Medieval James Himself

Medieval James Himself
Guide at Ozark Medieval Fortress

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Do We Speak English?

“Is the tour at the Ozark Medieval Fortress done with ‘thee’s’ and ‘thou’s’ and Old English like at the Renaissance fairs?”  Nope!  All the signs and the tour are done in modern American English.  We do get a lot of guests that visit in costume and some come Medieval and some come dressed in Renaissance era.  That makes it more fun, but a lot of people would have trouble understanding us if we used Old English, especially our foreign guests.  It is important to remember that those are different times and English changed from the beginning of the Middle Ages even to the end of the Renaissance.  For example, Medieval English is like this: Sept21 (4)

    “And I hym folwed, and hyt forth wente
      Doun by a floury grene wente.”

This is an excerpt from Medieval Chaucer and a “grene wente” is a green path.  Not many guests care to read or speak English from the Middle Ages.  If you have a time machine and are going back to 1226 in Europe, you are better off knowing Latin than modern English, German, or French.  We have an excellent collection of informative signs along the trail to maximize the educational benefit of a visit to the Ozark Medieval Fortress and to my great relief, the tour is in American English.  


  1. It would be pretty cool, though, if the signs throughout the site were in Middle English too... But I suppose Middle French would make more historical and contextual sense. Either way, it would be pretty neat to see even just a short comparison of the languages and how they were back in the 13th century verses the modern versions.

  2. You're right. Maybe it will change this year. I think the French investors may see your suggestion and agree. Thanks for the comment.