In the Middle Ages, English did not have any explicit theory or philosophy of language: philosophers wrote in Latin. This book addresses the issue. By closely analysing the images and metaphors used to describe language in Middle English texts, it explores how English writers thought language works. These images are "reverse-engineered" in an attempt to deduce what underlying theory of language could have created that image. In this way, it is possible to go beyond the clerically-educated Latin thinkers of the medieval period and try to find out what people thought in English. Taking metaphors and images from the poetry of Geoffrey Chaucer, Arthurian romances, bird debates, sermons, handbooks of exempla, and medieval dramas, the book provides new and sometimes surprising readings of such familiar texts as the House of Fame and the Morte Darthur.