The Parlement of Foules (parliament of fowls, or birds) is a poem by Geoffrey Chaucer written in about 1381. It mentions Saint Valentine’s Day as a special day to find a lover:
For this was on seynt Valentynes day,
Whan every foul cometh ther to chese his make,
Of every kinde, that men thenke may;
And that so huge a noyse gan they make,
That erthe and see, and tree, and every lake
So ful was, that unnethe was ther space
For me to stonde, so ful was al the place.The Parlement of Foules (lines 309-315)
For this was on Saint Valentine’s day,
When every fowl comes there to choose his mate
Of every kind that men can think of,
And that so huge a noise did they make
That earth and sea and tree and every lake
So full was, that scarcely was there space
For me to stand, so full was all the place.
And you find that sort of rootless existence appealing, do you?
Yes, ma’am, I do.
I mean, I’ve got everything I need right here with me.
I got air in my lungs and a few blank sheets of paper.
I love waking up in the morning not knowing what’s gonna happen …
or who I’m gonna meet …
where I’m gonna wind up.
Just the other night I was sleeping under a bridge, and now …
here I am on the grandest ship in the world …
having champagne with you fine people. Titanic
For some films there are even bilingual subtitles:
I am Gunnery Sergeant Hartman, 我是海军陆战队中士哈特曼
your senior drill instructor. 是你们的高级训练教官
You will speak 除非我先说话…
only when spoken to 你们不得擅自开口
The first and last words out of your sewers will be “Sir! ” 你们跟我说话首尾都要冠以”长官”一词
Do you maggots understand? 你们这些蛆虫明白吗?
Sir, yes, sir! 长官 是 长官 Full Metal Jacket
Ways to add subtitles to films are discussed here. To read them online, choose a film, a language, then one of the subtitle files. Then under Fileinfo click on the Transcript icon:
The Movie Corpus contains 200 million words in 25,000+ films from the 1930s to the present.
You can search the corpus for words and phrases. For example, the phrase I have a bad feeling about this appears 52 times – in these films, among others:
Smurfs: The Lost Village (2017)
The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water (2015)
Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (1999)
Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith (2005)
Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi (1983) (twice)
Lego Star Wars: The Padawan Menace (2011)
You can look at the context:
Leia: This ground sure feels strange. It doesn’t feel like rock.
Han: There’s an awful lot of moisture in here.
Leia: I don’t know. I have a bad feeling about this. Yeah. Watch out! It’s all right. It’s all right. Yeah, that’s what I thought… mynock. Chewie, check the rest of the ship… and make sure there are no more attached… chewing on the power cables.Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi (1983)
You can also search using parts of speech. For example, try to get some + noun:
sleep (174 hits)
Apart from film cliches like these, the corpus is a guide to spoken English. The word beastly, for instance, was much more common in the 1940s than it is now and more common in British films than American ones.
– Won’t you stay for dinner, sir?
– What have you got?
– Macaroni. We found it in the cellar.
– Beastly stuff.The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943)
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