Seminar paper from the year 2007 in the subject English Language and Literature Studies - Linguistics, grade: 1,3, University of Cologne, course: Einführungsseminar Teil B: The English Lexicon, 17 entries in the bibliography, language: English, abstract: Centuries before the first dictionary was available, Chaucer used a wide range of words from various origins and worked with intellectual or technical terms as well as vulgar expressions. He also switched playfully between colloquial, formal and professional speech. Additionally he used different dialects to create his characters. Due to all this we can imagine how the Englishmen and -women of the 14th century spoke. Chaucer had not been able to give this heritage to later generations if he would not have been a great sociolinguistic observer, i.e. if he wouldn't have watched people surrounding him closely and if he wouldn't have paid attention to the way they talk. This term paper examines Chaucer's use of dialects and vocabulary in his famous work The Canterbury Tales.