of the most straightforward in language and intent. The stability of love and its power to immortalize the subject of the poet's verse is the theme.
The poet starts the praise of his dear friend without ostentation, but he slowly builds the image of his friend into that of a perfect being. His friend is first compared to summer in the octave, but, at the start of the third quatrain (9), he is summer, and thus, he has metamorphosed into the standard by which true beauty can and should be judged. The poet's only answer to such profound joy and beauty is to ensure that his friend be forever in human memory, saved from the oblivion that accompanies death. He achieves this through his verse, believing that, as history writes itself, his friend will become one with time. The final couplet reaffirms the poet's hope that as long as there is breath in mankind, his poetry too will live on, and ensure the immortality of his muse. 
Interestingly, not everyone is willing to accept the role of Sonnet 18 as the ultimate English love poem.
What kind of love does 'this' in fact give to 'thee'? We know nothing of the beloved's form or height or hair or eyes or bearing, nothing of her character or mind, nothing of her at all, really. This 'love poem' is actually written not in praise of the beloved, as it seems, but in praise of itself. Death shall not brag, says the poet; the poet shall brag. This famous sonnet is on this view one long exercise in self-glorification, not a love poem at all; surely not suitable for earnest recitation at a wedding or anniversary party, or in a Valentine. (142)
The speaker opens the poem with a question addressed to the beloved: “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?” The next eleven lines are devoted to such a comparison. In line 2, the speaker stipulates what mainly differentiates the young man from the summer’s day: he is “more lovely and more temperate.” Summer’s days tend toward extremes: they are shaken by “rough winds”; in them, the sun (“the eye of heaven”) often shines “too hot,” or too dim. And summer is fleeting: its date is too short, and it leads to the withering of autumn, as “every fair from fair sometime declines.” The final quatrain of the sonnet tells how the beloved differs from the summer in that respect: his beauty will last forever (“Thy eternal summer shall not fade...”) and never die. In the couplet, the speaker explains how the beloved’s beauty will accomplish this feat, and not perish because it is preserved in the poem, which will last forever; it will live “as long as men can breathe or eyes can see.”
This sonnet is certainly the most famous in the sequence of Shakespeare’s sonnets; it may be the most famous lyric poem in English. Among Shakespeare’s works, only lines such as “To be or not to be” and “Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?” are better-known. This is not to say that it is at all the best or most interesting or most beautiful of the sonnets; but the simplicity and loveliness of its praise of the beloved has guaranteed its place.
On the surface, the poem is simply a statement of praise about the beauty of the beloved; summer tends to unpleasant extremes of windiness and heat, but the beloved is always mild and temperate. Summer is incidentally personified as the “eye of heaven” with its “gold complexion”; the imagery throughout is simple and unaffected, with the “darling buds of May” giving way to the “eternal summer”, which the speaker promises the beloved. The language, too, is comparatively unadorned for the sonnets; it is not heavy with alliteration or assonance, and nearly every line is its own self-contained clause—almost every line ends with some punctuation, which effects a pause.
Sonnet 18 is the first poem in the sonnets not to explicitly encourage the young man to have children. The “procreation” sequence of the first 17 sonnets ended with the speaker’s realization that the young man might not need children to preserve his beauty; he could also live, the speaker writes at the end of Sonnet 17, “in my rhyme.” Sonnet 18, then, is the first “rhyme”—the speaker’s first attempt to preserve the young man’s beauty for all time. An important theme of the sonnet (as it is an important theme throughout much of the sequence) is the power of the speaker’s poem to defy time and last forever, carrying the beauty of the beloved down to future generations. The beloved’s “eternal summer” shall not fade precisely because it is embodied in the sonnet: “So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,” the speaker writes in the couplet, “So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.”

The speaker begins by asking whether he should or will compare "thee" to a summer day. He says that his beloved is more lovely and more even-tempered. He then runs off a list of reasons why summer isn’t all that great: winds shake the buds that emerged in spring, summer ends too quickly, and the sun can get too hot or be obscured by clouds.
He goes on, saying that everything beautiful eventually fades by chance or by nature’s inevitable changes. Coming back to the beloved, though, he argues that his or her summer (or happy, beautiful years) won’t go away, nor will his or her beauty fade away. Moreover, death will never be able to take the beloved, since the beloved exists in eternal lines (meaning poetry). The speaker concludes that as long as humans exist and can see (so as to read), the poem he’s writing will live on, allowing the beloved to keep living as well
Sonnet 18 is arguably the most famous of the sonnets, its opening line competitive with "Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?" in the long list of Shakespeare's quotable quotations. The gender of the addressee is not explicit, but this is the first sonnet after the so-called "procreation sonnets" (sonnets 1-17), i.e., it apparently marks the place where the poet has abandoned his earlier push to persuade the fair lord to have a child. The first two quatrains focus on the fair lord's beauty: the poet attempts to compare it to a summer's day, but shows that there can be no such comparison, since the fair lord's timeless beauty far surpasses that of the fleeting, inconstant season.
Here the theme of the ravages of time again predominates; we see it especially in line 7, where the poet speaks of the inevitable mortality of beauty: "And every fair from fair sometime declines." But the fair lord's is of another sort, for it "shall not fade" - the poet is eternalizing the fair lord's beauty in his verse, in these "eternal lines." Note the financial imagery ("summer's lease") and the use of anaphora (the repetition of opening words) in lines 6-7, 10-11, and 13-14. Also note that May (line 3) was an early summer month in Shakespeare's time, because England did not adopt the Gregorian calendar until 1752.
The poet describes summer as a season of extremes and disappointments. He begins in lines 3-4, where "rough winds" are an unwelcome extreme and the shortness of summer is its disappointment. He continues in lines 5-6, where he lingers on the imperfections of the summer sun. Here again we find an extreme and a disappointment: the sun is sometimes far too hot, while at other times its "gold complexion" is dimmed by passing clouds. These imperfections contrast sharply with the poet's description of the fair lord, who is "more temperate" (not extreme) and whose "eternal summer shall not fade" (i.e., will not become a disappointment) thanks to what the poet proposes in line 12.
In line 12 we find the poet's solution - how he intends to eternalize the fair lord's beauty despite his refusal to have a child. The poet plans to capture the fair lord's beauty in his verse ("eternal lines"), which he believes will withstand the ravages of time. Thereby the fair lord's "eternal summer shall not fade," and the poet will have gotten his wish. Here we see the poet's use of "summer" as a metaphor for youth, or perhaps beauty, or perhaps the beauty of youth.
But has the poet really abandoned the idea of encouraging the fair lord to have a child? Some scholars suggest that the "eternal lines" in line 12 have a double meaning: the fair lord's beauty can live on not only in the written lines of the poet's verse but also in the family lines of the fair lord's progeny. Such an interpretation would echo the sentiment of the preceding sonnet's closing couplet: "But were some child of yours alive that time / You should live twice; in it and in my rhyme." The use of "growest" also implies an increasing or changing: we can envision the fair lord's family lines growing over time, yet this image is not as readily applicable to the lines of the poet's verse - unless it refers only to his intention to continue writing about the fair lord's beauty, his verse thereby "growing." On the other hand, line 14 seems to counter this interpretation, the singular "this" (as opposed to "these") having as its most likely antecedent the poet's verse, and nothing more.

Prepared by
D.N. Aloysius
Lecturer in English
Department of Languages
Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities
Rajarata University of Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka