Volume 9, Issue 3
  • ISSN 2210-2116
  • E-ISSN: 2210-2124
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This article presents the results of a diachronic survey on the multilingual account books authored by the wardens of the Mercers’ premier livery company of the City of London from 1390 to 1464. The study deployed here applies an extended version of Wright’s three-stage model of code switched business writing that introduces a previous phase of Romance monolingualism and a later phase of English monolingualism. It is found that the change from Latin and French to English as the new language of business record in the London Mercers’ archives was orderly and gradual rather than straightforward, and characterised by a less predictable intervening code switching period. The analysis is of considerable value for expanding our knowledge of medieval written multilingualism, as well as for the development of English as an administrative language.


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