Also, with England at that time (as with any society with that level of development), intelligibility would vary massively between where in thirteenth century England you landed, given the enormous differences in dialect. Yuri could probably do alright in south-east England - given the strong influence of the French and the Dutch, and the fact that modern English is largely derived from Chaucer's variety of Middle English. Chaucer worked in government and the South East is the centre of English power.

As soon as Yuri were to head north or west, however, he'd start to find things a lot more difficult. Consider the differences between Chaucer's "Canterbury Tales" and "Gawain and the Green Knight" which originates from the north west (probably Cheshire or Staffordshire). You're going to have very strong influences of the Cornish language in the south west (with many people probably only speaking Cornish and no English) and there will be small remnants of other celtic languages, possibly Cumbric. The border areas with Wales and Scotland are also likely to be extremely difficult, given that Welsh and Gaelic will be widespread. Even if speakers use Middle English (and the majority of people living in England did), their dialect will be so vastly different given the low level of communication between regions (even on a church parish level) that a knowledge of Middle English as spoken in the south-east will become gradually more useless as you head north and west. The influences of Norse will probably be very strongly felt across a swathe of northern England.

Middle English won't sound like babbling any more than modern Danish sounds like babbling to a speaker of modern English - babbling is nonsense and the human brain has a way of detecting what has meaning and what doesn't. Using Danish as an example, many of the words may well be recognisable (the Danish "hus", "mand" and "trę" could probably be guessed as "house", "man" and "tree") and a good deal of meaning can be interpreted from context - unlike something like Cantonese where an English speaker is going to have a lot more difficulty understanding people.

But stuff like grammar, syntax, so called "false-friend" words, a bundle of disparate words which modern English no longer possesses or has replaced with words of French origin, etc, etc, your average English speaker - or, in fact, the majority of even very highly educated English speakers - will find English in the thirteenth century very difficult to get a hold on.

So, in answer to your questions: yes, if they were holidaying there for any length of time. Yes, for the same reason. No, it wouldn't sound like babbling because babbling is nonsense. It would sound like a (close) foreign language.

Sam Stutter
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"No e na'l cu barri"

On 31 May 2013, at 11:17, "Elena ``of Valhalla''" <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> On 2013-05-31 at 02:37:21 -0700, Nicole Valicia Thompson-Andrews wrote:
>> This is probably the wrong list for this, but if someone were to go bac to
>> the 1210 England, would they need a translator?
>> Also, if Modern Yemorans go back in time, which I actually plan to have
>> happen, would they need a translator? How would that work, Yardish and
>> Silknish are the only languages spoken. I know Beginning Yardish needs to be
>> different that Middle or even End Yardish, but do they have to be so
>> different that it sounds like babbling?
> It also depends on the culture: an european learned man from a couple 
> centuries ago dropped in 1st century BCE Rome would have probably 
> been able to communicate with little problems, at least in writing. 
> (but I believe that sound changes between classical Latin 
> and church Latin were smaller than e.g what happened to most 
> german languages, so they could learn to cope with them)
> The same learned man, say from Germany, dropped in a 1st century
> germanic tribe should probably look for a local latin interpreter.
> If on the other hand your culture claims that your language is perfect 
> and doesn't change, the first time travellers are in for quite 
> a big shock. (Was it Yemorans or somebody elses' conculture who did? 
> I don't remember.)
> -- 
> Elena ``of Valhalla''