views updated

CHANCERY STANDARD, also Chancery English. Present-day terms for the 15c written usage of the clerks of Chancery in London, who prepared the king's documents. Before the 1430s, official records were mainly in Latin and French, but after that date mainly in an English based on the Central Midland dialect, with such usages as gaf (gave) not Chaucer's East Midland yaf, such not swich, and theyre (their) not hir. Until the end of the 15c, Chancery and the Exchequer built a foundation of written English that was developed by CAXTON when he set up his press in Westminster in 1476. Over the years, printers replaced some features of Chancery usage with London equivalents, such as third person -s instead of -th (hopes, not hopeth), and are instead of be. See STANDARD ENGLISH.